EricN
EricN

Selfie and the Mask

I could spend pages on tangents, addressing our personal liberties, our right to assembly, the reluctance to be guided by experts, and the doubts we possess of this vastly complex phenomena. But before debating these topics, we must sit at the same table – and regard each other’s welfare.

 

August 2, 2020

 

Back when I was in college in the 70’s the term “narcissism” wasn’t often heard. We used more common terms such as “individualism” or simply “selfishness.” We inherited the phrase “Do your own thing.” But, alas, that was before the days of the “selfie.” And the word “narcissism” seems to come up more and more often. The selfie has enshrined in cyberspace our altar to self-obsession.

 

 

Granted – taking a picture of yourself is not exactly obsession. But doing it over and over again? You can only begin to wonder.

 

Like any psychosis, our behavioral attributes are all commonly shared to some degree. But some attributes emerge more than others. Some attributes are latent, others distinct. Narcissism is no exception.

 

I stumbled across this subject while entering thoughts in my journal regarding Faith. Alas, that essay remains incomplete – probably because Faith is a journey. But how I have responded to the pandemic is very much centered in my Faith. That is why it is capitalized. It is not trivial or peripheral. It is central. It shapes my world view and determines my response to people and life events.

 

I found it fascinating that some of the most anti-mask, anti-lockdown views are expressed by people who presumably follow a man who thought it essential that we consider others more than ourselves. Jesus was, in essence, the anti-narcissist. I have two Facebook pages (one personal and the other my “author” page) and in each I have followed threads of discussion that parallel what I hear from about town. While most are willing to wear masks without complaint, there are some that think otherwise. When I hear people discuss the matter of not wearing masks, the word “I” seems central. Ironic, being that the purpose of wearing masks is to protect “others.” Ironic, that the one who said “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is strangely forgotten when those who follow Him behave in a manner that would put another at risk.

 

What is central to your thinking is important. It is the starting point. When I hear people say “it is my right” or “it is constitutionally protected,” what I see is good old American individualism. I love individualism. It is what makes us so unique in this world. It shapes our economy and our politics. I don’t disparage it. But I do recognize it as a problem when individualism puts at risk the broader community. So when I hear a fellow believer in Jesus Christ insist on his freedom to not wear a mask based on their “rights”, then it must be stated that on this particular issue of wearing masks, what the “self” wants the “self” gets. How “others” are affected is irrelevant.

 

And that is the power of a philosophy. And that philosophy is narcissism.

 

As I stated above, what is central to your way of thinking is important. For those who do not want to wear masks, they have chosen their personal perspective of the pandemic over that of the rest of the community. What they think is the starting point.

 

To conclude, I travel through the headlines in Drudge Report. What I see is the tragic consequence of a public gathering that, in many respects, appeared to abide by guidelines. But wearing a mask was left to the individual. Forty people have been infected so far. Then there is the case of an NBA basketball player who not only lied to his employer, but deliberately violated the guidelines that protect himself, his teammates and all the other players in the league. He did that so he could see women bare it all at a strip club (whether they were wearing masks was not reported). And then there is the story of Michigan coming unglued over a strip of cloth which resurrects the fundamental pretext of a functioning democracy, that a people who expect to govern must first govern themselves.

 

I could spend pages on tangents, addressing our personal liberties, our right to assembly, the reluctance to be guided by experts, and the doubts we possess of this vastly complex phenomena. But before debating these topics, we must sit at the same table – and regard each other’s welfare.

 

Resources:

Google Trends

Pastor: 40 infected with coronavirus after church event, ABC News

Rage unmasked: How a piece of cloth has America going mad, Detroit Free Press

NBA Investigating Lou Williams’ Strip Club Trip Despite Quarantine Rules, Breitbart

 

By Eric Niewoehner

© Copyright 2019,2020 to Eric Niewoehner. Use of this document is provided at no cost as long as the recipient does not replicate this document for profit.

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