The Importance of Being (Un) Seen

Mood: thoughtful

Google searches: Maldoror Diplomatic Relations (fav fanfic)

Stress: as close to none as I know.

Today, I ruminate on being seen.

As humans, we place enormous importance on it. Being seen and judged positively against the norms of society is crucially important; even more importantly, we want to connect to one another and be witnessed. Having relationships, being vulnerable with others – all that constructs a realm, beyond which emotional poverty becomes a threat. To not be seen equals loneliness, something that we try to combat at all times, and indeed, we are likely seen at almost all times.

I’ve been re-reading Michael Foley’s Age of Absurdity, which I mentioned in my library note. He argues that our ubiquitous connectedness robs us of ability to be present within ourselves. He therefore champions for nourishment of the Secret Self: alone time, spent without devices, in meditation, rumination, exercise.

So much of it rings true. Time alone isn’t time alone if Facebook is involved. The rush of being connected via social media may turn out to be premature: we’re connected to many people at once, but how many of these connections enable true vulnerability, baring of souls? And of course, we need to cultivate souls – secret selves – to bare, first.

Social media have their place. We have the power to choose how to share ourselves with others. But I firmly believe in occasional holidays from being seen. As an artist, I have a strong need to share myself with others, but to do that, I need that Secret Self, as opposed (or in addition) to a selfie. 🙂

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