Monday, May 11, 2015

Selfish

Joseph Campbell said that myths are stories that never took place but are always true.

Sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it?

Think about the boy who cried wolf. Who is this boy? What's his name? Where and when did he do his crying?

Notice how the story addresses none of these questions? All we know is that he lied about wolves until no one believed him. And then a real wolf showed up and ate his dumb ass.

Despite being completely fictitious, the story of the boy who cried wolf is factually true.

If you're a bold-faced liar people will stop believing what you say, even when you're being honest. 

That's the truth behind the myth.

I just wish Kim Kardian would brush up on her mythology. Did you hear about her new "book?" It's made up entirely of selfies! From the article linked above:
Selfish [that's the title of the "book," by the way] is an insane project, a document of mind-blowing vanity and deranged perseverance. It’s also riveting. I can’t recommend it enough
I completely agree with the first part. Not sure I would recommend it, though.
This book, needless to say, does not have grand literary ambitions. It has no literary ambitions at all. It barely has words.
Hence why I put air quotes around the word "book."

But it's not just Kim. People everywhere are obsessed and I just can't wrap my head around it. It's a phenomena, a movement, an epidemic, I daresay.

I mean, we've got selfie-sticks, for Pete's sake. And that duck face? Please. Just stop.

Don't get me wrong: selfies have their time and place.

For instance, I'd rather take a selfie than ask some random shmuck to take a photo for me. You know how that always goes: dude stares at your camera/phone, mashes a few buttons, frowns uncertainly, then gives you a thumbs up to indicate the photo was a success.

The photo always ends up looking like this:

You should probably hire a professional for this...
Believe it or not, mythology can help us out of this predicament.

If the boy who cried wolf is about the pitfalls of chronic dishonesty, then the story of Narcissus speaks to the dangers of excessive self-love.

In other words, it's the perfect cautionary tale for the Selfie Generation.

Let's start from the beginning.

Narcissus was a hunter from the Greek city of Thespiae. He was the offspring of a river god and a nymph, which is probably why he was so damn sexy.

Apparently he looked like Adam Levine?
Seriously. His swag was on some next level shit and he was well aware of it. Dude was very full of himself. I figure he's like that guy all the girls swoon for until they realize he takes longer to get ready than they do.

So one day he was out doing his thing, you know, hunting and being dangerously handsome, when a nymph named Echo spotted him in the woods and instantly fell in love.

Narcissus sensed he was being stalked so he was like, "Hey, who's there?" and Echo was like, "Who's there? there? there?" Eventually the nymph revealed herself but she wasn't dime enough for Narcissus who was like, "I don't want no mediocre."

Poor nymph. She spent the rest of her life moping around the woods until she withered away and nothing remained of her but an echo (see what they did there?).

Luckily for Echo (echo, echo, echo) Nemesis, the goddess of revenge (take note, gentlemen: revenge is a goddess), was looking out for her.

Clever goddess! She lured Narcissus to a clear pool where he caught a glimpse of his own reflection. And because he was so self-absorbed, and also because he was so dreamy, Narcissus didn't realize he was looking at his own reflection.

In fact he didn't even know it was a reflection! He thought it was someone else, who, I suppose, just happened to be lying at the bottom of the lake.

I said he was handsome, not a genius. Give him a break.

He was like, "Oh my God, look at that face! You look like my next mistake."

"I'm not usually into the dudes, but I'm willing to make an exception..."
Narcissus fell in love with himself--or more accurately, with his own reflection. And when he finally realized what had happened, it was too late: his love was too real. And so, knowing he could never fulfill his desire to, well, be with himself, he decided to do the logical thing and end his life.

Let me knock a few questions out of the way here.

No, I don't think Kim K. is stupid enough to unknowingly fall in love with herself.

And no, I don't think self-love gone wild will cause you to commit suicide.

All I'm saying is narcissism always ends in tragedy. How can it be otherwise? You place all this importance on a perishable good! This meat-vehicle of yours has got 60 good years at best, and then it starts to spoil like old milk.

If you hang everything up on your looks and they start to go, what happens next?

Another cautionary tale...
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