A Mix of Individualism And Western Culture

One way in which John F. Schumaker appeals to his audience in his essay is by connecting individualism and Western Culture. Shumaker discusses a belief that exists within humans. The belief being that one shouldn’t feel happy unless they are great and obsessed with themselves. Schumaker states how this is a Western belief and how “happiness in modern Western Culture unfolds in the context of individualism.” Individualism deals with being independent, focusing on only yourself and not caring what others think about you.

This belief has shown to be true especially in a place like New York where everyone is always on the go and don’t really bother to pay attention to those around them. In this age, people will look the other way instead of helping someone.

Shumaker brings collectivist culture into the picture to help the reader understand how being full of ourselves is not a universal thing. He wants to make in known that while this is how people act in one place, others act differently in another.

In other cultures, happiness is based on everyone feeling happy not just one individual. They are more focused on work and family goals rather than their own desires. Working together instead of alone promotes the idea of selflessness. It’s like giving up your weekend to help a friend move into a new place. The time you consider precious could be beneficial to someone else and bring more happiness into the world. “Happiness is tied to cooperation and social harmony, and to being a worthwhile and valued member of the group.

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”  Even though Schumaker does not have the most effective essay, he excels in distinguishing individualism and collectivist culture.

One reason I believe Jean M. Twenge has the more effective argument is because of how she includes data that is helpful in seeing how narcissism has increased over time. It is stated that narcissism has been found more in recent generations. “In the early 1950s, only 12% of teens aged 14 to 16 agreed with the statement “I am an important person.” By the late 1980s, an incredible 80%—almost seven times as many—claimed they were important.”  This increase in percentage shows how people have become more narcissistic. Between 1960 and 1990 one psychologist found that more college students agreed they would describe themselves as having a pretty ‘strong’ personality. As well as the fact that they believed people who were considered experts weren’t any better than them. They thought of themselves as superior and that they should be listened to.

Twenge’s dedication to the discussion of narcissism is shown when she and other colleagues performed a survey that consisted of 3,445 people in 2002. It revealed that younger people scored higher on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. They agreed with things such as “If I ruled the world it would be a better place.” The survey consisted of people of different ages, which made it hard to tell if differences were because of age or generation. However the survey showed how scores of narcissism decreased after the age of 35. The examples provided by Twenge helped to see that narcissism is more common in younger generations. Twenge’s essay is successful because of how she is able to link entitlement in young people with narcissism. Entitlement is all about believing that you deserve more and better things than others. You can tell that are person is entitled when they make it clear that things should always go according to how they want it and that they deserve everything their heart desires. “

A 2005 Associated Press article printed in hundreds of news outlets labeled today’s young people “The Entitlement Generation.” They earned this title because employees would complain about them. They said the young ones had too many high expectations when it came to their salary and promotions. Having high expectations is not something one should have because it will only lead to disappointment when those expectations don’t reach their standards. This is where narcissism comes into the picture. When someone believes they deserve something even though they didn’t put the work they begin to see others as inferior. Twenge states how this is not only shown in the work place but that it has been shown in school too. The way people go about it is rude and unethical way. She speaks from the personal experience of a colleague when saying that students act like they deserve the best grades no matter what. “Their attitude could be summed up by “Where’s my A?

I distinctly remember ordering an A from the catalog.”  The way students with this mindset have approached teachers, share similarities in statements. When they see their grades suffering they claim they need a better grade or that they always get a certain grade in their classes. Once someone has reached this level of entitlement they evolve into a narcissist. Including personal experience examples is beneficial in showing how entitlement and narcissism go hand in hand. Twenge helps readers to see how narcissism is an issue that can lead to worse things. Since narcissists think very highly of themselves they are prone to lash out when they are offended or rejected. One example Twenge gives involves Eric Harris and Dylan Kleboid otherwise known as the Columbine High School shooters. This shooting resulted in the deaths of 13 people. Weeks before the shooting occurred both students made videotapes. The scary thing about statements made from Harris in the tapes is how they were very similar to things on a popular narcissism questionnaire.

“Isn’t it fun to get the respect we’re going to deserve? I could convince them that I’m going to climb Mount Everest, or I have a twin brother growing out of back. I can make you believe anything.” Stating that he deserves respect or that he can make anyone believe anything were the similarities on the questionnaire. Therefore showing how narcissistic behavior is completely negative and a red flag. Another example provided by Twenge is how narcissistic men who rape someone or kill their spouse have no empathy. These heartbreaking things occur when a man believes every need he has must be fulfilled otherwise they become pissed and hostile. Narcissism is toxic and Twenge proves the dangerous outcomes that can occur because of it. Thus allowing the readers to get more insight on the topic.

As shown by both essays, there are several things that create narcissism. Schumaker and Twenge include well-written facts about the topic. Both have different approaches when starting their essays. Schumaker engages the reader by discussing how he has seen self-love being more common in his life. Twenge gets straight to the point by defining what narcissism is. Both essays were a good read but ultimately Twenge’s essay was the most effective because she included data, experience from a colleague and mentioned a tragic outcome that stemmed from narcissism. I think it is natural to be narcissistic at times. We are only humans after all. It becomes a problem when we are narcissistic all the times. It is best to not be so self-indulged otherwise negative things will occur from narcissistic behavior.

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A Mix of Individualism And Western Culture. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-mix-of-individualism-and-western-culture/

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