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Monday, 21 March 2016

How Dare I be so Beautiful?

We watch in reverence, as Narcissus is turned to a flower.
A flower?
A section of some dubiousness in terms of its name - "How dare I be so beautiful" was the catchphrase of Jonathan King, Narcissism isn't just about thinking you're lovely - it's about entitlement, control, a "grandiose view of own's own talents", self-centredness.

Narcisus - that embodiment of vanity. It was OK for Echo to love him. But he wasn't interested in reciprocating. Not interested in anything except himself. Until he leaned over a pool, looked in the water - and died of love, gazing at himself in the water.

Genesis, I assume, didn't know how prophetic this section of "Supper's Ready" was to be - the "beauty" captured by his own power over others, trapped in his own trapping.

The things we call narcissism are around us today - in the States, Narcissus appears with implausible hair and eccentric facial expressions, revels in his power and threatens to destroy an established political party. If we're lucky, that is. In Europe. other narcissists tell themselves they are warriors for Allah, and set off to oppress other Muslims for the sake of Islam. Their rants and self-justification recorded for their own preening and posterity. Maybe the most destructive of all our failings.

Maybe Social Media encourages our narcissism. We can surround ourselves with followers. Ensure they are like us. Block or, at least, avoid those who aren't. Then gaze into our reflection in the shallow pool of our own selection. And, as we think how lovely we are, be turned into a flower. Beautiful in our own eyes, but pretty much useless.

Before they were famous - before Collins and Hackett, even, the embryonic Genesis, under the wing of Jonathan King, made a song called "The Serpent":
Images he made to love
Images of gods in flesh
Man is wonderful, very wonderful
Look at him
Beware the future
OK, I'm not saying it's great. They were very raw. They sounded a lot like the Bee gees. But you might not realise there was a reason why they were called Genesis. 

But the lure is set. The beauty of human beings. The urge to think we're great and others owe us love. The belief that not much happens that matters - not outside our little world, at any rate. The viewpoint that says we are not the centre of our own existence, so much as the centre of the world.

And Narcissus is turned to a flower.

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