In everyday language we are accustomed to associate the term "narcissism" to vanity, exhibitionism, and megalomania, but also to neuroses and pathological behaviour. This is misleading: narcissim is a normal, basic dimension of psychic activity, that involves all of us in every stage of life. This text examines the myth of Narcissus, from Ovid to Freud and contemporary psychoanalysis, and thus helps the reader comprehend that Narcissus is a constant presence in our daily life - from family to politics - and shapes our emotional and social relationships. The text also shows how self-importance can be both a source of harm and necessary in order to enjoy each other's company.
Antonio Alberto Semi is a member of the Italian Psychoanalysis Society.
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