Musing and Motion

Last month NPR ran a report about an academic study on the rise of narcissism in our culture.  The study, conducted by psychology professor Dr. Nathan DeWall (University of Kentucky), analyzed lyrics of songs released between 1980 and 2007.  DeWall found an “increasing focus on me and my instead of we, our, and us” (contrast, for instance, “We Are the World” – a number one song in 1985 – with Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell me Nothing”).  Since song lyrics are tangible “cultural artifacts” DeWall believes this change in the focus of lyrics is “a mirror of cultural changes in personality, traits, and motivations” and is evidence of a growing attitude of narcissism (“a consuming self-absorption or self-love” – American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy).

The findings of this study should cohere with the experience of any morally reflective person living in America.  In education, the rise of narcissism is…

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