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Psychopathic Narcissist's Fantasy: Mr. Ripley in Truman Show

Uploaded 6/27/2023, approx. 35 minute read

Yes, I know. I'm intoxicating. I'm addictive.

The Sanbacnin horror show is immersive.

And so to avoid withdrawal symptoms and for you not to go cold turkey on me, although my mother is Turkish, I release one video a day, which is proof positive that I have empathy and compassion, methinks. Next few days are going to be difficult. I'm involved in some projects in Brussels and Zurich. So I try to release videos in between meetings and trips and what have you.

Now the next video is going to be very interesting, at least to me. I'm going to discuss the similarities between artificial intelligence and the narcissist in a world and how you could leverage and use artificial intelligence or at least the knowledge of artificial intelligence to defeat the narcissist. That's the next video, regrettably. I didn't have time to make it today, although that was my original plan.

So today you are getting a special treat, a bonus, two movies, two movies that capture perfectly when they are put together the world of the malignant narcissist. Now malignant narcissist is a bit of a per se, a bit of an old antiquated phrase, I think first coined by Otto Könder, no longer used.

Today we say psychopathic narcissist. Psychopathic narcissist and psychopathic border lines are very strange hybrids. These are not comorbidities. These are not patients who have been diagnosed with both narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy. These are not patients who have been diagnosed with both borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy. These are not comorbidities. These are hybrids. These are single personality disorders with emphasis or dimensions or overlays. So for example, the psychopathic narcissist is a narcissist. His main focus and concern is obtaining narcissistic supply, but he uses psychopathic tactics, strategies, and he has a psychopathic mindset, defiance, recklessness, contumaciousness, and so on and so forth. So when he pursues in the pursuit of narcissistic supply, the psychopathic narcissist is a psychopath. He resembles a psychopath.

But unlike the psychopath, he's interested only in narcissistic supply. Whereas the classical primary psychopath is interested in a variety of goals, money, sex, access, luxury, etc., so today I'm going to discuss the inner world of this bizarre hybrid.

Now, admittedly, the psychopathic borderline is even more bizarre. But you know, one thing at a time my mother used to say, maybe she still does. I'm not in contact with her 27 years ago.

Okay, you fiend, vey yaff, you fought. Look it up.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Surf Lab, Narcissism Revisited. I'm a former visiting professor of psychology in, believe it or not, Rostov-on-Don in the Russian Federation. And I'm still on the faculty of CIAPS, the Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies, have been on the faculty for 12 years or more. And it's an establishment with a presence in Cambridge, United Kingdom, Toronto, Canada, and an outreach programme in Lagos, Nigeria.

Enough with a self praise and narcissist self supply. Let's get straight into the world of the talented Mr Ripley.

And those of you who haven't watched these two films, talented Mr Ripley, the Truman Show, drop everything you're doing right now, even if you have a baby in your hands, drop it and go and watch these two absolutely masterpieces.

Now in the future, I'm going to release additional film reviews, which kind of are integrated with insights concerning cluster B personality disorders. But we start with these two, because they are best suited to describe on the one hand, the psychopathic aspect or dimension of the psychopathic narcissist. And on the other hand, the fantasy world of the psychopathic narcissist, the fact that he's absolutely divorced from reality. And what does it mean? How does it, for example, diminish his personal responsibility? Is it an insanity defense? Or is he capable of telling the difference between fantasy and reality? Is he lying or confabulating? Is he gaslighting? And if he does, and he gaslights himself as well, is this gaslighting?

All these questions we're going to tackle through the prism of these two movies, masterpieces.


Okay, we start with the talented Mr Ripley.

The talented Mr Ripley is a Hitchcockian Hitchcockian and blood curdling study of the psychopath and of his victims, because his victims are sometimes even more creepy and freakish and eerie than the psychopath himself.

At the center of this masterpiece, set in the exquisitely decadent scapes of Italy is I don't know what's happening with Italy, but he keeps dropping up in all my videos.

There is a titanic encounter between Ripley, the aforementioned upon a psychopath, protagonist, and young Greenleaf, a consummate narcissist. So this is a war, a battle between a psychopath and a narcissist.

