Look at Me; Look at Me!

Look at Me; Look at Me!

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

http://www.flickr.com/photos/narayanaforus/2274598167/

When you were little and did something you were proud of you probably yelled “look at me; look at me” to your parents or whomever was there.

These days the desire to be noticed doesn’t stop as people age, it merely moves to social media.

People have taken to putting themselves out there in all kinds of ways, producing — in words, pictures, videos — the shared stories of their lives as they are transpiring. They disseminate their thoughts and deeds, large and small (sometimes very small), in what can seem like a perpetual plea for attention.

They do it because their friends do; to raise their Klout score; to prove they matter.

The desire to matter is ancient, probably all the way back to our caveman ancestors, but it was the Greeks who named it—kleos.

Kleos lay very near the core of the Greek value system. Their value system was at least partly motivated, as perhaps all value systems are partly motivated, by the human need to feel as if our lives matter.

The difference between the Greeks’ idea of kleos and our current focus on klout is the difference between internal and external.

Mattering wasn’t acquired by gathering attention of any kind, mortal or immortal. Acquiring mattering was something people had to do for themselves, cultivating such virtuous qualities of character as justice and wisdom. They had to put their own souls in order. This demands hard work, since simply to understand the nature of justice and wisdom, which is the first order of business, taxes our limits, not to speak of then acting on our conclusions.

Of course, that kind of deep thinking is out of favor these days, since it doesn’t provide instant gratification or lend itself to shouting ‘look at me’.

Flickr image credit: Pat

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