I happened to drop by Orchard Road a few days back. It was a good opportunity for chilling out at a cafe and screening the surroundings for some beautiful …, well, for some beautiful social study opportunities.
And there were plenty.
Plane-loads of tourists and MRT-loads of non-tourists were roaming the streets and shopping centres. I focused my attention more on those that obviously looked like tourists.
Gadgets in hand they go sight-seeing.
It appeared to me as if those tourists would no longer take in the sights with their own eyes but only through the lenses/screens of their gadgets. Always particularly keen to take a perfect snapshot of that moment to record it for eternity – while at the same time letting that moment pass without really living through that moment.
What is that permanent orchestrating, selfie-taking and photo sharing doing to us?
Do we nowadays just live for that photo instead of living for that moment?
I have found a survey done in the US a few months back. 58% of the participants stated that they have missed a beautiful moment just because they were searching or posing for the perfect shot for their social networks on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.
About 1.8 Billion new photos flood the Internet each day. And many of them feature selfies. That trend is scary.
What does that Selfie-Mania tell us about ourselves?
Could it lead to more self-monitoring?
Could it lead to a continuous hard-check on ourselves?
Could it lead to an even more narcissistic society in which family and real friends (those we meet / met (?) in person) diminish in importance?
And please don’t see being narcissistic as the same as having high self-esteem. For me there is a huge difference: narcissists feel superior to others but they do not necessarily feel that good about themselves. In contrast, people with high self-esteem naturally feel good about themselves but do not feel superior to others. They see value in themselves but do not see themselves as more valuable than others.
So why do people then like to take so many photos of themselves, if not for narcissistic reasons?
Do you think spreading some hard facts could lower the number of selfie-acts?
In 2015 more people died by taking selfies than killed by sharks. Hopefully selfie-deaths will never exceed deaths by hippopotamus anytime in the future.
(Ok, ok, of course those hard facts would melt into soft facts under that laser-sharp rational scrutiny of people like you who know how to measure risk literally and who know that “selfie encounters” are way more frequent than “shark encounters”. But that’s beside the point. Don’t spoil my “educational post”.)
Which brings me to that guess-only-fact that deaths by general gadget usage are probably much much higher.
So, are we really getting our priorities right in life?
“We demand too much of life, too little of ourselves.” ― Christopher Lasch, Author of “The Culture of Narcissism”