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Since Narcissus and his followers seem to be theme of the week I thought I would have five cents worth and ask. Is theist religion just a form of narcissism ? The Greek myth of Narcissus tells of a youth, who fell so deeply in love with the beauty of his own reflection, that he lay by a pool of water, looking at himself, until he pined away and died. Quite silly if taken literally, yet metaphorically, what the story says is, that too much self love destroys your life. Not that your heart stops pumping, but that you will no longer have the chance of a real human life, and to enjoy all the gifts of life, if you are too self absorbed.

The same Ancient Greeks also coined the word “idiot”. Which did not originally mean fool, but a self reliant person who took no part in society. Yet the word soon acquired the modern meaning, because to the Greeks, to give up on society was the ultimate folly, since they saw society as the whole point of life, and the only true source of joy and fulfilment. Giving up on society therefore was to choose a living death; exactly like Narcissus in the picture below, who sees not the beauty of nature behind him, the Iris flowering before him and even the real love of Echo and the warm embrace of her slender arms is lost to his view.

Does theist religion promote Narcissism ? Well. Does it ask its adherents to leave mainstream society behind and devote themselves to the cult alone ? Does it tell you that the most important thing in life, is your own personal relationship with an imaginary friend, who loves you better than any real person ? Does it tell you that making a personal payment, to church or its charity, however small, is all important, but your public role in paying your taxes is not significant to the imaginary friend ? Most of all, does it tell you to fear your own personal death, more than anything, and that your own personal death is the most important thing that will ever happen to you, and probably to the entire universe. Instead of seeing it, as you should, as just a part of the natural cycle of life, where we avoid the sufferings of age, and make space for the young and vigorous who will people the world in their turn after us. The real beauty being in the renewing cycles of life itself, not the life of any one particular animal ? But there, lies the real ironic twist. Because of course what does religion do, except tell the member to obsess over their own personal death, their own personal imaginary friend, and their own failing in pursuit of happiness, the real hobbies of the Narcissist. Yet during all that time praying to the invisible friend, all that wondering if there is another life, and if you are achieving enough to earn your place in heaven, what is happening ? What is happening is that life's opportunities and chances are passing by outside the church door. Being enjoyed with fulfilment by the happy nihilists. For the deep irony is, that if there are gods, and they look down on us, as the Greeks thought they did. Then does the joyful gaze of the gods fall first on those cheerful nihilists, sitting in the sun, drinking coffee and sharing the news with human friends, beneath the garlands of flowers on the vine round the cafe door ? Or do they really approve most of the penitent on sore knees, asking them in vain to explain the meaning of pain, and praying for another life, in the dark of the temple ?

Fernapple 9 Jan 9

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Hmmm . . . in its "original" form, I would say that religion is not intended to promote or support narcissism. Humans have always been admonished to toe the line when it comes to deity and with being humble. Greek myth has other lessons about the need for humility, i.e. Niobe is turned to stone when she insults the mother of Apollo and Artemis. The Greeks termed excessive pride "hubris" and hubris was always punished. The Chinese avoided bragging lest they call the attention of the gods who would punish them for their pride.

Xtians are also supposed to be humble not only to god, but to other people. It used to be typical for people to abase themselves and claim to be without worth. However, more and more, I see people who might be termed "narcissistic" in relation to their worth and their faith, i.e. the men (never women) who have derided me and even become angry when I have disagreed with them or noted scriptures that they were not following. These people might be termed "self righteous" as opposed to "narcissistic." There are also people who think that god loves them SO much that he goes out of his way to please them or keep them safe, i.e. my first cousin once removed who once said that god loved her so much that he kept a tornado from hitting a town until she was a safe distance away. That smacks of narcissism.


I’ve always thought that at the very least, you have to be quite arrogant to think you are godly in creation and appearance, and therefore worthy of an eternal existence in paradise. But narcissistic works....😁

Buck Level 7 Jan 10, 2022

Very interesting comparison. Yes, I see similarities between religion and the Narcissus story. Now that you raise that question, whether religion promotes narcissism, it also shows the flip side, in that it sure seems like God has classic Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Never thought of it that way before. When "he" treats someone poorly, "he" manipulates his target to worship him more, try harder to please him, feel guilty for things not the target's fault, keeps his target from having fun with just regular life, etc. Maybe I have heard that before, but I didn't give it much thought.

