Oprah Winfrey: Ego/Affluenza

EGOTISTIC-TRUMPEgotism

 is the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself, and generally features an inflated opinion of one’s personal features and importance. It often includes intellectual, physical, social and other overestimations.

The egotist has an overwhelming sense of the centrality of the ‘Me’, that is to say of their personal qualities. Egotism means placing oneself at the core of one’s world with no concern for others, including those “loved” or considered as “close,” in any other terms except those subjectively set by the egotist.

Characteristics

Egotism is closely related to “loving one’s self” or narcissism – indeed some would say “by egotism we may envisage a kind of socialized narcissism”.[3] Egotists have a strong tendency to talk about themselves in a self-promoting fashion, and they may well be arrogant and boastful with a grandiose sense of their own importance.[4]Their inability to recognise the accomplishments of others[5] leaves them profoundly self-promoting; while sensitivity to criticism may lead on the egotist’s part to narcissistic rage at a sense of insult.[6]

Egotism differs from both altruism – or acting to gain fewer values than are being given– and from egoism, the unremitting pursuit of one’s own self-interest. Various forms of “empirical egoism” can be consistent with egotism, but do not necessitate having an inflated sense of self.[7]

Development

In developmental terms, two rather different trajectories can be distinguished with respect to egotism – the one individual, the other cultural.

With respect to the developing individual, a movement takes place from egocentricity to sociality during the process of growing up. It is normal for an infant to have an inflated – almost a majestic – sense of egotism. The over-evaluation of one’s own ego regularly appears in childish forms of love – in large part because the baby is to himself everything, omnipotent to the best of their own knowledge.

Optimal development allows a gradual reconciliation to a more realistic view of one’s own place in the world – a lessening of the egotistical swollen head. Less adequate adjustment may later lead to what has been called defensive egotism, serving to overcompensate for the fragility of the underlying concept of self. Robin Skynner however considered that in the main growing up leads to a state where “your ego is still there, but it’s taking its proper limited place among all the other egos”.

However, alongside such a positive trajectory of diminishing individual egotism, a rather different arc of development can be noted in cultural terms, linked to what has been seen as the increasing infantilism of (post)modern society. Whereas in the nineteenth century egotism was still widely regarded as a traditional vice – for Nathaniel Hawthorne egotism was a sort of diseased self-contemplation – Romanticism had already set in motion a countervailing current, what Richard Eldridgedescribed as a kind of “cultural egotism, substituting the individual imagination for vanishing social tradition”. The romantic idea of the self-creating individual – of a self-authorizing, artistic egotism – then took on broader social dimensions in the following century. Keats might still attack Wordsworth for the regressive nature of his retreat into the egotistical sublime; but by the close of the twentieth century egotism had been naturalized much more widely by the Me generation into the Culture of Narcissism.

In the 21st century, romantic egotism has been seen as feeding into techno-capitalism in two complementary ways: on the one hand, through the self-centred consumer, focused on their own self-fashioning through brand ‘identity’; on the other through the equally egotistical voices of ‘authentic’ protest, as they rage against the machine, only to produce new commodity forms that serve to fuel the system for further consumption.

Sex

There is a question mark over the relationship between sex and egotism. The claim has been made that love can transform the egotist, giving him or her a new sense of humility in relation to others.

But at the same time, it is very apparent that egotism can readily show itself in sexual ways, and indeed arguably one’s whole sexuality may function in the service of egotistical needs.

Etymology

The term egotism is derived from the Greek (“εγώ”) and subsequently its Latinised ego (ego), meaning “self” or “I,” and -ism, used to denote a system of belief. As such, the term is etymologically similar to egoism.

Cultural examples

  • A. A. Milne has been praised for his clear-eyed vision of the ruthless, open, unashamed egotism of the young child.

Affluenza

Affluenza,

portmanteau of affluence and influenza, is a term used by critics of consumerism. It is thought to have been first used in 1954 but it gained legs as a concept with a 1997 PBS documentary of the same name and the subsequent book, Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (2001, revised in 2005, 2014). These works define affluenza as “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debtanxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” The term “affluenza” has also been used to refer to an inability to understand the consequences of one’s actions because of financial privilege, notably in the case of Ethan Couch

Theory

In 2007, British psychologist Oliver James asserted that there was a correlation between the increasing nature of affluenza and the resulting increase in material inequality: the more unequal a society, the greater the unhappiness of its citizens. Referring to Vance Packard‘s thesis The Hidden Persuaders on the manipulativemethods used by the advertising industry, James related the stimulation of artificial needs to the rise in affluenza. To highlight the spread of affluenza in societies with varied levels of inequality, James interviewed people in several cities including SydneySingaporeAucklandMoscowShanghaiCopenhagen and New York.

In 2008 James wrote that higher rates of mental disorders were the consequence of excessive wealth-seeking in consumerist nations. In a graph created from multiple data sources, James plotted “Prevalence of any emotional distress” and “Income inequality,” attempting to show that English-speaking nations have nearly twice as much emotional distress as mainland Europe and Japan: 21.6 percent vs 11.5 percent. James defined affluenza as “placing a high value on money, possessions, appearances (physical and social) and fame”, which was the rationale behind the increasing mental illness in English-speaking societies. He explained the greater incidence of affluenza as the result of ‘selfish capitalism’, the market liberal political governance found in English-speaking nations as compared to the less selfish capitalism pursued in mainland Europe. James asserted that societies can remove the negative consumerist effects by pursuing real needs over perceived wants, and by defining themselves as having value independent of their material possessions.

