23 April 2014

Thoughts on the selfie

There are many aspects of modernity which I simply do not - and maybe cannot - understand. Among these is the growing popularity of these things called "selfies," by which a person extends his hand and with his phone or camera takes a picture of - of all things - himself.

Even the Pope himself has given in to taking a selfie with people (which makes one wonder if it can still rightly be called a "selfie") leading groups to hold up banners in St. Peter's Square such as this one seen this morning:
A group "selfie" really just points out the irony of the modern age and of how little thought we often give to matters that may not seem, on the surface, very important but may really be.

To my mind, the prominence of the selfie indicates, in a way perhaps more clearly than any other, the great ego-centrism of our own day. It says: "Look at me! Why are you looking elsewhere?! Pay attention to me!" It is, I think, a consequence of the desire today to be famous; not for having actually done something worthwhile or important, but simply for the sake of being famous. The beautiful things all around me, whether of nature or of man, the other people around me, why would you want to look at any of that or at them?

At the same time, the selfie demonstrates the great disconnectedness of modern people. It was not that long ago that a person would easily stop a passerby and ask him or her to take a picture. Living now in a city filled with tourists - especially this week - lots of selfies are taken (even of groups) every day and when I offer to take a picture for a person or group so that the picture will actually be decent (if not good), people seem quite surprised that I would trouble myself with them. One wonders what happened to living in a society. Sometimes it seems we are all simply hermits wandering about each other.

Who knows? It may be that I simply think too much.

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