Dostoevsky's "The Double" on narcisism

Dostoevsky's "The Double" on narcisism

The book aptly explains the experiential anxieties of modern social media. Dostoevsky, writing in 1846, was dealing with a more urbanized society, which increased the numbers of social encounters, just like the Internet today. Yet he saw people lonely, paranoid & vain, isolated by their imaginary selves.

The main character, Golyadkin, meets his double, who looks like him but is better than him in all social interactions. What starts with a form of cheating, turns into paranoia as the double makes Golyadkin feel both as an impostor while also making him left out. Impostor syndrome&FOMO.

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Paranoid Narcissism: What Dostoevsky Knew About the Internet

theamericanreader.com

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Is the mixed desires & fears of being watched by unknown others defines virtual society, gives rise to anxieties such as the sense of exposed insignificance & the fear of missing out:

  • You despise yourself for your public failures: Oh, why did I post such an embarrassing, personal status?
  • You despise your lack of compensating public success: Oh, why did no one like that embarrassing post?

You wish to erase your tracks, but feel strangely nonexistent when undocumented; your mistakes remain glaringly public, but your good qualities refuse to go viral.

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