With more data stored from one day’s selfies than all the world’s books, many have dismissed Generation Selfie as superficial and vain. Yet creative genius has often been linked to narcissism – Dali once quipped there was no greater joy than waking up as himself. Could focusing on ourselves rather than others be a route to happiness and success? Or is an obsession with ourselves damaging to social cohesion and a likely route to personal misery?
Philosopher Christopher Hamilton hosts an interdisciplinary lineup, including Guardian columnist Tim Dowling, Cosmopolitan’s UK Associate Editor Amy Grier, Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn and Instagram influencer Doll Pvssy Cat, to consider whether narcissism has become a defining (and dangerous) trait of modern culture.
This video was produced by The Institute of Art and Ideas and is republished here with permission. It was filmed at their event The Self and the Selfie in March 2018. Tickets for their annual philosophy festival HowTheLightGetsIn, featuring Noam Chomsky, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Julian Baggini , Amie L. Thomasson and many others, are available here.