Greenleaf is in effect a covert narcissist, and Ripley is a psychopath, but he is also a narcissist. Ripley is a cartoonishly poor young adult whose overriding desire is to belong to a higher, or at least richer, social class.

While he waits upon the subjects of his not so hidden desires, he receives an offer that he cannot refuse, to travel to Italy to retrieve the spoiled and hedonistic son of a shipbuilding magnate, Greenleaf Sr.

Ripley embarks upon a study of Junior's biography, personality, likes and hobbies. Yes, he is planning to steal his life.

Watch yesterday's video.

In a chillingly detailed process, Ripley actually assumes young Greenleaf's identity.

Disembarking from a luxurious connered liner in his destination, Italy, Ripley confesses to a gullible, textile heiress that he is the young Greenleaf traveling in Cognito.

Here, the deception starts.

And so gradually and subtly, we're introduced to the two overriding themes of antisocial personality disorder, still labeled by many professional authorities, psychopathy and even sociopathy.

The two themes are an overwhelming dysphoria.

Yes, psychopaths are anxious and many of them are dysphoric. And an even more overwhelming drive to assuage these angst by belonging somewhere.

The psychopath wishes to belong.

Ironically, many of the acts of psychopaths are intended to make them acceptable to a reference group or a reference frame, render them members.

Psychopath is an unhappy person. He is besieged by recurrent depressive and bouts and anxiety attacks. Apoplexy, apoplexia, an overpowering sense of alienation and drift. He is bored with his own life. He is permeated by a seething and explosive envy, malicious envy of the lucky, the mighty, the clever, the heavy trolls, the noi-tols, the handsome, the happy.

In short, his opposites and betters.

This kind of psychopath feels discriminated against and dealt a poor hand in the great poker game called life. He is driven obsessively to right these perceived wrongs and feels entirely justified in adopting whatever means he deems necessary in pursuing this goal.

Ripley's reality testing is maintained throughout the film. In other words, while he gradually merges with the object of his admiring in emulation, the young green leaf, while he gradually becomes the young green leaf, Ripley can always tell the difference between himself and the young green leaf.

After he kills green leaf in self-defense, he assumes green leaf's name. He wears his clothes. He cashes his checks. He makes phone calls from his rooms.

But he also murders or tries to murder those who suspect the truth. These acts of lethal self-reservation prove conclusively that Ripley knows exactly who he is and who he is not. And that he fully realizes that these acts are powerlessly illegal, criminal.

Conspiracy with others to assume someone's life, to destroy someone. That's a criminal act, a very serious one.

Young green leaf is young, captivating, energetic, infinitely charming, breathtakingly handsome, deceivingly emotional. He lacks real talents. He knows how to play only six jazz tunes. He cannot make up his musical mind between his faithful sax and a newly alluring drum kit.

And being an aspiring writer, he cannot even spell.

These shortcomings and discrepancies are tucked, swept under the rug of a glittering facade of nonchalance.

Green leaf is refreshingly spontaneous and experimental spirit. He has unrepressed sexuality and unrestrained adventurism.

But green leaf junior is a garden variety narcissist, covert narcissist probably. He cheats on his lovely and loving girlfriend, Marge. He refuses to lend money, of which he seems to have an unlimited supply.

Courtesy his ever more disenchanted father, he refuses to lend money to a girl that he is impregnated. And then she commits suicide. And he blames the primitiveness of the emergency services. He sulks. He kicks his precious record player.

And in the midst of this infantile temper tantra, the rudiments of a conscience are visible. He evidently feels guilty, at least for a while, which renders him a covert narcissist.

Green leaf junior falls in and out of love and friendship in a predictable, pendulous rhythm.

He idealizes his boars, his lovers, and then he devalues them. He finds them to be the quiddity of fascination, one moment, and the distilled essence of boredom, the next.

And he's not shy about expressing his distaste and disillusionment and disenchantment. He is savagely cruel, as he calls Ripley, a leech who has taken over his life and his possessions, having previously invited him to do so in uncertain terms.

Green leaf says that he is relieved to see Ripley go, and he cancels offhandedly elaborate plans they've made together.

Green leaf junior maintains a poor record of keeping promises generally, and rich record of violence, as we discover towards the end of this suspenseful tort yarn.

What about Ripley?

