Personally, when I am in the mood for a certain amount of contemplation and self-examination, I like to empty a bottle of indifferent red wine and cry myself to sleep | R.I.

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Over the past few years, something called ‘mindfulness’ has become the trendy way to help us all find our inner calm. I have to say that although I have done a certain amount of research on this subject, I’m jiggered if I know what the term actually means. I reckon that mindfulness, is just the modern reappearance of something called Zen or meditation, maybe way-back-when it might have been described as being in touch with one’s emotions, but as I’m English and male, I will have nothing to do with it.

Unhappily, whenever I think of such things as meditation, I always remember that Indian chap Maharishi Yogi who giggled an awful lot whilst tempting The Beatles to play lots of, in modern terms, mindful music - accompanied by a sitar. Personally, when I am in the mood for a certain amount of contemplation and self-examination, I like to empty a bottle of indifferent red wine and cry myself to sleep.

To me, ‘mindfulness’ suggests an element of self-obsession with an unhealthy dash of emotional justification added to the tedious mix. This is not to mock the process of self examination and criticism, but to roll-your-eyes at the look-at-me element in all of this, a sort of emotional points scoring that only has one winner - you.

I know that I am being spectacularly unsympathetic and provocative here, but do you get the feeling sometimes that those who obsess about how they interact with life, need to get just that - a life? I watched a television programme the other evening that was nothing to do with either football or indeed Bradley Walsh and I found it fascinating because it was totally honest about the modern obsession with self.

It reported that never, ever, apart from in the courts of French monarchs named Louis, or during the Roman Empire had self obsession become so common place. For those who are not familiar with the word, can I describe the word narcissism? For it is this word that best portrays our own love affair with us. To quote from my own copy of The New Collins Concise Dictionary - Narcissism = “is an exceptional interest in or admiration for one’s self.”

And quite frankly dear reader, there’s a lot of it about. From those ghastly wannabe entrepreneurs with their slicked-back, over-jelled hair, and cruel lipstick trying to impress Sir Sugar, to social media friends who take selfies of their own ‘abs’ pouts or cleavages and comment how they are totally transfixed by their latest ‘self’ based fetish, the world seems to be full of narcissists.

At one time, a show-off, a braggart, a blowhard, would be given short-shrift by everyone, but now they get to become President of the United States and can’t even contemplate that they were fairly beaten in a presidential election by a man who constantly seems to fall asleep. Linking back to that word that I started with - i.e. ‘mindfulness,’ could it be that whatever thought passes through our heads at any given time has to be meaningful or relevant, when indeed it is just some irrelevant passing fancy. When did we start taking ourselves so seriously?

I know that I am hopelessly old-fashioned when it comes to modern manners, but mildly amused self-effacement is so last century isn’t it? I think that we have happened upon an age that discretion and good manners forgot. Indeed the current political situation in Downing Street reminds me of a group of mid-teen kids being caught drinking and partying when mum and dad are away on holiday.

One expects boxers prior to a fight to bad mouth each other with “trash talk,” but you do expect better from reasonably well educated men and women looking to secure our votes I would have thought. However, most distressing of all is the effect that the cult of self-aggrandisement has on our children and grandchildren.

The coarsening of social interactions, the conviction that their qualities make them extra-special, made ten-times-worse by doting parents. What will they do when they find out that they are nothing special really; well, we all know what happens then don’t we? Yes, we all turn predictably to such things as mindfulness don’t we, to make us feel better.

Perhaps unfairly, those millennials born up-to and around the end of the last century have become cast as the ‘Me’ generation. Mind you, they are not the only humans who gaze cold-eyed and pouting into so many cameras and mirrors in the world as if to verify their very existence, “Look at me” they scream, but we’ve seen it all before and they aren’t anything special are they? I have this theory that links narcissism and childlike behaviour. Children by their very nature are quite naturally narcissistic until they learn the ways of the world; until then, what they think at any given time is the way that they perceive to be all around them.

When children tell fibs, they are experimenting with the boundaries of truthfulness, when you are still doing that as an adult you really do have a problem - or do you, because society increasingly rewards and embraces this extraordinary mindset. I really do hope that this present adoration of self above all other things is just a blip on the radar of modern life, but I have my doubts.

However, if I am to be true to my own tortured premise, my own written pontifications twice a week in this newspaper take some beating, as it must be my very own version of staring at my own reflection and preening for that artfully angled camera phone shot, taken via the bathroom mirror. How embarrassing is that?