Not too long ago I heard of a popular phenomenon called the Selfie. I understood what it was because I had taken pictures of myself in that fashion but to know that it was popular was surprising.
First, let us understand what a Selfie is.
When I position the lens of my camera to capture myself and maybe a bit of my surrounding, is when I have clicked a Selfie.
When was the first Selfie taken?
Robert Cornelius in 1839 clicked a picture of himself, however, the term Selfie was first used in 2002 by an Australian.
It became a phenomenon at the turn of the millennium and mostly teenagers indulged in them.
So what did we do before a Selfie?
We put on our friendliest faces and politely asked a passerby, to spare just one moment and do us the kind favour of capturing us in our finest moment.
So why did we need an alternative for this?
We never adopt a different way unless it is simpler than the previous one. For example, we won’t go back to grinding herbs between stones if we have the simpler alternative to just put it in an electronic grinder and have our paste ready to cook with.
So the Selfie does serve a purpose.
It allows us to get a picture of ourselves without needing the help of another. One may argue that it could give rise to loneliness, but then again it is only an argument.
The relationship between narcissism and a Selfie is strong according to the psychological research conducted over the past 2 decades but loneliness among young people due to a Selfie is still unclear.
I have mostly clicked pictures of my surroundings and my friends; there are very few pictures I have of my own.
I like pictures that are impromptu and purposely wait until my friend is not looking so I can get a picture as natural as I can to cherish forever. I sometimes got lucky and captured them while they were at their most passionate self.
The need for a Selfie perhaps only occurred when there really was no one around me. And in these moments, I enjoyed the isolation too much to reach for my phone and ruin the moment.
I realise that I am sounding too full of myself, but I really did understand that trends are just that, TRENDS, and to ruin my present moment to update people I really don’t give a fuck about, is my moment wasted.
The sun won’t stop setting; it won’t wait for me to update people of how wonderful my life is and then begin setting again. It will set while I was staring at my phone and I will lose a perfect evening with myself and the universe.
Again, I want to make it extremely clear that I have no superior understanding of my psyche, I realise that I am a creature of habit and my habit is to always question my actions.
For an event, if I invite 4 friends and 3 make it, I question my tendency to feel upset about less than 100% attendance and remind myself that this moment is for the ones who did come so why spend this time discussing the ones who couldn’t come.
Similarly, I realise that advertisers use psychology to trick my reptilian brain into impulsively purchasing a product; so I developed a method to question my brain’s tendency to pick up a product that appeals only to my senses and let my reason take control of my wallet.
For example, I ask two questions before purchasing anything:
- Do I need it?
- Who does this benefit?
Most times Gentle Reader, I don’t go past the first question because I really can’t say ‘yes I need chocolate’ because I grew up in poverty and chocolate was a luxury so now it won’t suddenly become a necessity only because I have more money. It still is a luxury.
Similarly, a Selfie stick was never a part of my belongings simply because I do not need it and it benefits nobody.
It is shocking to hear that people have died in the process of clicking a perfect Selfie.
Who has heard the legend of Narcissus?
The obsession of that boy was self-perception, as it is of the young people today.
To indulge in oneself and one’s image so much that it could kill is perhaps the best embodiment of narcissism.
So if we realise it, why is the Selfie still so popular?
Or is it deeper than that?
What do we aim to achieve through constantly updating a picture of ourselves?
We do it while we eat, drink, rise, etc. We are literally living through the front lens of our phone.
If you ask me, Dear Reader, I find a Selfie terribly lonely; not only is there no sign of another human being in the picture but the very technique proves that there is no one except you in your life in that moment. What’s worse? We actually invented a stick to facilitate our loneliness instead of learning how to bring more people into our lives.
I wonder if the people who do this actually have other people watch them do it? I wonder if their family and friends don’t point this out to them.
Would it be a good idea to record yourself for one entire day so you know what does it actually appear like to others?
I mean, if you are uploading 5 perfect pictures of yourself daily, that is statistically wrong. No one has ever had one day in which there are 5 full moments when everything is so perfect. I have walked the planet for 27 years and I confess that there has never been a day when I could upload 5 photos of me and my activities that are perfect.
Either I am staging the perfectness or I am one of the luckiest people in the world. But then again, there are too many perfect lives for this tobe statistically true.
It is evidently phoney then. Why do we want to live a life that phoney?
Now I will tell you why I even thought about this.
I was on Facebook for a while, but I noticed that everyone tended to upload pictures that only showed them having fun.
I write my daily activities down in a diary so I have material evidence to prove what my day actually consists of and I didn’t find even 2 things that would qualify as fun according to the pictures my friends were uploading.
This bothered me, I mean I grew up with these people and if my life hasn’t substantially changed in the way I perceive it then my friends were definitely doing better than me.
I asked them to give me a few moments of their time in order for me to observe their activities so I could learn how to fix my own troubles.
To say the least Gentle Reader, I was disappointed. They behaved in the same manner as me and sometimes worse because they constantly were distracted by the buzz of their phone. I couldn’t help but imagine an invisible collar on my friend’s neck that was pulled by their phone at least 10 times in one hour.
They believed that it was OK to ignore me, a friend that travelled to meet them for someone sat comfortably in their living room miles away. I was really disappointed.
So I deleted my Facebook account and decided to build my friendships in the traditional way. It worked, I told them of my troubles as I should have and they confessed that they don’t feel differently.
What a Relief Dear Reader.
I was far more at peace now. I understood that humanity is distressed and we only act in defence mechanisms. Some ignore their troubles and some confront them. Now which one is better, we do not know. But I know this for sure that a fancy broken pot is no better than a regular broken pot.