Laurent Schmitt

The Dance of the Egos Publication date : October 8, 2014

Laurent Schmitt is a physician-psychiatrist and a professor of psychiatry at Rangueil Medical Faculty-Paul Sabatier University and at Le Mirail University, Toulouse. In addition, he is the coordinator of psychiatry departments for hospitals in Toulouse. In 2012, he published Du temps pour soi.

More and more people seem to enjoy flaunting their outsized egos. This raises a number of questions: Were they always like this? Were they warped by ambition or by circumstances? How can they be so full of pride and so contemptuous of others?
The number of egotistic, self-centred people is growing. History and current affairs provide us with many examples of such types: what are their basic characteristics? Is there a biological or a genetic basis? Are certain character types predisposed to develop huge egos?
Rivalry, competitiveness and the need to stand out may all drive the ego to develop. But the excessive behaviour of egotists invariably leads to incomprehension and suffering. We need to know how to detect big egos behind the masks that often conceal them and to discover their strategies, in order to manage them successfully. In broader social terms, what are the consequences of the omnipresence of personalities that affirm themselves at the expense of others? Could this phenomenon be the expression of a new narcissism, of an unprecedented clash of values?

• An approach to the evolution of society: the predominance of rivalry in human relations, the emergence of specific personality types.
• A cultural perspective: examples borrowed from mythology, history and current affairs.
• A psychological analysis: how do we experience a relationship based on rivalry in the family, between partners and at work? Which personality types produce rivalry?
• A practical aspect: how to manage personalities with oversized egos?