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Selfie Absorbed: Are Selfies Making Us Mentally Ill?

Updated on October 3, 2017
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Alem is an Entrepreneur and Writer with an A.S. in Digital Film Making.

Nothing To See Here

Above is the cover of the NY Post from March 29, 2014. If you live outside of New York you may not know that there was a tragic explosion here a few days ago. Many innocent lives were lost. I believe it's safe to say that normal people would probably have a somber look on their faces if they passed this site, but more than a few idiots thought this to be a joyous occasion, one that required several big toothed selfies with the tragic site as a backdrop. Yes, I keep using the word tragic because I want to hammer home the fact that tragic and smiles usually only go together when you are speaking of The Joker from the Batman comics. In other words; only a psychopath would be smiling and posing in this situation.

I had this 'selfie' article idea a little while ago and kept putting it off, but after I witnessed this disgusting display of immorality I had to engage. THIS SELFIE CRAP HAS GONE TOO FAR. If you have been living off the grid for the last few years or actually have a life then you might not know what a selfie is. Let me explain;

SELFIE: a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.

If you've read some of my previous work you might think that I am a anti-technology person, that would be a fair assumption, but not totally true. I enjoy technology as much as the next man or women, but the negative lasting affects on our bodies (radiation) and minds are starting to concern me. So...come along for the ride as I do what many have been thinking about doing; go one on one against The Selfie.

Kim Who?

Kim Kardashian ain't got nothing on Lisa Gherardini or as she is more famously known; Mona Lisa. This has got to be the most famous selfie ever right? Well I don't know if it would be considered such because as far as I know she did not ask to have the picture painted, but instead was presented to be a model for Leonardo Da Vinci. You see back then to take a selfie someone would have to paint you while you sat or stood as still as you could for hours. I guess I can see a connection here. This is what some people hold onto as their argument for taking so many selfies. "What about Napoleon and other people from history, they took selfies too?". What I say to those people is, " okay so if you want to compare yourself to Napoleon, please tell me how many wars you've won or military powers you've conquered?"

You see we have a problem in today's society. Somewhere in the early 90's when reality television became popular, are fascination with celebrity hit a new high. Think about it, women always wanted to look like Marilyn Monroe and guys wanted to be as cool as James Dean, but as the years changed and technology opened up a whole new 'world' (wide web that is), things started to change. No longer did you want to look like your favorite musician or actor, but you wanted more. Now you wanted to have fans too, just like them.

On Twitter you 'follow' people on Facebook you 'like' people or things they do. You get 'tagged in' to cool events. Think about all these words. All of this crap is set up to appeal to the 'fan' or adolescent side of your psyche giving you a feeling of acceptance, and while I can understand young adults falling for this ploy, I don't condone so called 'grownups' playing along as well. Even though I understand older adults get to the point where they want to still feel connected to young society somehow, I think there's a fine line. I think this whole selfie thing could be warping our brains. But hey, don't just take my word for it...

A recent scientific study appearing in an issue of "Personality and Individual Differences" used data from a sample size of 1,000 men between 18-40 years old. After filling out personality questionnaires. Here's the results.

"Results showed that both narcissism and self-objectification were associated with spending more time on social networking sites, and with more photo-editing. Posting numerous selfies was related to both higher narcissism and psychopathy, controlling for the overall number of other types of photos posted."

I researched a few other such experiments and saw that most of the time men were used for these studies, you want to know why I think that is?

If you really sit down and think about this whole phenomenon it really isn't too surprising...for women that is. Women have always been very conscious of their looks and why not? After all women are biologically set up to find a mate and procreate, so are men. With men being visual creature why wouldn't it make sense for women to spend an hour in the bathroom getting ready or trying on a thousand pairs of shoes in a store?

I hate to sound like an old man, because I'm only in my early 30's, but when I was young guys only took selfies in order to meet women. When I was a teen AOL chat rooms were the big thing. You would meet someone in a chat room and then go off to the side for an instant message. Once you hit it off on the IM or sometimes in the chat room itself, one of you would ask the other to 'send pix'. Sometimes you might reply 'S2R' or 'send to receive' meaning that you would have to send your picture to them before they would send one to you. Now, of course men are still taking selfies for this reason, well the real men are. Others are taking these self pictures because..well they are confused. A lot of men are competing with women, and that's very strange and unusual to me. Or maybe I'm wrong.

Listen before you think I'm beating up on the guys and saying it's okay for women to be doing this crap let me remind you of the picture at the top of this page. Those are all females.

I've had a few women younger than me ask me for my number lately, I'm single and I have eyes so I give it some of them, however I'm always surprised at how quickly the conversation gets to..."So can you send me a pic?" or "do you video chat". Wait let me stop being so nice, I get this from women my age as well. Maybe guys are doing this because they have to. I've noticed that when you refuse or hesitate to cough up that picture, some of these women will move on, or if they don't like the picture you might be screwed too and not in the way you want.

Who knows who's to blame, maybe it's both sexes. Either way, man or women, in the next section I am going to provide my breakdown of the "Top 3 Reasons For Taking Excessive Selfies."

