Perfect-Blue Life • 06 Jun 2018
Is our Society becoming too Selfie-sh?
Recently, the American Psychiatric Association actually confirmed that taking selfies is a mental disorder, going as far as to term the condition selfitis. The APA has defined it as: “the obsessive-compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy”, and has categorized it into three levels: borderline, acute, and chronic.
How extreme is your selfitis? If you find yourself taking up to three selfies a day but not posting them on social media, consider yourself borderline. If you’re posting at least three images of yourself a day, that’s acute. Lastly, if you’re experiencing an uncontrollable urge to take and post up to six photos a day, well then you have chronic selfitis.
It is fair to say that we live in a society that is provoked into an infinite pursuit of superficial perfection that can realistically never be attained. In a world where people are addicted to social media, consumption and plastic surgery, we now live at the verge of insanity, if not well over it. The great danger is that such behaviour feeds directly into our brain’s reward circuit, in the very same manner that other substances do, such as food, sex and drugs. It is then quite obvious that constantly engaging into posting self-images on social media and expecting to receive an istant ‘Like’ reward is no different from hijacking our body’s own natural reward systems, creating never-ending, and more precisely, impossible to satisfy feedback loops. Could you ever delete your social media account? The share prices of the biggest companies in the field certainly indicate that you couldn’t.
“What a tragic waste of engagement.
Do something more worthwhile with your time, anything”.
The solution? Psychiatrists advise minimizing exposure to the addiction and breaking down the dependence on it. What may be called for is a reality check to do away with digital narcissism – to live with social media rather than living through social media. Speaking on the selfie craze, Benedict Cumberbatch summarizes it well in his comments to Business Standard, “What a tragic waste of engagement. Enjoy the moment. Do something more worthwhile with your time, anything. Stare out the window and think about life”. So if you find yourself snapping away and capturing life through the lens of your camera, add a new perspective. Work to minimize your social media presence, take in the best of life’s moments without the need to seek approval or commentary from others. Live your own life – don’t live before the eyes of others.