Ripley himself lacks an identity. He is a binary automaton, robot, driven by a set of two instructions, become someone and overcome resistance.

Ripley feels like a nobody, and his overriding ambition is to be a somebody, even if he has to fake it, to steal it, and to steal an identity, to steal a life, to steal someone's ideas, to steal someone's work, to steal someone's girlfriends, to steal someone's property, to steal someone's ambience, someone's father.

Whatever he takes, he has to become someone, and if he cannot become himself, because there's nobody there, he might as well become someone else. He might as well take over, a hostile takeover of someone else.

His only talents, he openly admits, are to fake both personalities and papers, to imitate the art of mimicry.

Ripley is a predator, and he hunts for congruence, cohesion and meaning. He is in constant search of a family.

Green leaf junior, he declares festively, is the older brother he has never had.

Together with a long suffering fiance in waiting, Marge, they are a family.

Isn't Green leaf senior actually adopted him? He says.

And this identity disturbance, which is a psychodynamic root of both pathological narcissism and rapacious psychopathy, borderline, this identity disturbance is all pervasive.

Both Ripley and Green leaf junior are not sure who they are. They're not even sure that they are.

Ripley wants to be Green leaf junior, not because of the latter's admirable personality, but because of his money.

Green leaf junior cultivates a false self of a jazz giant in the making and the author of the great American novel, but he is neither, and he bitterly knows this.

Even their sexual identity is not fully formed. Ripley is at once homoerotic, autoerotic and heteroerotic. He is a succession of homosexual lovers, though apparently only platonic ones.

And yet he is attracted to women. He falls desperately in love with Green leaf's false self.

And it is the revelation of the latter's dilapidated true self that leads to the atavistically blood seen bloody scene in the boat.

But Ripley is a different and more ominous beast altogether. Ripley rambles on about the metaphorical dark chamber of his secrets, the key to which he wishes to share with his loved ones.

But this act of sharing, which by the way never materializes, is intended merely to alleviate the constant pressure of the hot pursuit that is subjected to by the police and others. Ripley disposes with equal equanimity of both loved ones and the occasional prying acquaintance.

At least twice Ripley utters words of love as he actually strangles his newfound inner morato and tries to slash an old and rekindled flame.

Love and death go hand in hand. Ripley hesitates, not a split second, when confronted with an offer to betray Green leaf Sr., his nominal employer and benefactor, and abscond with his money.

Ripley falsifies signatures with his. He makes eye contact convincingly. He flashes the most heart-rending smile when he is embarrassed or endangered. He is a cutie pie.

Ripley is a caricature of the American dream. He is ambitious, driven, winsome, well-versed in the mantras of the bourgeoisie.

But beneath this thin veneer of hard-learned, self-conscious and uneasy civility lurks a beast of prey, best characterized actually by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

I am quoting, "A failure to conform to social norms, with respect to lawful behavior, deceitfulness as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases or conning others to person and profit or pleasure, impulsivity or failure to plan ahead, reckless disregard for safety of self or others, and above all a lack of remorse.

That is Ripley.


But perhaps the most intriguing portraits are those of the victims actually.

Marge insists in the face of the most callous and abusive behavior that there is something tender in Green leaf Jr. When she confronts the beguiling monster Ripley, she encounters the fate of all victims of psychopaths. Disbelief, pity, ridicule.

The truth is too horrible to contemplate, let alone comprehend.

Psychopaths are inhuman in the most profound sense of this word. Their emotions and conscience have been amputated and replaced by phantom imitations, however convincing.

Psychopaths more often than not go on to great success and social acceptance, while their detractors are relegated to the fringes of society.

Both Meredith and Peter, who had the misfortune of falling in deep, unrequited love with Ripley, both of them are punished, one by losing his life, the other by losing Ripley time and again mysteriously, capriciously, truly.

And so ultimately the film is an intricate study of the pernicious ways of psychopathology.

Mental disorder is a venom not confined to its source. It spreads, it affects the environment in myriad, surreptitiously subtle forms.

Metallinus is a hydra, growing 100 heads where one has been severed.

