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Seeking A Sense Of Self

Seeking A Sense Of Self

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Published by Ian Thorpe
Increasingly people feel an need to express their individuality by doing things a lot of other people do, or owning clothes and gadgets that are fashionable. But in an increasingly impersonal world how are we supposed to hold on to who we are?
Increasingly people feel an need to express their individuality by doing things a lot of other people do, or owning clothes and gadgets that are fashionable. But in an increasingly impersonal world how are we supposed to hold on to who we are?

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Published by: Ian Thorpe on Feb 22, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Seeking A Sense Of Self 
In an increasingly impersonal world where do we find a sense of self.....?Things have become pretty bad when we have to rely on designer labels andcellphone ring tones to give us a sense of who we are. I'm thinking not just of the people addicted to designer labels because wearing designer A says 'hard working,ambitious' professional on the way up while designer B says 'artistic, creative bohemian not concerned with personal image,' but those technology slaves who startto get very twitchy if they cannot get hold of the latest gadget from apple. The wholething started in the 1980s I guess, when the wild - eyed advocates of free marketeconomics were tearing apart the fabric of our communities and urging us all tofollow the creed of "we are what we own" It was at that time people first startedwearing labels on the outside of their clothes. "Look at me, I am a successful and cool person, those D&G or DKNY labels proclaimed.Fashion always changes however and by the mid 1990s lads and ladettes ruledthe roost, Jackson Pollocking city centre pavements with pools of vomit and
abandoning all self restraint as they binge drank their way to social cachet. Thesupercool were by then wearing Sweatshirts that bore the legend FCUK, which sentout the message, "hey look at me, I'm a cool, wacky and outrageous person who doesnot give a damn about anything except having a good time. I wear clothes that nearlysay a naughty word.The bottom line there is these people were insecure ikkle bunny wabbits whoonly wanted to be liked and so were almost naughty in a cute, cuddly and inoffensiveway. Next came the people who wore FUCK YOU! T - shirts. They thought this madethem seem like the kind of person who drives outrageously expensive cars but wearsclothes that look as if the came from a street market as a way of saying "I'm so richand powerful I don't have to care what anyone thinks of me so EFF OFF!"The reality of the EFF YOU T - shirt however is that behind it lurks a bitter andtwisted loser who could only afford to buy a sense of self item in a street market andso feels it is necessary to express his anger and resentment publicly. The EFF YOU T- shirt wearers desperately care what people think but are so convinced everybodyhates them they have a need to get their retaliation in first.The most exclusive designer labels are now readily available on cheap andcheerless clothes imported from China so designer labels have lost their cachet andare only for wannabees or chavs as we say in the UK. Mobile telephone ring toneshave come and gone and gadgets are the way to tell the world who you are now.I have to say at this juncture, my cellphone lets me know it needs attention bygoing BEEP, BEEP. I call it the Roadrunner ring tone. It does the job. I have never used the built in camera, MP3 player, games feature, surfed the net with it, or enenthought of buying any apps.The most irritating gadgets, like the most irritating ring tones and the mostirritating fashions are those that say, Look at me, "I'm having so much fun!" It is the"look at me" part that is important to these people. If only they read poetry they mightcome across the lines in Robert burns poemTo A Lousethat read:
O wad some Power the giftie gie usTo see oursels as ithers see us!It wad frae mony a blunder free us,An' foolish notion:What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,An' ev'n devotion!The world seldom sees us as we see ourselves of course. The Monty Python themering tone far from announcing "I'm a wacky and zany, devil may care free spirit,"actually says "I'm a boring old fart still stuck in the seventies." A person who walksalong the street screaming into a videophone balanced on the palm of their handthinks they are advertising their status as a cutting edge career peron but really onlyannounces "I'm so desperate to look cool I don't care if I walk into a lampost." Peoplewho boast of having 2000 years of music stored on their MP3 player are technologysnobs while people who claim the moral high ground because they drive a G Wiz car are really saying, "I have lost all hope, please kill me now!"It was easier to know who we were in days of yore. A man named John whowrought carts for a living would be called John Cartwright and by that everybody inthe community would know a lot about him. Another John who fletched arrows couldlook at himself with satisfaction, safe in the knowledge that everybody in his world,which probably did not extend much beyond the village where he was born, knew hewas John Fletcher, the man who fletched arrows. Being an arrow-maker was a veryworthy thing but also set one's place in society and so he had a sense of self.But what happens to a generation of Justin and Sheryl Customer-Service-Assistant? How do they find meaning in their mundane existence?Perhaps, rather than looking for new tags to hang on ourselves it is time we alltook a long look at the ant hill society we have become part of and decided it is timeto change the way we organise our life and work to reclaim ourselves.

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