We willingly confess to an irresistible inclination to dwell on the vital formation and referential utility, of a candid, self- identity and image. As we perceive it, and have written, one’s felt self- image, is the result of a cumulative recollection of his past actions, particularly, his responses to external stimuli, favorable or, otherwise, his established capabilities and his personal perceptions. This may be what Socrates meant, when he famously taught, “Know thyself.”
We have often made the declaration, that every major judgmental determination, such as, the question of “morality,” is arrived at internally. Accordingly, we have written that the attempted instruction of the latter virtue, using the popular practice of external rewards and punishments, (religious or secular) is useless and potentially, harmful; it teaches the wrong lessons, viz., those of stealth and selfish motivation, instead of the valuable and enduring standard, of self-respecting, judicious, choice.
We would take the liberty to cite one more, among the many cogent, illustrations of the dynamics, of internal judgment. As can be readily and empirically demonstrated, the true essence of “personal success,” is an internally generated, sense of self-fulfillment, and not some publicly demonstrated, symbolic, accumulation of treasure.
The proper jurisdiction and venue, where such internal determinations, are forensically litigated and decided, is within the Courtroom premises of one’s own introspective reason and perception. It may be noted that, there are no statutes, in such consequential environment, authorizing the right of appeal; although, an impulsive, or unduly harsh, personal self-determination, is often capable of amelioration, or thoughtful amendment.
As a caveat, we do not dismiss or downgrade, iny any way, the indispensable function of overt appearance or demonstrated persona, especially, regarding essential, societal interpersonal communication. Conversation, itself, would not be possible, as a practical matter, without the mutually, recognizable identity, and familiar frame of reference, of the engaged parties. In this writing, however, we are concerned, specifically, with the private, intrapersonal audit of the thoughtful individual, rather than his publicly displayed, appearance.
We have one more caveat, for purposes of clarity of intended meaning. The general practice of taking photographs, of ourselves, or with friends or family, of babies, children, events, places visited, pets, sunrises, and other subjects of interest, for future recollection, is certainly an approved, one. Depicted, memories of people and, of reminiscent events, are valuable, for many reasons, not the least of which, is a recorded, sense of continuity of life, and the nature, and history, of our personal relationships. Such phenomena, additionally, assist us in our perceptions of our evolving and changing reality, and our successive adjustments to reality. We, on the other hand, are concerned about the often observed, apparently incessant, drive to take selfie, after selfie, presumably, in the vain attempt, to produce a photo of oneself, which ever more closely, comports with the photographer’s fantasy about him, or herself, [usually inspired by, and modeled upon, unrealistic, criteria, observed in the media].
Even the kindest and most patient of readers, may by now, be [justifiably] puzzled. How is the subject of the futile, multiple recording of one’s appearance, in the vain search, to satisfy a selected fantasy, at all, related, to the subject of “carrots?’ The latter, an orange colored, root vegetable, has admittedly, been paired, by us, with the word, “selfies,” in the title of this note. The salient reason, is that while the carrot plant evinces a nice green display in the garden, its real intrinsic value and exceptional beauty, is under the visible surface.
This mini-essay, has been denoted above, as a “redux,” because we have previously dealt with the identical theme, in a slightly different way. In the earlier writing, “Fred Rogers and Selfies,” we recalled an especially, meaningful installment of his wonderful and emotionally educative, children’s show. In the subject installment, Mr. Rogers, and his entire studio of children, sang to, and with, a young boy, confined to a wheelchair and evidencing the sad and dynamic activity of cerebral palsy: “It is you I like, not the clothes you wear, or the way you do your hair, but, it’s you…” This, insightful lesson, about true intrinsic worth, taught to the children in the studio, and those of the television audience, is a lifelong lesson for everyone, young or elderly.
We were, again motivated, to write on this subject, (“redux”) following a, disappointing, witness, from a park bench, [ while awaiting the rare advent, of an on time arrival, of the inglorious M-10 bus] of a young, rather attractive, woman, completely self- engrossed, and oblivious of her surroundings, taking and rejecting, selfie, after selfie, with, and without, the aid, of a “selfie stick.” She, we assume, was vainly, seeking a photo, which would comport with some personal, private fantasy, about herself As we recall, when the bus finally arrived, she was still peering, intensely, at her “smart” phone.
If carrots had the ability and propensity to instruct, that intelligent vegetable, (please verify, with the esteemed, “Bugs Bunny”) would teach the lesson, that its own true value and beauty, are unseen, and exist below the ground, and that, analogously, in man, true beauty and value, eternally and universally, reside, below his visable surface.