The victims of psychopaths and narcissists and other mentally ill people, these victims writhe and as abuse is piled upon trauma, these victims turn to stone. The mute witnesses of wars, stalactites and stalagmites of pain untold and unrecountable, for their tormentors are often as talented as Mr. Ripley is, and they are as helpless and as clueless as Mr. Ripley's victims are.

But both Greenleaf and Ripley inhabit fantastic spaces. They're not really in touch with reality. Had Ripley been in touch with reality, he would have realized that law enforcement is going to catch up with him. Had Greenleaf been in touch with reality, he would have never introduced Ripley into his life.

They both inhabit fantastic spaces, spaces that have nothing to do with reality. Their reality testing is totally short-tempered and to understand why and how we should watch another masterpiece, The Truman Show, is a profoundly disturbing movie.

On the surface, it deals with the worn-out issue of intermingling life and media. Examples of such incestuous relationships abound.

Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, the cinematic president, was also a presidential movie star. In another movie, The Philadelphia Experiment, a defrosted Rip Van Winkle exclaims upon seeing Reagan on television 40 years after his forced hibernation started. He says, "I know this guy. He used to play cowboys in the movies.

Yes, and then he became president.

Reality and entertainment, reality, TV, reality and the media, the borders are blurred, the lines are worn out. It's all one and the same.

Candid cameras monitor the lives of webmasters, website owners, almost 34 hours a day. The resulting images are continuously posted on the web and are available to anyone with a computer.

The latest two decades have witnessed a spate of films all concerned with the confusion between life and the imitations of life, the media, including social media, of course.

The ingenious Capitan Farcasé, Capricorn One, Sliver, Wag the Dog and many lesser films have all tried to tackle this unfortunate state of things and its moral and practical implications.

The blaring of the line between life and its representation in the arts is arguably the main theme of the Truman Show.

And in this sense, the narcissist is a con artist, but the emphasis is on the artist. The narcissist creates art and the art is his con, his scam, his fantasy, his confabulations. These are his art form.

And so it doesn't, it cannot tell the difference between creativity and creationism. It cannot tell the difference between conceiving of a world and creating a world and then inhabiting a world.

And this is, of course, a prime example of magical thinking. I think, therefore I am, but also everyone is. I think, therefore the universe.

Magical thinking.

In the Truman Show, Truman, the hero, lives in an artificial world constructed especially for him. Truman was born and raised in that world. He knows no other place.

The people around him unbeknownst to him, they're all actors. His life is monitored by 5,000 cameras and broadcast live to the world 24 hours a day, every day. He is spontaneous and he is funny because he's unaware of the monstrosity of which he is, the main cockwheel.

Peter Weir, the movie's director, Australian director, takes this issue one step further by perpetrating a massive act of immorality on screen.

Truman is being lied to, cheated, deprived of his ability to make choices, controlled and manipulated by sinister half-mad shylocks.

As I said, Truman is unwittingly the only spontaneous, non-scripted actor in the ongoing sober of his own life. And he doesn't even realize he's an actor.

All the other figures in his life, including his parents, his wife, if I remember correctly, they're all actors. Hundreds of millions of viewers in Woyreveaux plug in to take a peep at him to intrude upon what Truman innocently and honestly believes to be his privacy.

Truman and people around him and viewers, they're shown responding to various dramatic or anticlimactic events in Truman's life.

It's like they've all become one giant organism with hundreds of millions of heads responding, undulating, fluctuating with Truman's existence.

That we are the moral equivalent of these viewers, Woyreveaux, accomplices to the same crimes comes as a shocking realization to us because we are watching the movie.

Truman is in the movie. We are part of these viewers. We are amongst them in this community of Woyreveaux.

Truman is acting for us. And say, well, yeah, but Truman, the actor who is playing Truman, knows that he's an actor.

Yes, but we are still watching him play an innocent victim. It's pornography. We are watching victimhood and enjoying every minute of it, savoring it.

So we are live viewers and they are celluloid viewers. We both enjoy Truman's inadvertent, non-consenting exhibitionism. We know the truth about Truman and so do they, these viewers on the screen.

Of course, we are in a privileged moral position because we know that it is a movie and they know it is a piece of raw life that they're watching.

But moviegoers throughout Hollywood's history have willingly and insatiably participated in numerous Truman shows. Celebrities and movie stars live in glass cages. They're constantly monitored and supervised and besieged by hundreds of millions of voyeurs.

