by Dr Paul Vorster | Published on 25 October 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter
The modern term, “narcissist”, which we generally use to describe someone who is overly self-absorbed, has its roots in Greek mythology. The story goes that Narcissus was a man who was well known for his physical attractiveness and beauty, but also for his pride and arrogance. He tended to show disdain for those who loved him and would encourage his admirers to commit suicide to prove their devotion. The god Nemesis, disapproving of this behaviour, punished Narcissus by luring him to a pool of water, where he could see his own reflection. Narcissus was so enamoured by his own image that he kept staring at it, unable tear himself away, until he withered away, leaving behind only a flower.