In Australia

Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss‘s book, Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough, poses the question: “If the economy has been doing so well, why are we not becoming happier?” They argue that affluenza causes overconsumption, “luxury fever,” consumer debt, overwork, waste, and harm to the environment. These pressures lead to “psychological disorders, alienation and distress,” causing people to “self-medicate with mood-altering drugs and excessive alcohol consumption.”

They note that a number of Australians have reacted by “downshifting” — they decided to “reduce their incomes and place family, friends and contentment above money in determining their life goals.” Their critique leads them to identify the need for an “alternative political philosophy,” and the book concludes with a “political manifesto for wellbeing.”

Notable incidents

In December 2013, State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced a North Texas teenager, Ethan Couch, to 10 years’ probation for driving under the influence and killing four pedestrians and injuring 11 after his attorneys successfully argued that the teen suffered from affluenza and needed rehabilitation, and not prison. The lawyers had argued that Couch was unable to understand the consequences of his actions because of his financial privilege. The defendant had been witnessed on surveillance video stealing beer from a store, driving with seven passengers in a Ford F-350 stolen from his father, and speeding (70 miles per hour (110 km/h) in a 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) zone). Couch was also driving while under the influence of alcohol (with a blood alcohol content of 0.24%, three times the legal limit for an adult in Texas) and the tranquilizer Valium. At a February 5, 2014, hearing, Eric Boyles — whose wife and daughter were killed in the crash — said, “Had he not had money to have the defense there, to also have the experts testify, and also offer to pay for the treatment, I think the results would have been different.”

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Ted Cruz Welcomes Endorsement Of Mike Bickle, a Religious Bigot! Oprah the Antichrist?! Really?

oprah-antichrist
The key to the GOP in 2016 is… Oprah? Really?!

Rachel Maddow shows how Oprah is an unexpected point of overlap between the Trump and Cruz campaigns as Ted Cruz welcomes the endorsement of a preacher who thinks Oprah is the antichrist and Donald Trump has repeatedly said he would like Oprah as a running mate.

Ted Cruz Welcomes Endorsement Of Mike Bickle, Who Believes Oprah Is A Forerunner To The Antichrist

Back in 2011, when Texas governor Rick Perry was planning his first run for the presidency, he kicked off his campaign with a massive prayer rally in Houston called “The Response.” The event was the source of considerable controversy because Perry organized it in partnership with a whole host of radical Religious Right activists, including several members of the New Apostolic Reformation, a collection of self-proclaimed modern day apostles and prophets who believe that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they are capable of performing greater miracles than even Jesus himself.

One of the key leaders in the NAR movement is Mike Bickle, who also played a central role in organizing Perry’s prayer rally. Bickle is the founder of the International House of Prayer, a controversial missionary organization in Kansas City, Missouri, that some critics have labeled a cult and which is best known for engaging in nonstop 24-hour-a-day prayer in preparation for the End Times and for its anti-gay activism in Uganda.

Bickle, unsurprisingly is a demon-fighting radical who believes that gay marriage is “rooted in the depths of hell,” that homosexuality “opens the door to the demonic realm” and that Oprah Winfrey is a forerunner of the Antichrist:

Back in 2004, Bickle declared that as the End Times approach, all Jews will be given a chance to accept Jesus, warning that if they do not accept “the grace” of Christ, God will then “raise up a hunter” who will kill two-thirds of them “and the most famous hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler”:

Yesterday, Ted Cruz proudly announced that Bickle had endorsed his presidential campaign:

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz today announced the endorsement of Mike Bickle, Founder and Director of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, an evangelical missions organization based on prayer.

“Our nation is in a great crisis in this hour,” Bickle said. “We need a president who will first be faithful to honor God’s Word. We need a president who will work to defend religious liberty, uphold our Constitution, keep our country safe and our economy sound, and speak truth to the nation. We have been praying for righteous leaders, and Ted Cruz is such a leader. I am enthusiastically endorsing Ted Cruz.”

The International House of Prayer is engaged in many outreaches, justice initiatives, and mission projects. For the last 16 years, their prayer room has continued nonstop in 24/7 prayer led by worship teams. 800 staff members work at the IHOPKC Mission Base in Kansas City, and 800 full-time students and interns attend the International House of Prayer University, which consists of three full-time ministry schools— a Bible school, music school, and media school. About 20,000 people attend One Thing annually, IHOPKC’s year-end young adult conference

“Through prayer, the Lord has changed my life and altered my family’s story,” said Cruz. “I am grateful for Mike’s dedication to call a generation of young people to prayer and spiritual commitment. Heidi and I are grateful to have his prayers and support. With the support of Mike and many other people of faith, we will fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.”

Bickle is just the latest in a long list of radical Religious Right activists who have publicly endorsed Cruz for president, many of whom Cruz’s campaign has eagerly embraced.

It is also worth noting that back in 2008, Republican presidential nominee John McCain was forced to reject the endorsement of John Hagee after it was revealed that Hagee had made comments similar to Bickle’s about God having used Hitler as a “hunter” to force the Jews return to Israel.

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