The lives relocated of studio stars were brutally exploited and incorporated in their films. John Harlow, Barbara Stanwick, James Cagney, all were forced to spill their guts in cathartic acts of on-camera repentance and not so simple accumulation.

Truman shows that's the most common phenomenon in the movie industry.


Then there is a question of the director of the movie as God and of God as the director of a movie and of the narcissist as God and the director of a movie.

The members of the director's team, technical and non-technical alike, they obey Christoph the director almost blindly. They suspend their better moral judgment. They succumb to his whims and to the brutal and vulgar aspects of his pervasive dishonesty and sadism.

The torturer loves his victim because they gratify him. These victims define him and infuse life with meaning and pleasure.

Caught in a narrative, the movie says, people act immorally and that's the famous Milgram experiment. That's what the narcissist does to you and to his victims and to his intimate partners and to his friends, to everyone around him.

He creates a Truman show. He directs it callously, cruelly, ruthlessly and relentlessly and everyone is drawn in. Everyone is drawn in because they want to please the narcissist or because the fantasy looks so much better than reality.

Infamous psychological experiments support this assertion.

Students were led to administer what they thought were deadly electric shocks to their colleagues or to treat them bestially in simulated prisons and they obeyed orders and so did all the hideous genocidal criminals in history.

The director weir asks, should God be allowed to be immoral or should he be bound by morality and ethics? Should the decisions of God and his actions be constrained by an overriding code of right and wrong? Should we obey his commandments blindly or should we exercise judgment and discernment?

And if we do exercise judgment and discernment, are we then being immoral because God and the director, Christoph, they know more about the world, about us, about the viewers, about Truman. They know better. They know their omnipotent and omniscient and so shouldn't we obey them blindly, unthinkingly?

Is the exercise of judgment? Is the pursuit of discernment? Are these the usurpation of divine powers and attributes? Is it a narcissistic act? Isn't this act of rebelliousness bound to lead us down the path of apocalypse and narcissistic gratification, whichever comes first and whichever is worse?

In short, shouldn't Christoph the director be given a totally free hand because he has the full view in the panoramic picture and the synoptic knowledge?

This is an argument of religious people when you tell them, why does God allow evil?

They say, well, he knows better. He is the big picture. We don't.

It's a narcissist response. I know better than you. I'm omniscient. I'm Godlike. I am not a detailed thinker. I'm a big picture thinker.

It all boils down to the question of free choice, of course, and free will versus the benevolent determinism imposed by an omniscient, an omnipotent being such as a narcissist.

What is better? To have the choice and to be damned was inevitably as in the biblical narrative of the Garden of Eden or to succumb to the superior wisdom of a supreme being like a narcissist on YouTube.

A choice always involves a dilemma. It is the conflict between two equivalent and equi-potent states, two weighty decisions whose outcomes are equally desirable and two identically preferable causes of action.

What to do?

The narcissist places you in a fantasy and then forces on you a dilemma. And the dilemma is such that it seems as if you should surrender to the narcissist infinitely more advanced wisdom. He is the designer and the creator of this fantasy that you now reside in and inhabit after all. Isn't he? Shouldn't he be relegated to the role of a God, a divinity?

Where there is no such equivalence between options, there is no choice, merely the preordained, given full knowledge, exercise of a preference, of an inclination. Bees don't choose to make honey. A football fan does not choose to watch a football game. He is motivated by a clear inequity between the choices that he faces.

If he has a choice between reading a book or watching a football game, a football fan would watch a football game. It's predetermined, although he thinks he's exercising free will, it's nonsense. He's built this way, his propensity, it's stronger than him.

But the narcissist constructs an alternative universe, a virtual reality where there are always such dilemmas where one horn of the dilemma is infinitely more attractive than the other.

For example, if you obey the narcissist, he compliments you, he idealizes you, he worships you, he love-bonds you, etc.

But if you dare to disobey, if you dare to disagree, if you dare to criticize, you know what's coming. It's a no-brainer.

Of course you would prefer to obey the narcissist and to succumb to his whims and wishes and expectations.

So the problem with the narcissist is that he creates environments which are asymmetrical.

