Narcissism: What It Means To Me Chapter One: You Are Not Your Mind

Richard Volaar
8 min readJun 1, 2022

But you’re still a pain in the ass.

Ever wonder why that jackass neighbor down the street, across the hall or patio drives you batshit crazy with their personal habits, thinking, hygiene, friends or lack of any or all of the above?

Me, too.

But after many years, months, day and hours of observing the patterns in my life, listening in on the lives of others doing the same, and then comparing notes, you can all rest assured that the problem with that jackass neighbor not cohabitating with you lies not with them.

I know, I know.

Any reasonable human being would look at the data you have collected and come to the same conclusion that you have: that person is a jackass. But here’s the thing. All research tends to bend heavily in the direction of, “me-search.” Meaning, if you are biased heavily in one direction or the other in an assessment or, heaven forbid, an almighty judgment, either for or against, you will only see the data which exists in support of your initial decision.

What? Yeah. I know. People are machines of prejudice. We see what we wish, or need, to see and hear what we want or need to hear. Anything else is considered, “static,” “anomalous,” “white noise,” “irrelevant,” or some other discounting or pejorative characterization.

It is not hard to imagine why this might be: making snap decisions on the plains of Africa or the jungles of Southeast Asia were a part of daily survival. Who ate or who was successful in feeding one’s self those days, long ago and for centuries thereafter, was not up to a well-fed committee’s decision nor was there a vote on a Tuesday in November. You either did, or you did not, eat or survive on that particular day. Whether your children and grandchildren survived, or ate, on any particular day was based on decision trees that were incredibly short because your opponents and your opposition tended to be much faster than you were, or could be. Foresight demanded that we keep up with beasts and threats that were faster, bigger and/or more agile than we were at the time. Our relative intelligence was our only substantial strength over other species and all our decisions required the ability to think on our feet without a lot of dilly-dallying with null hypotheses, potential confounds and, god help us all, trips to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at our alma mater.

Richard Volaar

I've won a couple of minor awards, my second being a speech I wrote for the VFW about why I care about America. It won and I made 25 bucks. Now I'm in IT.