We are spending hours creating our social media profiles, desperately texting friends about another cute someone who doesn’t care enough, discovering the first wrinkle and burning water for coffee. We are living in the ironic world of the fights for equality, freedom and education where the virtual image is as important as real one, loving yourself become worshipping and the comfortable palace of 'Do-not-care' attitude is the real estate market’s bestseller. With the endless theoretical possibilities for the future and the versions of ourselves, we became philosophers of the ‘I’. Thinking what’s the best for the ‘I’, we lost connection with ‘we’ and ‘them’. Is it possible that somewhere in between not washing shared dishes, self-focused Instagram accounts and stealing your mate’s job, we became what they call us - the bunch of self-centred egoists. Are we the generation of modern Narcissuses or just trying to survive?
Being independent in your early twenties or immediately after passing A-Levels like me is even harder than it sounds. Anyone who survived knows that this highway to hell is curvy and full of deep, dark holes. We start to worry about so adult and surrealistic things like paying rent, buying toilet paper are making living until the next payroll kicks in. As existing is not enough, in the meantime we study, work and socialise. Self-focus seems to be the obligatory part to survive the ritual of passage – first few weeks. But what if instead of getting used to, we evolve from anxious little humans to self-centric hedonists. Is it easier for us to adopt a certain attitude to adjust? Maybe putting ourselves always first is kind of modern shield against all the evil of the scary new world. Maybe gaining independence is only an excuse to finally throw away needs of others, stop replying late night calls from friends and spending time in the quality company of me, myself and I.
Another factor is social media – subject discussed a million times by writers, academics and by Saturday’s dinner with friends. The cornucopia of self-built statues, the land of attention and place were a photo of your butt trying to be a Kardashian gains more interest than the last living elephant or planning of national budget. Besides stalking people on the daily basis, on portals like Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram, we have a possibility of playing god with the images and creating private universes named them after us. Overwhelmed by others’ content, we are sticking to our orbits and continuously posting every little detail of the day – food, boring meeting, coffee, morning peeing. That strong focus on ourselves in the social media interferes with physical reality –using smartphones to escape social situations, and transfers self-centric attitude from virtual profiles to life.
After moving out and scrolling social media, it is time to get up to work to be able to splash out the whole pay on the Zara dresses which we will proudly wear and show off our uniqueness and great taste. We seemed to be locked in the endless circle of earning, spending and crying a river on the bills to pay. There is even no one to tell you to stop and break free because they all concentrate on their own runs to buy new sneakers before you. What if egoism grows on the capitalistic and consumptionism ground? While Andy Warhol was fascinated by the consumer culture, we should be afraid. We are not cautious enough to notice the moment when we won’t be able to see each other anymore through the castles of old boxes, IKEA furniture and the chain stores cheap clothes.
We should plead guilty, but don’t hurry planning your life in the ego-prison yet. For the mass of selfies and fancy coffees pictures there are people using social media and hashtags (#metoo, #blacklivesmatter, #bodypositive) to make a change in society and for the greater, selflessness good. Recent campaign to free Cyntoia Brown is just another example of standing up for another person and demand justice. Moreover, there is plenty organisation fighting for equality, human and animal rights.