Let's take again the example of a football fan. He has to choose whether to watch a football game.

But he's motivated by a clear inequality between the choices that he faces. He can read a book or he can watch the game. His decision is clear and predetermined by his predilection and by the inevitable and invariable implementation of the principle of pleasure.

There is no real choice here. It's all rather automatic.

But compare this to the choice that some victims had to make between two of their children in the face of Nazi brutality. You're a mother and you have to choose which of your children will die. That's a choice. That's a dilemma. Choices are horrible. Decisions are tormenting.

We spend our entire lives trying to avoid choices and decisions. Sartre, Kierkegaard, other existentialists called it angst. The freedom to choose creates anxiety, existential anxiety.

And so when the narcissist comes barging into your life and says, "You don't have to choose anymore. I will choose for you. All you have to do is pretend that my fantasy is reality. Be there with me and let me do the thinking. Let me decide for you. Let me make the choices. Let me map out the options. Let me decide what's better."

Of course, he will say yes. This is how dictatorships emerge. That's what Hitler told the German people. That is Trump's message to the American people.

I'm sorry to say. Not that I'm comparing, of course.

So that's what dictators do. That's what authoritarian figures do. They say, "I'm going to relieve you of the burden of having to choose and I'm going to create a fantastic space for you where you will be counterfactually convinced that you are the one making the choices and the decisions because you are being idealized. You're perfect.

Which child should such a mother sentence to death? Which child should such a mother sentence to life? That's a choice. That's a decision.

But who wants to face something like this? This is a real choice. It involves conflicting emotions of equal strength.

One must not confuse decisions, opportunities, and choice. Decisions are the mere selection of courses of action. This selection can be the result of a choice or the result of a tendency. Conscious tendency, unconscious, biological, genetic, hereditary, you name it.

It's not the same as opportunities. These are current states of the world which allow for a decision to be made and to affect the future state of the world. And choices are our conscious experiences of moral or other dilemmas.


Let's go back to Christoph, the narcissistic film director in the Truman Show.

Christoph finds it strange that Truman, having discovered the truth, insists upon his right to make choices, upon his right to experience dilemmas.

As far as the director, Christoph, is concerned, dilemmas are painful. They are unnecessary. They're destructive. They're disruptive.

Who, in his right mind, would want to be exposed to dilemmas and choices and decisions when his life is perfect in the fantasy? His utopian world, the one he constructed for Truman.

This utopian world is choice-free and dilemma-free, but this is what makes it utopian. That's why it's perfect.

The narcissist fantasy is perfection. It's paradise reconstructed.

Truman is programmed, not in the sense that his spontaneity is extinguished. Truman is wrong when in one of the scenes he keeps shouting, "Be careful and spontaneous."

The director and FACT capitalistic producers want Truman to be spontaneous. They want him to make decisions, but they do not want him to make choices.

So they influence his preferences and predilections by providing him in an absolutely totalitarian, micro-controlled, repetitive environment, all fake. Such an environment reduces the set of possible decisions, so there is only one favorable or acceptable decision, one favorable or acceptable outcome at any junction.

That's what the narcissist does to you. He reduces your life. He constricts it. He eliminates the richness and variety of reality in favor of the one-dimensionality of his fantasy, which leaves you no choice but to toe the line.

Literally, one dimension is a line. Truman does decide whether to walk down a certain path or not to walk down a certain path, but when he does decide to walk, only one path is available to him. His world is constrained and limited, not his actions.

Actually, Truman's only choice in the movie leads to an arguably immoral decision. He abandons sheep. He walks out of the whole project. He destroys an investment of billions of dollars, people's lives, people's careers. He turns his back on some of the actors who seem to really be fond of him and emotionally attached to him. He doesn't give an F. He ignores the good and the pleasure that the show has brought to the lives of millions of people, his viewers, and arguably to his own life.

He selfishly and vengefully goes away, walks away. He knows all this, but by the time he makes a decision, he is fully informed, and yet he does it. He knows that some people may commit suicide. He knows that others will go bankrupt. He knows that many will endure major depressive episodes, do drugs, divorce, and what. He knows he is destroying the lives of millions, but this massive landscape of resulting human devastation does not deter him, does not change his mind.

