From the mailbag:
Dear Miss Barnhardt:
As you know the literature and art of a culture always reveals the values and beliefs of those who create and write. The hatred of narcissism existed in early literature, and is evident in the 1950s novel by Edison Marshall, “American Captain”. The setting is 1796 and young seaman is recuperating from an injury on the island of Malta. As he is lying on the beach fishing he sees a figure approaching. Much to his surprise a young English lady walks up and begins to engage him in conversation. He is struck by the following feelings:
“I felt a strong fellow humanity with the girl, and something more that did not seem to make sense. It was a desire to please her and make her laugh and be happy, not to gain her esteem, but for her own sake. As I stood there, drinking her in, I knew there was something touching about her, which no amount of wealth or position or beauty could gainsay. But beauty is never something to drive people off. It always draws them in. There could be cold perfection in a face that would wither a bunch of posies, but that is not beauty. Real beauty makes every non-evil person feel warm-hearted and generous and happy along with being a little sorrowful. Unless they can have it for themselves, evil people hate it, they hate it to the bottom of their hearts.”
I thought of you and your Narcissist theory when I read this. I also knew you would appreciate this description of how a rightly ordered man would think of a woman who happens to be “beautiful.” He, at the very same moment, declares that he is aware of an evil/hateful force that would take pleasure in spoiling such delights.