There is a story from Greek Mythology about a young hunter called Narcissus. He was the son of a river-god named Cephissus and a nymph named Liriope. He was known far and wide for his beauty.
Many loved Narcissus, but he returned the love of none. He was proud and vain and thought that there was no one worthy of him.
As he was walking in the forest, Echo, a lovely mountain nymph saw him and immediately fell in love with him. But he did not return her love and rejected her.
She was heartbroken and wandered dejectedly until she faded away. Finally, only an echo of her was left.
Nemesis, the goddess of revenge was angered after hearing of Echo’s fate and decided to punish Narcissus.
She lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection. Not realizing that it was his own reflection that entranced him, he fell in love with it. He was unable to leave, but grew frustrated when his love was not returned.
Eventually he died of grief. His body disappeared and on that spot grew a flower.
Today is the age of “Selfies”.
I am reminded of the story of Narcissus when I see someone clicking a “selfie”.
Anywhere we go, there is bound to be someone with their cellphone held in front of them, taking a “selfie”. Laughing, smiling, making funny faces, frowning, giggling, recording their most trivial activity on their cell phone is becoming a favourite activity for many.
One takes self-pics and admires them. But where is the fun in doing just that?
Of course, these pics must be sent immediately to one’s friends, relatives, colleagues, even casual acquaintances, so they can join in the admiration party!
I wonder if everyone who sent a 😀 as a response has even looked at the picture! Or has sending such a response become a reflex act now?
Clicking selfies may appear to be a harmless pastime, but that is not always the case.
I remember reading about a shocking incident which took place in Kerala, a couple of months ago.
“A 15-year-old, identified as Edwin, son of Chiyyaram Pulikkottil Vincent, was instantly killed by a speeding train while posing for a selfie on the track.
Edwin apparently wanted to have a selfie with an approaching train in the background to post on social media.”
Such a sad and pointless end to a young life!
Perhaps it would be more fruitful to turn the cellphone around and capture pics, not of ourselves, but of our surroundings?
Perhaps we should come out of our insular circle of ‘I, me and myself’?
“No man is an island”
-that is what John Donne wrote.
“No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”
Perhaps it’s time we took our gaze off ourselves? Time we looked around us and observed and considered the society that we are a part of. Time we considered the people that make up our society.
What do you think?