The New Narcissists
Did you happen to catch the article entitled “Living Alone is the New Norm.” in the March 12, issue of Time Magazine? The article written by Professor Klinenberg, a Professor of Sociology at New York University, is like a peon of praise for living the single life.
Says the professor, “Living alone allows us to do what we want, when we want, on our own terms. It liberates us from the constraints of domestic partner’s needs and demands and permits us to focus on ourselves.”
To the harried mom trying to do a shopping trip with two little guys in tow, or the dad working a second job to support a family, or any post honeymoon young couple struggling with their relationship, this vision of living alone sounds pretty seductive doesn’t it? Yes! That’s for me. Doing what I want when I want to do it, untouched by the “constraints” of other people’s needs.
But you know something? It’s those “constraints” that help us grow as human beings. We grow as persons by the give and take involved in relationships with others, by putting aside our own interests so that we can be present for our children. We are created social beings, responsible for one another, both in our own families and in the wider community. It’s the push and pull of living in relationships with others that stretch us and mold us into
Profess Klineberg, in his article, claims, “Living alone helps us pursue the sacred modern values-individual freedom, personal control and self-realization.”
What a load of manure. I submit that too many of us are already “pursuing our sacred modern values” with the predictable result of widespread poverty, abandoned children and darn near perpetual warfare among nations. We want our individual freedom; no matter if our choices hurt the freedom of others, We don’t want to be responsible for others. It’s all about seeking self-fulfillment without the messiness of including others in our quest.
I suggest that we are much better off both as individuals and as a society by renewing our commitment to some of the Judeo-Christian values enshrined in the Golden Rule and leading us to stand for values like
brotherly love, making a difference in the world and serving others.
Whether you live alone or with others, these are the values that will turn you away from narrow self-focus and put you on the road towards being a whole person. Don’t you think?
Hank can be reached: firstname.lastname@example.org