Yes, the old myths addressed so many facets of human nature and perhaps what to watch for if one goes too far one way or another in the various tendencies. They are far more rich that the boring old bible stories, in my mind. One can learn so much more about human nature and pitfalls to avoid by many stories, fables, even novels and movies, than from what one can learn from religion. 😉


A great post!
I loved reading the Greek myths in high school, I should revisit them.

Richer and more diverse than the theist myths of the three Abrahamics. They also ask questions rather than assert authority I find.


Naecissus “pined away and died”?

No, he died of happiness, or love. What’s better than dying of either of those? Dying while in orgasm, ok.

Well that is a perfectly legitimate way of reading it. Not the one taught in schools though, perhaps for obvious reasons.

I did a double check with several sources including Larousse, wiki and Greek and no, according to most versions of the myth Narcissus did not die a happy death. Just the opposite, he died of frustration, because he could not ever touch the image of himself he saw in the water. And the death was given to him as punishment for rejecting the nymph Echo, a death usually attributed to Nemesis.

@Fernapple Interesting.Thanx for your research.

While living in SF I sometimes used the UC Berkeley and the SF State College libraries. I now have only a two-year college nearby. Forget wiki.

Among even a pre-Homo tribe’s members, a need to dominate varied from person to person, and that need predates the use of oral stories to achieve domination. If someday I write fiction, I will spin the Narcissus theme.

Um, not sure that being cursed by Nemesis and falling in love with one's self constitutes "love" or happiness--or how death by wasting away or suicide indicates happiness or love.

@Gwendolyn2018 Self love is an evil only to those who seek to dominate others.

Being cursed by Nemesis and a death by wasting away or suicide may be fictions, intended to destroy earlier pagan beliefs. Narcissus had a choice. Xianity’s original sin story, in denying choice, is more cruel.

@yvilletom methinks that you misunderstand the point of the myth. First, the most common version is found in Ovid's Metamorphoses; however, an earlier version is from 50 BCE and one by Conon the Greek even earlier. I am giving a link to Wikipedia for quick reference and another for Conon:



However, the myth is was, no doubt, passed down orally before it was recorded. One definition attached to "myth" is that it has no author, just recorders.

It has not been changed to destroy earlier pagan ideologies.

The issue is not just self love--it was his treatment of Echo (who had already been cursed). In other myths, Echo is not a character but it was Ameinias whom Narcissus spurned. Narcissus' love of self went beyond having good self esteem; it was all consuming passion which affected the Greek idea of Sophrosyne and moderation in all things (even the gods sometimes went overboard).


@Gwendolyn2018 What is your evidence that the myth was not changed to destroy earlier pagan ideologies?

Xianity’s authors tried hard to destroy paganism, and pagans.

@yvilletom did you not check out the links I gave? Ovid died in 17 CE; he probably finished The Metamorphoses c. 8 CE. Conon lived c. 63 BC – 14 CE and the myth is found in both of their works. While we don't have the originals, there is no evidence that later Xtian scribes changed them. As I noted before, the Greeks were big on the need to be humble and balanced and Narcissus was not the only character to suffer for his vanity. The gods were often shallow and vain. When Xtians changed myths--as they clearly did some Celtic myths--they put an obvious spin on the works.




I have seriously studied myth for a long time and academically for 20 years. I know all about how Xtianity tried to change myths, i.e. the Catholics made the Celtic goddess Brigit into a saint because they could not eradicate the worship of her. The myth of Narcissus was not changed nor were many other Greek myths. In fact, I can't think of any offhand that were changed, but I would be happy to see any that you can produce with sources to back the alterations.

Hesiod wrote The Theogony circa 700 BCE and Homer's works (whether he existed or not) were recorded about the same time. While no original manuscripts survive, the texts do not bear evidence of having been retold by Xtians.


I hope you aren’t saying someone has written the earliest of humankind’s spoken stories.