He prefers his narrow personal interest and the protest, the vengeful of indicative protest. He walks.

The only choice he makes is utterly unethical and immoral, selfish, egocentric, in other words, narcissistic.

That's what happens. That's what happens to victims of narcissism. When they are forced to make a choice, they become narcissists. It's the only way out of the fantasy.

In Truman's defense, he did not ask or choose to be put in this position. He found himself responsible for all these people without being consulted, without having been consulted. There was no consent involved, no act of choice.

How can anyone be responsible for the well-being and lives of other people if he did not choose to be so responsible?

Moreover, Truman had the perfect moral right to think that these people wronged him. Are we morally responsible and accountable for the well-being and lives of those who abuse us, wrong us, torture us, humiliate us, shame us, attack us, undermine our lives, take away everything we have?

Truer Christians are, for instance, but is anyone a true Christian in this sense? Should we forgive our abusers? Should we not pursue them to the ends of the earth to restore our sense of justice and ability to trust that somehow the universe is ordered?

Moreover, most of us find ourselves in situations which we did not help to mold with our decisions. We are unwillingly cast into the world, not on us. We do not provide prior consent to being born.

This fundamental decision is made for us, is forced upon us, and this is the most important decision in our lives, to have a life, to be born.

This pattern of being objectified and instrumentalized and weaponized sometimes, this pattern persists throughout our childhood and adolescence. Decisions are made elsewhere by other people, and these decisions influence our lives profoundly and irreversibly and lifespan long.

As adults, we are the objects of the victims, of the decisions of, I don't know, corrupt politicians, med scientists, megalomaniacal media barons, gung-ho generals, demented artists, and run-of-the-mill, plain abusers, not to mention criminals.

This world is not of our making and our ability to shape and influence is very limited. This ability is illusory, it's not true, it's not real, it's a lie, self-deception.

Democracy in this sense is the greatest lie of all. It gives us the illusion of control, but we live in our own true and true.

Does this mean that we are not morally responsible for others? No. But it does mean that we easily fall prey to anyone who prefers a fantasy more sparkling, more colorful, more enticing than we are able to conjure.

We're invited by the narcissist to his fantasy, which is always superior, because narcissism is a fantasy defense can arrive.

We can never mention the narcissist's fantasy for detail, complexity, and attractiveness. We're morally responsible, even if we did not choose the circumstances and the parameters and the characteristics of the universe or the fantasy that we inhabit.

That much is true, but we've been lured.

Victims are lured into the narcissist fantasy. It's his lair, his bluebird, that's the cave.

The Swedish Count Wallenberg, impaired and endangered his life, and lost it, by the way, smuggling hunter Jews out of Nazi occupied Europe. He did not choose or help to shape Nazi Europe. It was a brainchild of the deranged director Adolf Hitler.

Having found himself as an unwilling participant in Hitler's fantasy horror show, Wallenberg did not turn his back. He did not opt out. He did not escape. He did not ignore. He did not pretend.

Wallenberg remained within the bloody and horrific set, immersed in the deadly lethal fantasy of Adolf Hitler, and he did his best.

Wallenberg did his best.

Truman should have done the same.

Jesus said that we should have loved our enemies and we should have loved his. He should have felt and acted with responsibility towards his fellow human beings, even towards those who wronged him greatly.

But is this demand human? Can we really expect it from people?

Or is this setting people up for failure, a typical narcissist employee?

When the narcissist tells you, you should forgive me. You've made the decision. It was your choice.

They said, is he right? Maybe it's an inhuman demand, such forgiveness and magnanimity. They're the reserve of God. None of us is a God except a narcissist, of course. The fact that Truman's tormentors did not see themselves as such and believed that they were acting in Truman's best interest and that they were catering to his every need.

This does not absorb them from their crimes.

Truman's show is a mega crime. The narcissist fantasy is an enormous crime. Truman should have maintained a fine balance between his responsibility to the show, his creators and his viewers, and his natural drive to get back at his tormentors.

The source of the dilemma, which led to his act of opting out, the source of the dilemma is that the two groups overlap. His tormentors were also the instigators and were also the people he felt responsible for.

And that's what the narcissist does to you.

