This is my second attempt at keeping a blog. Why blog?
There is a view that these things are narcissistic. Indeed our culture has become incredibly narcissistic. What defined Narcissus was that he became obsessed with his own reflection. Is this to say that we shouldn’t reflect upon ourselves? Reflection is instead the beginning of the meditative act in which the reflection is seen for what it is – a reflection; empty and without substance. Narcissism is not that, it is its opposite. Narcissism is the imbuing of the reflection with substance. That is to say that the illusion of the reflection becomes real in our minds.
Narcissism therefore is paying attention to a sense of self. Narcissus died while pondering his own reflection. Engaged in the world of form the larger Self died to the little self. Everything was seen within the light of his self rather than through the light of the Self of all.
Has the world become narcissistic? Perhaps the question really is are we living in a world of people who have become obsessed with their role in the world, a world that lives in reflected light or a world where people create their own light and live unselfconsciously? Do we care what clothes we wear, what car we drive, how we smell? Do we want to make sure that the image we project is just so, or is the image we project a spontaneous reflection of our inner selves?
This takes us to the changing role of brands, which once were a trade mark and now are an opportunity for what a friend of mine some ten years ago called psychic badging. There is no doubt that brands have acted as indicators of social identity. If a person owns an Audi what does that say about him, versus if he owns a Lexus. Narcissism is that the individual has reflected on his choice of brand so that it says about him what he wants to be said, whether others see it or not.
However, it could equally be argued that what is occuring here is actually a matter of affinity rather than of badging. In other words our consumer feels a bond between herself and the brand because the values which the brand expresses are similar to the consumers values rather than the image which the consumer wishes to express. We could look to how we treat friends – is it because we have affinity with them, or is it because they say something about ourselves that we want to be said.
It is this latter that I would call consumerism. Affinity on the other hand arises out of a need. At a creative level, we want to amplify our output. We want to contribute. And our contribution is made more powerful by seeking like minds. We invite criticism rather than reject it. We let go of ourselves. And yet we reflect without becoming obsessed by our reflection.
And is this blog being written as a creative expression without self thought, or is it an act of consistency with my self image and the seeking of the perfect reflection?