Narcissus Revises Christianity, Makes It Liberal

In Book III of Ovid's Metamorphoses, Narcissus pines away, looking at his own reflection, until he dies and turns into a flower.  Many misread Ovid's character as someone conceited and self-absorbed.  In the Latin tale, he does not know that the beautiful boy he sees is himself until he has already descended into madness. Narcissus cannot love anyone, but he suddenly falls in love with an unreachable beauty – a face in a pool – who causes him to experience the rejection and inconsolable yearning his own coldness has inflicted on others.  His unattainable object of desire is actually, as he gradually realizes, himself: "Oh, I am he!  Oh, now I know for sure the image is my own; it's for myself I burn with love; I fan the flames I feel...my riches beggar me." Narcissism is a self-deceiving act producing affection only for things that unwittingly reflect one's self.  The narcissist fails to know Christ, for example,...(Read Full Article)