Vain hope

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The Independent Online

Self-love is a many splendored thing. We sort of knew that, of course, but there's nothing like solid scientific evidence to confirm our homespun suspicions that those in high office do not always have the talents to match their lofty positions.

Self-love is a many splendored thing. We sort of knew that, of course, but there's nothing like solid scientific evidence to confirm our homespun suspicions that those in high office do not always have the talents to match their lofty positions.

So we should be grateful to Professor Roy Baumeister, of Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio. He has travelled all the way to the British Psychological Society's conference in Blackpool to tell us that those who adore themselves do better than their saner colleagues. That ineffable sense of self-importance, that effortless air of superiority, that irritating self-confidence, these are the natural characteristics of the narcissist and, it would seem, become highly prized in crises. Narcissists also make excellent first impressions. All this, no doubt, only serves to increase their tendency to adore themselves and reinforces their tendency to outperform their more modest colleagues. It wasn't like this in Ovid.

All very depressing, but it is at least proof, at last, that the meek shall inherit the earth, but only if they get there before the vain.

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