‘I see myself seeing my self in a selfie – and I record it for others to acknowledge I’m fully aware of my own state of being – which means I kind of build myself like a god(dess). Or is it too far fetched?’
The friend I lured towards this topic with an irresistible bottle of Baileys put her violin down, took a sip and mused a little. We’ve both been playing for some time now – I, the frontcamera-fake-poses game of right beauty angles and she, a Mozart tune with a broken Barbie leg employed as a bow. Paganini-inspired, a connoisseur might observe. Faultlessly.
So an atmosphere of great intellectual promise had already been settled when we leaned over successively emptied glasses to develop more on the subject.
‘I’ve read an article about the ancient Greeks this morning,’ she lit a cigarette whose loops of smoke were doubtlessly meant for punctuation, ‘and it’s just fascinating how they’re supposed to have created all these myths by constantly adjusting the stories to their experience of new lands, new cultures, new sources. They’d preserve the main plot, say, Zeus defeating Typhon the giant, but would never cease to explain the world around through the filter of such a legend, always expanding it, always adding clarifying details. They’d sail to Sicily, discover the fuming volcano, and identify it as the place where a Typhon seething with fury has been imprisoned.’
You’d think we were so drunk we just forgot our focus should’ve been my statement on selfies.
‘But what I’m trying to get across entails that our perpetual awareness of a certain image – the mirrored image, the selfie- is not ulike their awareness of a certain god’s image.’
‘Indeed, we’re justified to think for a long while the god was actually inside the ancient people’s eye, ready to be projected onto whatever they’d have to look at around.’
‘So with that approach, the Greeks practically charted their way through new worlds, thus acknowledging they’re aware of their own state of being.’
And selfies could be our cultural equivalent.
‘Yet you can take this a step further,’ proposed the Philosophy student in her. ‘You can draw a parallel between how they behaved throughout their lives as if omnipresent gods were judging their every move, whereas, nowadays, we ourselves assume that role. And if they needed stories, epics, to learn ways of acting in accordance with the image a god would set as the model -when they created both the god and the model-, we give this function to selfies, which actualize our image in accordance with the icon we aim at. And to some extent build ourselves as the gods we’ve lost a use for.’
I wanted to warn her against deepening thoughts to the point where they get impossible to discuss without proper research, proper analysis. Then I realized we’re just splashing ideas out there.
‘Greek Myths – tales of travelling heroes’ – BBC documentary
Patricia Beykrat – the Roving Aesthete