“We will all be dust soon”*

*Mark Gatiss, interview for Financial Times, November 2017.

In January this year, Ben Hewitt wrote for The Guardian’s “Jump the Shark” a review of the BBC drama by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, “Sherlock” (Seasons 3 and 4):

“It felt less a detective show and more a show about a detective, with much of its focus centred on Sherlock’s growing compassion. But that didn’t quite add up, either: Sherlock was regularly scolded for his narcissism by people who endlessly fawned before him. Registrar Molly Hooper mooned over him despite his cruelty; Inspector Lestrade hero worshipped him; dominatrix Irene Adler fell in love with him…”.

Jia Tolentino, staff writer for the New Yorker, wrote under “Cultural Comment” in 2016 “What happens when we decide everyone else is a narcissist”. Taking in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Havelock Ellis, Freud, Kernberg and Kohut along the way, she concludes:

“It’s Kernberg’s model that we now live with – one that understands narcissism not as a defence mechanism, or as a fungible reaction to circumstance, but as a “condition of a failed self.”.”.

Tolentino goes on to note the publication in 1979 of “Christopher Lasch’s best selling “The Culture of Narcissism,” which argued that ordinary American society was, as a whole, approaching clinical deviance. “For the narcissist, the world is a mirror,” Lasch wrote.”.

In the closing paragraph of her article, Tolentino comments:

“The story of the narcissist is, in part, a story of the people around him pleading for empathy…”.

In episode 2 of the fourth season of “Sherlock”, the detective says to John Watson of John’s dead wife, Mary:

“In saving my life she conferred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend.”.

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