lecture Narcissism and depression
I subscribe to a view quite broadly accepted among psychoanalysts that the 19th century, due to the scale of societies’ normativity, was the century of transference neuroses – neuroses related to oppressive norms, conscience, the role of father figure. Various human troubles could be described on this spectrum. Baudelairean spleen, melancholy – it was rather an elite affliction. However, it is said that the 20th century is the century of narcissism, the age of disconnection, of rootlessness. In this sense depression has become – in this interpretation – a universal experience of not being able to handle the culture of narcissism. At least that was the thesis proposed by Christopher Lasch. Does it still hold true? Is the 21st century “the age of narcissism” as well? Or perhaps our contemporary depression should be understood in an entirely different manner?