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WARNING! Do you suffer from a destructive, particularly evil version of amour propre? Symptoms include a desire to be recognised as valuable by others which tends to take one of the following forms:

  • Wanting to earn way more money than everyone else to prove your merit.
  • Buying things not because they’re useful, but because they look good and express said merit.
  • Seeking praise from anyone for anything, like your class background.
  • Looking for confirmation that not only are you good at your hobbies, but you’re the best and everyone else sucks.
  • Aspiring to have so much power that you have more political clout than the rest of your fellow citizens combined.

If you suffer from such inclinations, you are likely to be a major menace obstructing the ability of society to function well, thereby impeding the ability of all, including yourself, to be truly happy.

You may thus need treatment courtesy of… Jean-Jacques Rousseau! Consider the following quick-fire treatments to render your desires benign:

  • Instead of looking to be the best builder, dancer or whatever it is you do, why not settle for being told you’re good?
  • Rather than rest solely on the opinions of others for your sense of self-esteem, try setting up your own internal criteria of worth by which you can judge your own life performance.
  • Get a lover. Seriously. There are plenty of choices out there, and there aren’t many better ways of feeling special and unique than to be romantically loved for all your little idiosyncrasies by one other person.
  • Marry that person! This particularly private bond can boost your ego a second time around by getting public confirmation of it. Cement the link. Throw a party.
  • Instead of equating wealth with worth, recognise money is a fake good and the amount you have is largely determined by fortune. Try appreciating people according to how virtuous they are instead. What would Zuckerberg really be worth if he was a cold hearted bastard anyway?
  • Get used to the fact that you’re one person amongst many, all of you have identities and desires and interests, and you’re all fundamentally equal. Take solace in the fact that you all get protection under the law accordingly, you all get to deliberate and vote on political matters, and legislation will always be passed with a view to your interests, just like everybody else’s.

It works better. Trust us?


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