@yvilletom I have no clue what you mean by that. The writings of the Egyptians and the Sumerians predate the Greeks by a long shot; so do the Harrappans, but we have not successfully translated their script as yet. Humankind's earliest words? Wouldn't they have been spoken long before the Paleolithic? How could anyone record humanity's first words before writing was invented?

When you are well versed in myth and the literature of the ancients, get back to me. Now, I am going to bed.

@Gwendolyn2018 I could have written that more clearly; I hope you aren’t saying stories don’t exist until someone has written them.

@yvilletom of course not; as I tell my students, oral traditions are literature. However, oral traditions are lost if no one records them. I am 100% certain that the myth of Narcissus existed in oral form before Ovid or Canon wrote it down. So did The Iliad and the Odyssey and all other myths.

@Gwendolyn2018 The Narcissus myth existed as a spoken story before Homo wrote anything and left evidence for it.

In what form? Did Narcissus enjoy the self-love he knew or did it cause him suffering? The spoken story being lost, we can speculate but cannot know.

During four years of intense and very public political activity, my opponents called me names. I survived and later laughed about my narcissism protecting me. My kid brother much later told me I had become “a bit narcissistic”.

In short, narcissism exists on a spectrum. An excess of it is much like sociopathy, or ASPD.

In moderate amounts, and regarded negatively, it helps governments make large numbers of people governable.

@yvilletom I understand what you are saying, but the issue of the form of the myth before it was recorded is moot as the issue cannot be proven or disproven. If it were different, the Greek culture revised it to meet the expectations for their culture, and that is the earliest form of the myth. However, in my opinion (which is supported by decades of studying/researching myth and literature), the myth did not change from oral to written forms. This is born out by the examination of other oral and written traditions, i.e. faerie tales that changed from the originals to the whitewashing of later centuries, i.e. Litter Red Riding Hood stayed eaten in earlier forms and some versions were overtly sexual; however, the moral of the story remained clear.

As for narcissism, you did not qualify a spectrum earlier but noted "self love." I love myself, but I am not narcissistic; I am, however, egocentric as my colleague who taught (and has a PhD) in psychology was fond of telling me. While self love can be beneficial, that was not the point of this myth: the point of this myth is that self absorption to the point of rejecting others and loving ONLY one's self is damaging. Again, the Greeks "preached" moderation in all things, and this includes all areas of one's life; Narcissus lacked moderation and balance.

I cannot explain the issue of the myth any clearer than this. You can explain how self love can be beneficial, but this is not the lesson being taught in this myth, nor is there any evidence that it was changed from the original written version; the odds are that the original lesson stems from an oral tale.

@Gwendolyn2018 Rather wordy. Are you able to mouth the words “I don’t know”?

I majored in math and economics. Post grad and in grad school I studied physics, where evidence is required.

Cosmology’s Big Bang is a popular though unproven creation myth. My creation myth is “I don’t know.”

@yvilletom And can you say, "I am not an expert in myth and literature" and let it go? I am finished, but please, go ahead and have the last word as I KNOW that you want it.

Ok. (grin)


When I was very young , Mom would read stories from her book of ancient Greek and
Roman myths , the one about Narcis , being one of them . I was very surprised when I began seeing the term in social media , because today's supposed meaning has stretched well beyond the original story . Nice to see someone actually knows the story . Frankly , I find society manipulates everything in order to get whatever it is trying to promote or sell , be it anything up to and including international wars , often pretending to be about God and his demands .

I am going to disagree, my friend! The myth of Narcissus is about the dangers of loving one's self too much, and message remains the same in today's world.


Where do you come up with this crap? Seriously? Narcissists are people who have no emotions such as fear, or empathy. They don't care about people's goals or life in general. They live to manipulate and get a reaction out of people. They are emotional vampires not content unless they get you upset or manipulate you with rewards. Surely, they take time to look good but that is just another way of manipulating people?

Yes I am well aware of that, the point of this post was to highlight the costs of that behaviour to the narcissits themselves.

If you can come up with better "crap" than this I would be interested in reading it! 🙂

@Austin-Cambridge Sorry but this is very nearly my best crap. LOL

@Fernapple so exactly why is being self reliant a bad thing? Narcissists are far from self reliant. They rely on people they can manipulate. You're trying to twist this in some sort of communist propaganda.

