Digital Death in the Age of Narcissism

  • Eva Vrtačič University of Ljubljana
  • Anamarija Šporčič University of Ljubljana
Keywords: pathological narcissism, virtual reality, cyberspace, death

Abstract

Pathological narcissism represents the dominant form of subjectivity in post-industrial society and its consumerist ideals. The fear one feels in connection with one’s death, fear that is typical of pathological narcissism, frequently manifests itself as absolute denial of the idea of a mortal Self. According to Freud, primary narcissism prevents one from imagining or even thinking about one’s own death. In the realm of the Unconscious, death does not exist. Death is absent from cyberspace in much the same manner and in this sense, cyberspace has become a fitting metaphor for the Unconscious. It is pathological narcissism that makes cyberspace and all actions that take place within it possible, reasonable and justifiable. It is what transforms all our cyber-actions into more than merely a waste of time. Upon entering cyberspace the subjects are given the chance to leave their mortality, their corporeity behind and embark upon a journey that offers countless possibilities and realities. Yet they have thus also entered the realm of digital death. The anthropological supposition that culture is our “natural environment” can now, when cyberspace and digital technologies function as a “natural environment” for pathological narcissism, be reconsidered and reinterpreted.

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Published
2010-05-28
How to Cite
Vrtačič, E., & Šporčič, A. (2010). Digital Death in the Age of Narcissism. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 7(2), 101-110. https://doi.org/10.4312/elope.7.2.101-110