Papa Razzi Ain't Raise No Fool or Did He?

Let me be clear about something...

Unless you are a model, movie star, athlete, political figure, or just saved a car full of puppies that had the cure for cancer in their blood stream, there is no reason for the mass majority of people to care about what the hell you are wearing or doing all the time. I see people posting pictures online ranging from selfies on the toilet to pictures of their meals at The Cheesecake Factory. This hunger for attention and admiration has to be negatively affecting our brains, actually based on the studies I researched it definitely is. Regardless of my views on the subject, selfies will still be taken. So without further ado here are my "Top 3 Reasons For Taking Excessive Selfies". What would I call excessive you ask? I would say if you can't go one day without taking a selfie, that's excessive. It's like drinking alcohol. If you can't go one day without a taste you have a problem. Based on where you fit in on this list you may be a good person with a small addiction or as nutty as The Joker.

Top 3 Reasons For Taking Excessive Selfies

  1. You Want To Get Laid - Believe it or not this is probably the most normal reason for excessive selfies. Like I always say we are biologically coded to reproduce, so why wouldn't you use any means necessary to have sex with the perfect mate of your choosing. Don't be fooled by the guy or girl who tells you that they only post shirtless or form fitting clothing pics just because. They aren't doing 1000 sit-ups and a few sets before they snap that picture just because. They aren't just trying to get more likes or followers (although that could also be a goal). Even if you are trying to get more people to your page so you can make more money, more money is just going to equal better looking mates for you to get busy with. At the core of the reasoning is S-E-X.
  2. You Want To Motivate Yourself Or Others - If you are wondering why I didn't think this was the most normal reason it's because deep down most people who think they are over doing it with the selfies in order to motivate are usually just trying to get attention or they start out really just wanting to motivate, then people inflate their egos. With that being said there are decent people out there who are truly doing this just to motivate themselves or others. Unfortunately there are very few of these people in my opinion.
  3. You Are A Psycopath - For this one I am just going to give you definitions from Wikipedia and you can take it from there;


  • Boldness. Low fear including stress-tolerance, toleration of unfamiliarity and danger, and high self-confidenceand social assertiveness.
  • Disinhibition. Poor impulse control including problems with planning and foresight, lacking affect and urge control, demand for immediate gratification, and poor behavioral restraints.
  • Meanness. Lacking empathy and close attachments with others, disdain of close attachments, use of cruelty to gain empowerment, exploitative tendencies, defiance of authority, and destructive excitement seeking.

Enter The Dragon: Illusions or Delusions

There is an epic scene in the classic movie "Enter The Dragon" where the star, Bruce Lee fights inside a house of mirrors. I use this reference here because it is so fitting.

While I was in Film School we watched this movie and afterwards had to analyse it. The Professor would pick certain parts of the movie and were would discuss what we thought the story was behind the frames. You see movies have meanings beyond meanings, at least the good ones do. Often the films that receive Academy Awards are the ones that have many layers, like an onion. For this particular scene there are many different views.

Experts say that Bruce was so in love with himself and his body that he always found an excuse to take his shirt off, so being in a house of mirrors was the ultimate self gratification. Nice one. If you do the research you will find out that Bruce was indeed very confident in his appearance, which brings us to another view.

Bruce Lee was always willing to teach anyone everything he knew. In fact some say that his death was not a mistake. Some believe he was murdered by those who originally influenced his style of fighting (Jeet Kune Do). Supposedly the fighting style had many secrets that were not to be revealed to outsiders. Maybe his shirt being off and him being in a house of mirrors was his way of showing you his vulnerability as he struggled with himself to find a common balance between loyalty and generosity.

Last, but not least we look at ourselves.

There is a scene in the movie where Bruce is selected to fight an opponent. When the opponent named O'Hara is revealed we see a mean looking guy who not only has a scary looking scar on his eye, but stands about a foot taller and 30 Lbs bigger than Lee. Everyone looks on as the tension builds. If you didn't know who Bruce Lee was you would assume he was about to get slaughtered, especially when the guy holds a wooden board in one hand and breaks it with a punch from his other. After the punch Bruce doesn't flinch and in a clam, cool, passive aggressive manner of speaking Mr. Lee says to him, "Boards don't hit back'. Of course David (Bruce Lee) defeats Goliath (O'Hara) and at this point you start to get the feeling that more is going on here. Bruce Lee is trying to tell you that no matter how different you are, no matter how many cards are stacked against you, if you stay true to yourself you can defeat anything. Whoa!

This is all great stuff I know, but I have one more nugget to leave you with. In the final scene in the house of mirrors a bloody and beaten Bruce Lee leans up against a mirror while the voice of one of his teachers speaks out to him.

''Remember, the enemy has only images and illusions behind which he hides his true motives; destroy the image and you will break the enemy''

Which Bruce Lee are you?

Enter The Dragon - Fight With O'Hara

Bruce Lee 'Enter The Dragon' - Destroy The Image

Films Mentioned

Enter the Dragon (1973)
Enter the Dragon (1973)
Recruited by intelligence agency, outstanding martial arts student Bruce Lee participates in brutal karate tournament hosted by Han.


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