With a childlike demeanor and vibe, he makes you feel that you're responsible for his well-being, for his happiness. It's a maternal thing, a parental reflex, the wish to protect the narcissist from pain and punishment.

Truman found himself in the impossible position of being the sole guarantor of the well-being in life of his very tormentors. And that is never an acceptable position. Never agreed to be the custodian or the guarantor of anyone else's emotions, well-being, safety or anything else. We're all adults. We're all adults, yes, including the narcissist who persists and insists that he's not.

To put the question in sharper relief, are we morally obliged to save the life and livelihood of someone who greatly wronged us, his emotions, his future, or his vengeance justified in such a case?

A very problematic figure in this respect is that of Truman's best and childhood friend. They grew up together, they shared secrets, emotions and adventures. And yet this so-called friend lies to Truman constantly and under the director's instructions. Everything he says is part of a script. It's not true, not authentic.

It is this disinformation that convinces us that he is not Truman's true friend. He's a fake friend, a snake in the grass. A real friend is expected above all to provide us with full and true information and thereby to enhance our ability to choose, to make choices, bound by reality and founded on it.

Truman's true love in the show tried to do that. She paid the price, she was ousted from the show, but she tried to provide Truman with a choice.

It is not sufficient to say the right things and make the right moves and noises. Inner drive and motivation are required. The willingness to take risks, such as the risk of providing Truman with full information about his condition, about his true condition.

All the actors who played Truman's parents, loving wife, friends, colleagues, they miserably failed on this score. They were not true to him. They were not authentic. They colluded in tormenting him.

Isolating people from reality is a form of torture. It debilitates them. It disables them. Invalids are isolated from reality.

The narcissist invalidates you and then disables you by isolating you from truth, reality and other people.

It is in this mimicry that the philosophical key to the whole movie rests.

A utopia cannot be faked. Captain Nemo's utopian underwater city was a real utopia because everyone knew everything about it. Everyone was fully informed, informed consent. People were given a choice, though an irreversible and irrevocable choice.

Nemo gave them a choice, and they chose to become lifetime members of the reclusive captain's colony and to abide by its overly rational rules. This was their choice.

The utopia came closest to extinction when a group of stray survivors of a maritime accident were imprisoned in the utopia against their express will. It was not their choice.

In the absence of a choice, no utopia can survive or exist. In the absence of full, timely and accurate information, no choice can exist.

Actually, the availability of choice is so crucial that even when it is prevented by nature itself and not by the designs of more or less sinister or monomaniacal people, even then there is and can be no utopia.

In H.G. Welles' book The Time Machine, the hero wanders off to the third millennium, and he comes across a peaceful utopia. The members of this utopia are immortal. They don't have to work or think in order to survive. Sophisticated machines take care of all their needs. No one forbids them to make choices. There simply is no need to make choices.

So the utopia is fake, and indeed it ends badly, simply because people were not required to make choices and therefore didn't bother to find out the full and true information.

The narcissist puts you in this condition. Don't inquire. Don't ask questions. Don't learn the truth. Don't explore. Don't challenge. Don't criticize. Don't disagree. Don't pursue truth and reality. Close your eyes. Fall back. I will catch you. Trust me. Trust me. Trust me to take over your mind, to snatch it, to hijack it, to become your mind. Outsource yourself to me. Disappear. Vanish and mesh. Fuse. Merge. Let me regress you to the time when you were one with your mother, the symbiotic phase.

Finally, the Truman Show encapsulates the most virulent attack on capitalism in a long time.

Grady, thoughtless money machines in the form of billionaire tycoon producers exploit Truman's life shamelessly and remorselessly in the ugliest display of human vice possible.

The director indulges in his control mania. The producers indulge in the monetary obsession. The viewers on both sides of a senior screen.

Yes, we too indulge in voyeurism. The actors vie and compete in the compulsive activity of furthering their petty careers.

It is a repulsive canvas of a disintegrating, selfish world, atomized.

Perhaps Christoph is right after all when he warns Truman about the true nature of the world out there.

But Truman makes his choice. He chooses the exit door which leads to the outer darkness or the false sunlight, the utopia that he leaves behind.

And so should all victims of narcissistic abuse find themselves embedded in the narcissist's shared fantasy in Mr. Ripley's Truman Show.

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