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Uncle Duke
10-19-2011, 12:51 PM
Richard Cohen, in a column in the Washington Post, used a phrase I hadn't heard before: "the narcissism of small differences", a concept which Freud used to explain how people who are very similar will magnify any differences in order to stand out.


...what the network could have used was a psychoanalyst. He or she would have used the Freudian term “the narcissism of minor differences” to explain why so many like-minded Republicans turned on one another with such meanness. They needed the small stuff to differentiate themselves.

This is what was bound to happen when the GOP purified, refined and condensed itself into a core group of conservatives. The party has effectively banished moderates and liberals — there once was such a thing as a liberal Republican: Lincoln was one, I submit — and now has a coven of candidates who agree with each other on almost everything — and despise each other as a result. If the differences can’t really be political, they have to be personal. Sigmund Freud would understand.



Great concept - I'm embarrassed that I hadn't know it before....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/at-the-gop-debate-freudian-friction/2011/10/19/gIQA24gZxL_blog.html?hpid=z3

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Narcissism_of_small_differences

Flying Orca
10-19-2011, 04:47 PM
Yep, a phrase to remember.

Phillip Allen
10-19-2011, 04:53 PM
I can see it applying here easily enough

rbgarr
10-19-2011, 05:50 PM
There's a sentiment that academia can be infected with 'the narcissism of small differences'.
A similar phrase that applies: the reason for it in that environment is that 'the stakes are so low'.

ishmael
10-19-2011, 06:11 PM
Interesting. A more practical use of the theory is a term coined by Freud, yet expanded on the following years: projection.

It's very simple. When you have a strong emotional reaction to a person or a circumstance you are usually seeing a part of yourself in the environment. It gets "projected".

It's not always true, we can all think of circumstances that have no part in us yet cause strong emotions, but it is a useful tool in trying to suss our closer personal relations.

It's not a negative thing unless you hold to it obsessively. Ideally, you work to understand and to reclaim the projection.

Psychology 300.

B_B
10-19-2011, 06:35 PM
There's a sentiment that academia can be infected with 'the narcissism of small differences'.
A similar phrase that applies: the reason for it in that environment is that 'the stakes are so low'.
I first heard the phrase 20 odd yrs ago in an American Politics class describing the differences between Republicans and Democrats at the time...not much has changed.

The stakes in politics, though, are much greater than in the senile semantics of academe. ;) :D

purri
10-19-2011, 06:51 PM
There's a sentiment that academia can be infected with 'the narcissism of small differences'.
A similar phrase that applies: the reason for it in that environment is that 'the stakes are so low'.

On that note I heard the phrase in full was "the politics of academe are so vicious because the stakes are so paltry"

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-19-2011, 07:53 PM
Thank you; the phrase was new to me and somewhat enlightening.

rbgarr
10-19-2011, 09:07 PM
On that note I heard the phrase in full was "the politics of academe are so vicious because the stakes are so paltry"

And there is even academic disagreement about who said THAT first! :D

This is via Google, of course, but it's an extensive quotation from a book which sets itself up as the go-to source for such things: the quote verifier (http://www.amazon.com/Quote-Verifier-Said-What-Where/dp/product-description/0312340044).

“ACADEMIC politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” This observation is routinely attributed to former Harvard professor Henry Kissinger. Well before Kissinger got credit for that thought in the mid-1970s, however, Harvard political scientist Richard Neustadt told a reporter, “Academic politics is much more vicious than real politics. We think it’s because the stakes are so small.” Others believe this quip originated with political scientist Wallace Sayre, Neustadt’s onetime colleague at Columbia University. A 1973 book gave as “Sayre’s Law,” “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue—that is why academic politics are so bitter.” Sayre’s colleague and coauthor Herbert Kaufman said his usual wording was “The politics of the university are so intense because the stakes are so low.” In his 1979 book Peter’s People, Laurence Peter wrote, “Competition in academia is so vicious because the stakes are so small.” He called this “Peter’s Theory of Entrepreneurial Aggressiveness in Higher Education.” Variations on that thought have also been attributed to scientist-author C. P. Snow, professor-politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and politician Jesse Unruh (among others). According to the onetime editor of Woodrow Wilson’s papers, however, long before any of them strode the academic-political scene, Wilson observed often that the intensity of academic squabbles he witnessed while president of Princeton University was a function of the “triviality” of the issues being considered.

Verdict: An old academic saw that may have originated with Woodrow Wilson but was put in modern play by Wallace Sayre.

purri
10-20-2011, 12:07 AM
I posit that in academe the language used is contextual (muted in form, grammatically correct, well phrased and polished in delivery)

rbgarr
10-20-2011, 04:38 AM
"Muted in form"....

Have you ever heard Henry Kissinger speak? Muted is an understatement. He rumbles in an unintelligible garble! :D

purri
10-20-2011, 05:54 AM
"Muted in form"....

Have you ever heard Henry Kissinger speak? Muted is an understatement. He rumbles in an unintelligible garble! :D

Nah mate, Kissinger doesn't rate on cogency but merely obfuscates across a variety of "disciplines" thus leading to the obvious "bull$$$$$$$hit baffles brains". And you know where the money follows eh?.

However I must admit that Foucault and many of the Euro mob are guilty of much the same but with more references/quotes to substantiate their respective and collective position of moral legitimacy.

Dr. Arthur Trollingson
10-20-2011, 04:19 PM
That is an interesting observation Freud made. He made many great observations about the human condition. However he was a "dik obsessed cokehead", to use the academic lingo, so I can't take anything he said seriously.

rbgarr
10-20-2011, 06:55 PM
That's fair. He would have returned the sentiment.

purri
10-20-2011, 06:57 PM
Doc, does that translate well into Cherman?

delecta
10-20-2011, 07:33 PM
That's fair. He would have returned the sentiment.

"Some critics have suggested that much of Freud's early psychoanalytical theory was a by-product of his cocaine use"

Who knows, some really great ideas come to light when you're stoned.

Dr. Arthur Trollingson
10-20-2011, 07:46 PM
Doc, does that translate well into Cherman?

Ja.

Freud war ein Schwanz besessen cokehead.

The German language lends it's self well to technical terminology.

purri
10-21-2011, 12:48 AM
^ much less "Ist den hosen besheissen?" for the non anally retentives.

ishmael
10-21-2011, 08:07 AM
Freud had his problems, as we all do. He was also a genius, and one of the first in modern times to try to codify human psychology.

I disagree with him, if I may be so bold, that libido is only or even primarily sexual. Their are life energies which drive all manner of things, and which have nothing to do with sex.

Dr. Arthur Trollingson
10-22-2011, 09:47 AM
Gee, Ish. You're really splitting hairs there. It seems like your differences with Freud are pretty small.