You just described a lot of religious people I have met.

@Beachslim7 Did you come here to be incendiary. Stop calling an involved post "crap". Right away you throw mud. I for one will ignore you until you show more respect for one of our elders. We love him so learn some manners. & the rules of debate & discussion.

@Mooolah u a mormon or something?

@Beachslim7 I'm an atheist. Please capitalize "Mormon" as it is a name. Thank you.

@Mooolah respect your elders

@Beachslim7 I am 103. Can't get much older than that.

@Mooolah do you believe in western.medicine?

@Mooolah or doctors are bad?

@Beachslim7 Some doctors are bad just as in any other profession. Western medicine is the best when it comes to trauma. But doctors in the USA only receive an hours worth of nutrition education if I am not mistaken, & are a bit too free with certain prescription such as, antibiotics & opioids. We have a very high mortality rate for a 1st world nation in regards to birth. Little in this world is absolute. Even light bends. So we are spectacular in some areas & need improvement in others. There are many kinds of doctors. One who has a doctorate is a doctor. Medical is one kind & there are many types of medical doctors as well. There is much to be learned from ancient proven Eastern practices. No one laughs at acupuncture anymore. We have much to discover.

@Mooolah im.concerned with being forced to use certain medication etc such as antibiotics when it can be treated without antibiotics most of the time. I can't remember how many times I got a prescription for antibiotics and didn't use it and it wasnt necessary

@Beachslim7 I use sugar for open wounds. I do not use topical antibiotics. I use antibiotics for skin issues. I am always challenging my doctor. I do not use steroids, tho my doctor wants me to, as the side effects are serious in depleting the body of strong bones & causes massive weight gain. I research the ones I must use & do use them. Meds that are not a must I try to avoid. Antibiotics are necessary. But not manner in which the doctors or livestock producers have over used them in the USA. 'Ya can't cure syphilis without antibiotics. But a cut on the finger doesn't need oral antibiotics.

@Mooolah on nutrition where do you get information from because I certainly can't get that information from a doctor?

@Beachslim7 []
There is a health &wellness group here. Look forward to your joining.

Somewhat INCORRECT, Narcissists DO have feelings and emotions BUT only for themselves and no-one else, therein is their greatest dilemma and eventual downfall as well.

@Mooolah You DO realise that SUGAR encourages and prompts the growth of infective agents such a bacteria, etc, etc, don't you.

@Triphid psychopathy is common on narcissists

@Beachslim7 MEANING???

@Beachslim7 They can also have a VERY elevated and over exhibited sense of themselves and their own self-importance as well.

@Beachslim7 In, NOT on btw.

@Triphid psychopath people generally don't feel fear. In a way it can make them.logical because emotions don't cloud their thinking. Narcissist people may not care about themselves because they live through another person's emotions. They only live to manipulate

@Triphid Sugar put on an open wound, not ingested, is a great biocide. Even fungus won't grow on sugar. Bacteria does not grow on pure sugar granules. It is used in countries that run out of antiseptics on open wounds. Honey is another antiseptic used by Amer-Indians forever.

@Mooolah I agree with you about livestock producers over using antibiotics. A lot of them mass medicate the calves at weaning with expensive antibiotics to try to keep them from getting sick and even put antibiotics in the feed. I totally disagree with this. We vaccinated our calves while they were still on the cow and then revaccinated them at the time of weaning but only used antibiotics on the ones that got sick which was 6 head out of over 500 head we weaned. I’ve noticed that when they start mass treating with antibiotics it isn’t long before those antibiotics no longer work.

@Trajan61 Yay! You & I agree on something. Anti biotics were found to enlarge the animal cheaply for more profit per beast.. Downstream of Iowa hog farms resistant bacteria was found in human infections. Now I would ask you, should government inspect & regulate the use/misuse of pharmacudicals. What would be your solution to the problem? You have had plenty of interaction with the Dept. of Ag.

