Narcissism is a serious social and psychological problem. The term refers to an inflated view of the self, coupled with relative indifference to others. People who are high in this trait fail to help others unless there is immediate gain or recognition to themselves for dong so; often think they are above the law and therefore violate it; and readily trample over others in their efforts to rise to the “top,” which is where they think they belong. A world full of narcissists would be a sad world indeed. We humans are, by nature, social animals; we absolutely depend upon one another’s good will and care. Narcissism is bad not just for society as a whole, but also for the individual narcissist. People high on this trait are often unhappy, angry at the world because of the world’s failure to recognize their superiority. They are generally incapable of forming the kinds of deep, meaningful, lasting relationships with others that we all need in order to live happy, emotionally secure lives.
The characteristic that perhaps most distinguishes non-narcissists from narcissists is empathy. Empathy refers to a capacity and tendency to experience life not just from one’s own point of view but also from that of others, to feel others’ joy and sorrow, and to care about others’ wellbeing. Specialists in moral development consider empathy to be the foundation for human compassion and morality.