Given two assumptions:
- Narcissism is not extreme self-love, but rather, extreme self-preoccupation in the absolute sense, i.e. encompassing both "positive" delusions like egomania and "negative delusions like self-loathing (as The Last Psychiatrist says);
- Narcissism is our generational pathology (TLP again, following Christopher Lasch);
One could argue that the narcissist's inability to attain happiness comes down to his inability to experience love. And that, his inability to experience love, in turn, comes down to his basic contempt for those who would attempt to love him.
Disclaimer: I didn't read the latest New Yorker cover story, "Is an Open Marriage a Happier Marriage?." Actually, I skimmed it—so you don't have to. Skimming, as it turns out, more than sufficed to confirm all of my original suspicions about the piece, and about articles of this ilk in general.
For one, that the liberal media just loves to pass off its half-assed anecdotal e-mail journalism as Sociology with a capital "S."
Secondly, I kept coming back to that famous Fran Lebowitz line about happiness: "We live in a world where people think happiness is a condition, but it's not; it's a sensation." The obsession with "happier" marriages does violence to the reality that relationships are work and that people won't always be happy. Of course, being in love is a wonderful state, perhaps, the best, most special, most spiritually fortifying state known to man. But also, loving someone isn't all holding hands and walks in the park, it's being there in the depressing, mundane and inconvenient moments that you didn't sign up for.