Maybe the advent of new words? Maybe the evolution of old ones?
Selfie is a new word. This sudden penchant for capturing ourselves against our current environment. Looking at ourselves in our context. Getting an arms length perspective. Using a selfie stick to get even greater perspective. To see from further out. To fit more of our situation in.
Our desire to share these 2D representations of self in these static snapshots of life, is curious. We seem strangely reluctant to show ourselves in living 3D, in reality, as we exist in the world with other human beings. Alive. Both beautiful and beautifully flawed.
Of course we have always had the ability to look at ourselves from the outside. Inside our head. Long before technology gave us the ability to record an image, many of us did that in our mind’s eye. Imagined it. We see ourselves in that awkward conversation. See ourselves in that meeting where we were criticised. See ourselves in that beautiful moment of joy, of fun, of love.
Our mind’s eye has an important advantage over the selfie. We are not limited to the current moment. Not limited to a selfie snap and a hard drive of past experiences captured in still reflection. Inside, we can do this imaging, this ‘selfie’, for our future too. Imagine our own future. Our upcoming holiday. Our new home to be. We can manipulate the image – past or present. Make it brighter, more colourful, turn it around, zoom in or out. Take parts out, add parts in.
Take a mental selfie now of where you will be next week, next month, next year.
Perspective and context are crucial to our humanity. They allow us to see possibility, to reflect, to dream, to make sense, to know we’re ok.
Remember too though that living, sharing, enjoying reality in the moment are more deeply human. Share the gift of you, now, in glorious living technicolour. Not just in smiling, staged, two dimension tomorrow.
Don’t just take a selfie. Be one.
Lexicographers – let’s add ‘be a selfie’