To ourselves, we each ask the question: “who am I?”
This is an important topic to our feeble human minds, and much of our lives so far has been spent attempting to “find” ourselves, as if there is some tangible self that is hiding inside of us, waiting to be uncovered. While there might not be a deeper self waiting to be uncovered, there is still a current self hoping to be understood.
The self is a complex, multi-layered concept. There is the internal self and the external self. Our internal self is comprised of thinking and feeling, and recognizing thinking and feeling. But when we recognize that we think and feel, we introduce a new layer, which we can never completely comprehend, as each new layer introduces an additional new layer. The internal self is recursive and infinite. Because of this, we can never completely understand our internal selves.
By attempting to understand ourselves internally, we become over-complicated and impossible to pinpoint. As a result we cannot truly comprehend the whole of the self without a radical simplification of the nature of the self.
The self we can understand is the one that is seen by others; to understand the self, we must move our vantage point outside of the mind, keeping our thoughts in mind. Because the perception of our perceivers generates the external self, we must perceive ourselves from the external lens. But we must also keep the most shallow layer (i.e. the layer of least recursion) of our own internal self in mind, so that we pass judgement onto our external self via our own ideals. The most comprehensible and authentic portrayal of the self is viewing ourselves externally, while simultaneously processing ourselves through the same means as we generally tend to.
Throughout human history, there has never been a better time to understand the self: we have easily accessible means to see ourselves as others do. We have unprecedented internal and external reflection ability. The selfie.
In the process of creating a selfie, we separate from ourselves for a brief moment to recognize as what we appear to the others, calibrate ever so slightly to how we are on the inside, and return our mind to the inside of the head.
To maintain a healthy relationship with one’s self, it is crucial to regularly check in for a quick photo.