Recently my sister’s five-year old son was over at our home, acting crazy and hyper and generally being difficult to look after. I feel all too familiar with the situation: the little toddler acting like a tyrant, running roughshod over the place with a smile on his face, not thinking at all about other people’s lives, wanting everyone to drop what they’re doing and focus on him; and my mother and his mother (who is my sister) often find themselves having to yell and act tough and give off an authoritarian vibe in response, all while giving off the old “he’s too young to understand” line whenever I try to explain things or teach the kid anything. I would argue that this is all the result of getting into having kids without any kind of planning before the act of procreation, or even doing so before even considering it or anything entirely, but my mother told me that this is pretty much because when you’re a toddler, you’re egocentric, and she told me that this meant you only think about yourself.
Now, that’s interesting to me because I would say that, technically, we’re all selfish. We are all interested primarily in ourselves, and in what we get out of what we do and how we live in this world, which is natural. But, what separates us from people we may refer to as narcissistic, delusional, or egotistical, is the scope of our own self-interest. As we grow older, we should ideally develop what’s known as rational self-interest: we don’t treat other people like garbage for its own sake because that rewards us with nothing, we don’t try to be benevolent towards all living things because it rewards us with nothing, we make allies when it makes sense, and enemies when it comes to that, we develop bonds with other humans because what we derive from said bonds (namely personal fulfillment, emotional gratification, and other benefits), we cooperate with other humans because that cooperation directly benefits us rather than because we are just social animals, and we get into groups because how we think we can utilize the people in those groups and what is shared between the people in groups. As I understand it, children at an early age don’t usually develop this understanding yet at their age, so there may yet be some truth to how toddlers tend to be “egocentric”. But not only do I call into question that as a universal truth, because I feel that not all children act the way my nephew does, but I also have to question the way the word ‘egocentric’ comes up the way it does. As I said earlier, we are all in a sense self-interested, and we think principally about ourselves and our own interests. I feel that way as an egoist, and a Satanist/Luciferian, but I see egoism as a worldview or outlook that is developed in rational and/or ethical terms, taking much thought and reflection on the world and on human nature and on how you as a person feel about all of it, and not as mere narcissism. Saying that, though, I supposed the biggest difference between an egoist, or anyone capable of rational self-interest, as opposed to narcissistic, ‘egotistic’ individuals of any sort (let alone toddlers) is the way we perceive the world around us: to the narcissistic or delusional individual, the world and everyone else revolves around them. But to the Satanist, the Luciferian, the egoist, or indeed anyone capable of perceiving how the world works, the world does not revolve around them. To the deluded individual, you get your way simply because you exist, or because, in your opinion, you’re awesome and you’re entitled to everything. But the world does not work that way, and neither do its inhabitants. You get your way because of what you do. You work towards having your cake and eating it too. You prove yourself as an individual, you grow, you earn your happy ending by shining as the brightest of stars and the greatest of lions that you can possibly be, because no one else can or will, or should, do it for you. You don’t have to live your life for other people, you live it for yourself, but that life isn’t going to be lived for you, and no good things come to those who do nothing, certainly not for those who do nothing because they think the world revolves around them.
But don’t get the wrong idea, I think it would be a little too cruel to refer to children as narcissists, ‘egotistical’, or delusional, mostly because they are children, and I think they tend to be largely unaware of how anything they do affects anything, and they tend to be that way for a certain portion of time in their personal development. And to be fair, I doubt that my understanding regarding how children develop is fully-informed at this time. If I am to get to the point where me and a partner sit down and decide to have children, there’s a lot of planning we would have to do, and there are questions that we have to consider. My nephew isn’t being taught the lessons that I would teach my children, he’s just a “normal” child, raised the way most children might (well, about as much as it gets when you have the child unintentionally). But when I have children, there will be a real dilemma for me and my potential partner to consider: how might we nurture a child developing for who he/she is without being too permissive, and how do we introduce order into a child’s life without lasping into authoritarianism or controlling the child at the expense of his/her own free will, or the development thereof? These are questions that I think the normal way of raising children, and looking at the development of children, may not necessarily consider.