@Mooolah Honey, YES, since it has a natural anti-bacterial enzyme within it, it was used to treat wounds, etc, as far back the beginning of the Old Kingdom in Ancient Egypt, Vinegar, also a YES, it has Acetic Acid as its main ingredient which is also anti-bacterial in nature, the main ingredient in the gels used in Agar dishes for growing bacteria for identification is REFINE SUGAR mixed with an extract from Sea-weeds and mosses.
Since the carbohydrates in sugar are so easily broken down by bacteria, they thrive upon it and grow at an exponentially fast rate.
Another First Aid hint to staunch bleeding from cuts that do NOT involve large veins or
Arteries is to COAT the wound in either Cooking or Table salt then wrap the area firmly with a bandage or strips of material torn from a shirt or other item of clothing.
I am no sure of from whence you gain your knowledge regarding First Aid Treatments but I do suggest, most earnestly, that you RESEARCH first, then apply what you have learned.

@Triphid []

@Mooolah No thanks I'd rather stick to the Medical Journals and the teachings from my numerous Courses I attended during my YEARS of being a Qualified Nurse and still attend to maintain my First Aid Certifications.
Btw, COMMON salt draws up water and fluids much faster than sugar does since salt, aka Sodium Chloride is an anhydrous compound to begin with.

@Triphid have some humility, she's 103 years old, doubt you'll live that long. Getting a bunch of paperwork doesn't qualify you, living to 103 with a good mind does.

@Beachslim7 One hundred and 3 years of age, pull my other leg PLEASE, it plays "God Save the Queen."

@Mooolah They need to stop ranchers from mass medication of animals for sure. It’s totally unnecessary if you vaccinate and handle them correctly anyway.

@Trajan61 "They" be the government?" How else does one enforce widespread practices. At least with regulation most will adhere to the law. The outlayers are the problem. Republicans generally want less government, less regulation, especially on a federal level. I so understand that conservatives feel over burdened with laws & regulation. But our air & water is cleaner for it. & we are attempting a "more perfect union". War will not accomplish such. We are trying to do it by self governance thru elections. Will we survive to become a more perfect union when so many hate the system , a democratic/republic. It is good to exchange thoughts with you on a civil basis. Peace.

@Mooolah The democrats trying to federalize elections is definitely not the answer.
That is one of the things the government needs to regulate more, the use of antibiotics in animals. Stopping pipelines and trying to shut down the oil and gas industry is just dead wrong though.
I agree that war won’t accomplish much but sometimes it is necessary. We need to treat Iran as an enemy and quit trying to make deals with them as that will accomplish nothing.

@Trajan61 So government has a part in the solution to this. Tax incentives might also help ranchers to adopt a less pharmalogical solution to every medical issue Be nice if you & I didn't have to pay taxes as 55 corporations. Your other comments are for another thread. Pipelines is eminent domain again. Government seizing private property for the benefit of the community. Oil & gas will be obsolete in the future. It is an archaic method of obtaining energy,& very damaging in its use. Phase it out slowly as coal is being curtailed. Retrain for other energy options. Science is advancing the energy sector.. War is necessary when we are attacked as with Pearl Harbor. Or Columbus' invasion. tho Hawaii was part of America's colonies at the time. War is far too expensive to wage any longer.

@Mooolah I’m afraid the day will come when we will have to wage war with Iran because the radical Islamic regime there is likely to use Nukes if they get them and it will probably be a bad one.
Oil and gas is going to be around for a long time yet as it’s not practical to have electric tractors as we’ll never have enough charging stations in the countryside to charge them up. Nitrogen fertilizer which is critical for crop production is made from natural gas. Also if we’re going to make cars electric we’re going to have to upgrade our electric grid to power all of them. Without using nuclear power to generate electricity we won’t gain much as natural gas is the most economical way of producing electricity.

