I haven't read the whole analysis yet, or the multitude of comments. Thanks for it though. I've watched quite a lot of Sam Vaknin videos on Youtube lately (having visited his website about 10 years ago, looking for guidance or quick answers to interpersonal stuff). I was interested because I'm having trouble with someone at work who appears to have narcissistic tendencies and to lack empathy, but at the bottom of the food chain (to his amazement, despite being well qualified) not the top; a flawed personality the most likely explanation.
Now I've started to think about his whole concept. Sam's view of the people he calls narcissists is so uncompromising, yes as you say, as if they were unlike other people. If this was some accepted theory on narcissism and Sam a psychiatrist, I thought, I'd like to challenge the theory. Surely "narcissism" cannot describe the whole of a person's personality and thereby dehumanise them, rather if it exists it is more likely to be a tendency or dominant characteristic and that most people would have the full range of human feelings i.e. all people are human beings and however flawed, we all share the same lot as earth bound creatures with certain needs that tend to anchor us in some way.
The Greeks had a handle on a lot of stuff including the human experience, and I don't doubt all of us have within us a streak of narcissism but perhaps not as an enduring trait so much as one response or way to be amongst a huge repertoire. So, definitely narcissism is part of the human experience that can become a trap for some (as in the Greek tragedy) however the point of the tragedy (and I remember the learning of not focussing too much on admiring the 'self" went deep for me when I first heard the story as a child) is to teach people to lead a balanced life and thereby avoid unnecessary grief.
I Googled Sam and found he is not a psychiatrist, just a writer and has spent time in prison for fraud. If we were to believe what Sam says about narcissists, and since he is a self avowed narcissist, going by what he says about this personality type, I'd be doubting whether a lot of what he says is truthful, albeit he is magnetic to watch and appears to be making logical and/or authoritative sense. More like the whole creation is about self validation - which does rather make it look like there is something in the "I, Psychopath" - and is what he tells us is giving him "narcissistic supply". He perhaps has a need to do this and probably motivates so many such videos.
My work experience is that those who get ahead are often psychopathic not narcissistic. I may be wrong but most people with narcissism as their dominant trait, I feel would be too incompetent, vulnerable (tantrum prone when things don't go their way) and self absorbed to achieve to such a high level. Narcissist personality types I would imagine are generally not "out there" doing stuff in the world because they are too busy admiring their own reflection and patting themselves on the back for being so uniquely wonderful.
Also, I feel narcissistic tendencies would be more a disorder of the young, and unlike in the legend, most people do receive enough reality testing about their own lack of omnipotence to shake them out of any dream they may have of personal perfection; a form of deluded self admiration that according to the legend is paralysing and causes life to pass that person by. We all would have this tendency to some degree (as in when we take time out to gloat on an achievement or talent) but to be paralysed by it as in the legend is an extreme hypothetical case not to be confused with real persons in the real world.
Thanks for the opportunity to have a Saturday morning rave about narcissism.