Selfie vs. selfless
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
April 5, 2014
I was not surprised at all
when I recently read somewhere that this selfie craze that seems to be
sweeping the world these days, especially in our country, is an
indication of a mental disorder.
I imagine that the practice
really has to be an obsession for it to be a serious anomaly. If it’s
just a passing curiosity or done merely for momentary fun, then there
is not much to worry.
But the problem is that data
on the ground point precisely to an obsessive craving for selfies as
can be found in the social networks. Take a random look at these
sites, and you will likely see a proliferation of these pictures that
range from the inane and childish to the outright ridiculous and even
It may not be a big thing
yet of crisis proportion, but if nothing is done about it, I’m afraid
we are heading in that direction. We need to remind everyone that this
fad that is fast becoming a psychological syndrome ought to be
approached with a lot of caution.
It’s time to wave the flag
of the virtue of temperance. Contrary to what some people say, and
subtly supported by many commercials, this virtue has not become
obsolete. It, in fact, has become more relevant, and even in an urgent
manner, because of the storm surge of powerful instruments that can
occasion this problem.
I believe this selfie
syndrome is graver than smoking and drinking about which we always
warn everyone to do them with moderation since they can be harmful to
our health. This selfie syndrome is graver since it affects more our
mental and spiritual health than our bodily well-being.
We have to be wary of the
growing industry that promotes this culture, providing powerful and
seemingly irresistible programs, apps and gadgets. They appear to do
more harm than good since they are likely to lead people, the young
ones especially, to self-indulgence and narcissism.
This selfie syndrome
practically imprisons one in his own world, making him increasingly
indifferent to the needs of others. It actually is destructive to our
social relations. Group selfies are not genuinely social, since each
member of the group would be more concerned about his own
individualistic interest than that of the group.
The wings of love, of
generosity, loyalty and fidelity are practically cut if not damaged.
One tends to stay in the level of mediocrity and to become more
vulnerable to other human weaknesses and temptations when he is
afflicted with this selfie syndrome. The value of sacrifice
The challenge of effectively
tackling this problem is quite enormous, because we have to contend
with complicated mindsets and lifestyles that practically prohibit
anyone from correcting anybody else or even from suggesting a better
way of using one’s time and resources.
These mindsets and
lifestyles have been with us for centuries now, cultivated under the
atmosphere of laxity in Christian and even basic human morals, on the
one hand, and of a growing tendency to justify one’s behavior using
liberal and loose philosophies and ideologies, part of the culture of
death, on the other hand.
What we have is a situation
of a sweet poison that is mesmerizing us, leading us to a slow
Obviously in this regard,
while we have to use all human and natural means to remedy the
predicament, we also have to realize that we need to avail of the
spiritual and supernatural means, first of all. Yes, we need a lot of
prayers, sacrifice, personal guidance and collective forms of
These are very effective
means, since what we are ranged against are not just natural nemesis,
but spiritual and also supernatural, though definitely of the bad
Again, the family and the
schools play a very crucial role in this. Most of all, the doctrine of
self-denial and of carrying one’s cross, as explicitly taught by
Christ, should be retailed more widely and effectively.
Remember that Christ himself
said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take
up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16,24) He reassured us this is
actually the way to save our life, to find true and lasting joy.
We should rather foster a
culture of self-forgetfulness, of total selflessness, since as Christ
said, “He who loses his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mt 16,25)
Let’s hope that this divine
message is spread and lived in the family, schools, among friends and
colleagues, and in our collective life of politics, business, etc.