@Trajan61 I do know that Iran had a decade long war with Iraq & both lost masses of people. I do think that Iran would rather trade with the "Great Satan" than engage in a direct war. Women need their lipstick. I also think Putin the Poisoner along Ukraine's border is more volatile than Iran who had a democratically elected government over thrown by the US & Britain & installed the Shah who was a despot as all authoritarians are. Electric tractors may be in the future but not practical currently. However electric is the future & we have to upgrade the infrastructure to accommodate electric. Hotels are now upgrading offering plug in rechargers in their parking lots. Republican Governor Schwartzenneger wanted to begin that process in California. Budget constraints prevented his deployment of that policy. The evolving energy sector will embrace both energy providers for a long time it seems, until the science evolves in a different direction. Things do not remain constant & it seems Republicans do not want anything to change or evolve which is a cause for stagnation. The degree to which we change & how is what we disagree on.. I have a pipeline running thru one of my properties & I am not happy about it. But I was not going to fight this battle with a gargantuan company which would crush me. Eminent domain again. I feel as if I sacrificed for my country by not fighting this particular pipeline. It is underground so less intrusive. I am undecided as to nuclear power. The extensive waste issue & government failure in oversite of such a toxic but effective producer of energy keeps me that way. It is all evolving & trying to stop it is impossible. It is how we do it that is our divide. You might prepare a plan B if beef becomes unprofitable. These are only my assessment of the issues you raised. I admit to knowing nothing. I only have history to teach me how things tend to shake out. I rejoice that our generals have remained loyal to the Constitution. I worry about the rank & file not living up to their oath to defend that piece of glorious paper & the republic for which it stands.

@Mooolah The Shah was probably a less repressive government than the Islamic theocracy they have in Iran today. Iran is the number one sponsor of world terror and will be a deadly threat to world security if they get nukes.
As far as nuclear power they say they can safely store nuclear waste for 1,000 years so what’s the holdup on using nuclear power? Surely in the next 1,000 years we can figure out a permanent solution to the nuclear waste problem. Using nuclear power is the only way we can get to 0 carbon emissions anytime in the near future.

@Mooolah As far as beef becoming unprofitable it’s already getting that way with the 4 big packers squeezing us more every day. Demand for beef remains good though so maybe it will straighten out eventually.


I would rather stand at a crossroads all my life being open minded than take an erroneous path to mental oblivion!


I like this view and had not thought about it in some time. It makes sense to me. The inner being of religion is tackled without putting sects or denominations into it. My take on religion as most of us know it has always been that the believer cannot betray his belief because it would mean his ancestors were wrong and they lived it and believed it all for nothing. The death cult of religion gave their lives meaning and is giving the same thing to them. Then we get into the deepest parts of make believe and imagination when we make up the benefits that are passed on to us by the invisible creator as it is seen that our life is only a preparation for death. The story of Narcissus shows that is it is much more than that. At least, it should be.


Religion is one of the earliest forms of carrot (heaven) and stick (hell) training and has proven to be effective when you consider how long it has prevailed in most societies. It is a prison for the mind and fosters confusion and fear in the minds of many people.

It also works with (usually) established government for societal control.

@Canndue Especially here in the US.

@CuddyCruiser I don't think it is especially true in the US. I think that society has been under heavy religious control in Afghanistan for a long while and Saudi Arabia too. At least that is the way I see it as a woman. Having said that, with the white men in the legislature here in NH controlling what a woman can do with her own body seems like we are steaming our way to the way things are in fundamentalist Muslim nations.

Interesting post!! The evil hate of these religious clowns! Being burned to death is not quite like dying in your sleep. According to one 'cult', the Christian one, if you do not obey you will burn in hell and the terror of fire does not go on for minutes- it goes on forever. It took ultra-evil minds to think that one up. Yes, between being narcistic or idiotic, according to the ancient Greek words, one is not to enjoy life.

@MyTVC15 In some case religion and state are one, (Israel,Saudi) other cases they work together

@MyTVC15 They must think "live free or die" only applies to men. Fucking hypocrites!

@Canndue Israel has not a state religion. This is false. The 3 Abrahemic religions are practiced there freely. When Jordan ie Palestinians controlled Jerusalem, that was not so. Israel is a democratic nation which changes governments unlike its hostile neighbors which do not. There is no imposed religion in Israel.! The Bahais have a major temple in Haifa.

@OldMetalHead I get that impression a lot where I live.

@OldMetalHead that’s our state motto

@Canndue My point exactly. You know, I stopped calling myself a libertarian when I discovered way too many religious conservatives calling themselves that. They can't see the conflict between being "pro-life" and being for personal liberty.

@OldMetalHead libertarian, that’s what they cal the anarchists these days.

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