Firstly, I am using Narcissism in a non-clinical sense, and I recognize that we can label behaviour; however, I am using this term as a love of one’s self, and nothing more.
When thinking about reality, we often think of the world outside of us; however, a subtlety eludes such a thought process. There lays within us a unique rendition of reality, one which exists solely in our brains. Meaning, we have our representation of reality and reality as is. This is because beings which interact with reality need the means to do so, they need a reality interface in order to act; so, we evolved powerful tools to do just that. Our brains harness the mechanisms which are at its disposal to create something which aids in its survival, what it creates is a representation of reality; thus, we are not seeing reality its self.
Furthermore, our brains do not represent objects in their truest form. For instance, when we see someone walking or notice a lovely painting; we Intuitively believe that those exist as is, and in some sense they do. That is, the atoms which constitute those entities are indeed as is, however, we see those objects after a chain of unconscious processing; in order for those objects to appear in our mind, they must first be processed by the brain, and the brain places its own spin on everything; that is, the brain is limited in what it can do. Consider the following: all reality consists of atoms, yet we do not know the appearance of an atom by eye alone. This is because our visual sensory organs cannot bear witness to anything on such scale. Sensory organs operate between fixed points, which is to say, they have fixed parameters. For example, audible frequencies, for us, are between 20hz to 19,000hz depending on the individual. And furthermore, we can only feel, taste, and smell to a certain extent as well. We are only able to see what the reality interface can process.
Thus, to love anything entails the love of one’s self. To love another human means to love one’s own neural representation of that human. The psychological high derived from oxytocin, the perception of the individual, and the memories which are formulated about them all exist on one’s own neurons. We are loving our representation, our memories, our sensations and not the person them self. We can only love what we perceive and what we perceive is our representation of things, not the actual things in objective existence.
This brings an interesting point about mind-brain interaction as well. Consider sexual fantasy: sexual fantasy consists of an individual using their own imagination, therefore, their own electrical signals to generate an image of a desirable individual. However, the individual appears merely as representation in the brain, yet there is a physiological response. The mind is acting in a dream which is also created, and the brain is providing the means for creation. The mind is the actor and the theatre is the brain. Moreover, it seems the brain does not make any distinction between the products of mind and reality; or perhaps the brain allows for this because it cannot distinguish between images created in the context of art and fantasy, and as such, processes the information in a ubiquitous category of realness. Presumably, the mind only understands context, not our visual cortex.
Therefore, the brain and mind love themselves regardless of conscious awareness. We cannot surpass this either, for the mind cannot surpass biological function. Thus, we are to be self-absorbed creatures until we create a new reality interface which can house our consciousness, as well as not be subject to this same way of operation.