To Self or not to Self?

Saatchi Gallery: From Selfie to Self-Expression (2017)

Saatchi Gallery: From Selfie to Self-Expression (2017)

Shouldn’t it be: ‘I Am, Therefore, I Wear, Buy, Think, Do, Design, Create, Like..’ instead of the other way around?
— Janne Baetsen

Note before reading: I am not a psychologist, nor am I a neuroscientist or a philosopher, but I am a self. A self who has always been fascinated by human motivation, cognition, affect, and social identity (and its translation)

To Self or not to Self? THAT was [and still is] the question of The Self and Selfie Talk, the second event in the Institute of Art & Ideas spring series that took place at The Store Studios [selfie heaven during London Fashion Week!]. Could focusing on ourselves rather than others be a route to happiness and success? Or is an obsession with ourselves damaging to social cohesion and a likely route to personal misery? One thing was for sure, before the talk even started, we would have a lot to discuss [and not enough time] knowing The Self, in all of its current dynamic around identity, individuality, inclusivity, diversity and human rights as well as big ego's like Trump, self[fish?] tools like social media, issues such as mental health and results like Brexit. 

Just a quick Wikipedia check, Google search or #self already shows the broad dimensions and endless possibilities of how The Self could be seen, described, researched or experienced let alone as captured in a selfie. True self and false self, self-awareness, self-conscious, self-concept, addressing it from a neuroscientific, a psychological, cultural, religious and/or philosophical perspective? Combine that with the fact that The Self on its own is constantly evolving due to the complexities of cultures and societies; this is not something to pin down in a one hour talk! Which meant great food for thoughts afterwards AND the speakers, led by Christopher Hamilton (Philosophy of Religion, King’s College), Professor Simon Blackburn, Doll Cat Pvssy (London-based Instagram influencer), Amy Grier (Associate Editor of Cosmopolitan UK) and Tim Dowling (Guardian Columnist) had their work cut out for them.  

The Self[ie] Culture & Generation are much discussed and researched topics nowadays. What is the effect of the Instagram ‘happy/all good’ selfie filter on the self-reflection of one's well-being? What is the effect of the decrease [or increase] in likes of a selfie, knowing The Self normally has the 'urge' to change or conform to whatever social influence it is exposed to with the main reason not to be harmed? As Amy Grier mentioned during the talk, is it now Survival of The Most Liked instead of The Fittest? 

Although I could write a blog as long as 10x scrolls down with questions and thoughts about the debate and The Self - especially within the context of Fashion - I know everyone's time is limited AND I don't want to interfere with your own possible Journey of the Self when watching the recap of the talk. Therefore, I am only sharing my personal 'brain spiders': I think we need to be more 'selfish' and grant ourselves more time to discover ourselves. By looking at the mirror or the reflection in the eyes of others, not on Instagram. By putting ourselves on top of mind, instead of aiming for being in the top 10 list of most likes/followers. I also believe it should be 'I Am, Therefore, I Wear, Buy, Think, Do, Design, Like... instead of the other way around. When we understand better who we are as a self we might be able to make more sustainable decisions. 

And by thinking of ourselves, we aren't excluding others. From the moment we enter the world, we are born into relationships [with parents and ancestors] and those relationships create individuals. I truly believe the mind can only exist and flourish within a network [hence: MIND FASHION] and The Self and The Other[s] are intertwined. The only thing we need to be aware of is that more connections isn't always better [able for our brains]. Just think about the 1G-2G-3G-4G-5G network developments. As well as assuming communication creates connection. 

And last but not least, it is too bad a selfie only shows YOU in the picture...


3rd April 2018: Next Food for Thought! 
Food, Facts and Fantasy is the last of three IAI Events coming to London in spring 2018. Read more >