The Epistemology Of Selfie

The days of the MySpace angles are long over but that doesn’t mean we’ve forever escaped the phenomenon of people plus camera. In a generation that is particularly self-absorbed, narcissistic even, it should be no surprise that there is a need for every little detail of one’s life to be put in a public domain. Social media it seems, has spoon-fed this generation’s capricious desire to be admired in one way or the other. Amongst the ways utilized to gain some sort of fame or perhaps the ubiquitous “like” are opinion pornography at blogs or comments sections, memes, and pictures.

It should be pointed out that nowadays even without proper training, anyone can be a photographer. I see it all the time on the internet: people take pictures of their food, their pets, parts of their bodies, and most common of all, their faces.

I don’t need to go to Encyclopaedia Drammatica to understand what a “selfie” is — if I had to form my own definition it would go this way: as I understand it, a person who takes a picture of his/her face with either the most fashion magazine-worthy mien or wacky expression, is said to be doing a “selfie.”

While back then, MySpace angles sought to achieve the best angle of one’s face so as to come across as more attractive than they actually are, today, with the selfie, it is much more about self-appreciation in that regardless of the angle of the face in the picture, the point is that the person doing a “selfie” wants his/her face to be admired exactly as it is, flaws and all.

Furthermore, the “selfie” implies this generation’s narcissistic tendencies unlike the MySpace angles which aim to please other people’s eyes and give the subject a sense of acceptance within the group. The selfie however is the exact opposite because the subject of the picture is already pleased with his/her face and is pretty much demanding that other people “like” it too. It is to be taken in consideration that I used the word “demand” because of the prevailing political correctness within the average Facebook user who conforms to the notion that these “selfie” pictures are to be looked on as an adorable form of self-expression rather than the truth that the person doing a selfie lives in a bubble of unreality wherein he or she thinks that the rest of the world actually cares for his or her face.

Believe it or not, there was once a time when pictures were only taken whenever there is a special event in a person’s life: pictures were taken to preserve memories, to recapture extraordinary moments. Sadly today, something as mundane as drinking a beverage at a coffee shop needs a picture taken of it. When bored, people just take pictures of themselves, post it on Facebook or Instagram where surely there are people dumb enough to give it a “like.”

The stupidity and arrogance that comes with it is simply outrageous.

If the youth of today think that taking pictures of themselves increases their importance in society, well they have to think again: one day they’ll realize that the world does not revolve around them and that those selfie pictures they’ve taken are nothing but a waste of space.

As early as now we should be asking ourselves “when did this ‘selfie’ phenomenon come about?” “how did it materialize?” The answer not only lies on the fact that the self-absorbed Millennials are the current generation, but it goes deeper stretching from the advent of Smartphone technology to the moral corruption of the world we live in.

Since practically everything nowadays runs on computer technology and is therefore instant, people have entirely forgotten how it is to patiently wait. The “Me” generation is characterized by wanting instant fame and instant gratification. Again, the word “patience” is not found in their vocabulary; they dare not wait for special events to come in their lives, which is why they pervert the mundane and turn it into something special only in name, thereby resulting in the word “special” losing all its meaning.

As I’ve written in the aforementioned example of taking a “selfie” whilst sipping a drink in a coffee shop, this generation has failed to grasp the difference between “remarkable” and “nondescript”. This too stems in the morally corrupt Socialist dogma that we don’t have to improve ourselves because we are all supposedly “winners” even without doing or achieving anything. That we are free to waste our time taking useless pictures of ourselves even if there is no extraordinary event in our lives to warrant it.

The “nondescript” is thus elevated to the status of “remarkable” all because this generation does not know the true meaning of achievement. Sad as it is, to most youth of today, garnering a few “likes” or “retweets” is enough of an achievement to complete their pathetic, empty lives.

Without the moral standard of what’s right or wrong, this ambivalent generation will continue to mistake the “nondescript” with that of the “remarkable.” Why? Precisely because of the lack of any standard to begin with: if they don’t know how to differentiate what’s right from wrong, then surely it follows that they will have a hard time differentiating a whole lot of other things from their opposites such as what’s important from what’s not.

Albeit I do know that there was a form of “selfie” centuries ago called the Self-portrait, the difference between the two is that Self-portraits actually sought to portray the essence of the subject rather than mindlessly take a dozen pictures of a single face. Back then self-portraits were special because it is rare, right now its equivalent, the selfie, is just a manifestation of boredom and narcissism.

The roots of the “selfie” phenomenon are found in a generation that knows not the meaning of two key words: ‘patience’ and achievement.’ They know not that hard work and patience is needed to achieve truly great things, instead of the mindless satisfaction they get when their pictures are “liked.”

Fact is, this “selfie” phenomenon is just one of the many symptoms that we are living in a world that is on a fast track to being devoid of anything sacred — or exciting, for that matter.



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Aiko Lactaotao

Aiko Lactaotao


Writer whose heart is in the avant-garde, in dire need of therapy for Logolepsy, while being a lifelong hesher living the br00tal lyfe in her parent’s basement.