Marketing of the self. Aren’t we taught to do that pretty early on in life? You gotta stand out or you’ll be forgotten, right? You better promote or you will never be successful, right?
I believe there is a double bind around all of this in modern societies. The human tendency to self cherish is the main dish of our existence. Humans have been eating it up, probably since the beginning of our species. In addition to the main dish is a set of side dishes called consumerism, capitalism, and commodification. Ever seductive, they add endless flavors and textures onto the main dish. I suppose it might be the case that plain old self cherishing gets kind of dull after awhile. It’s so much more exciting to be the hot, new product on the block. Or the respected, reliable old one.
The pressure to be a product is damn strong, so much so that even our social leaders and spiritual teachers are falling for it in droves. Being a person with some wisdom mixed with a bag full of delusion doesn’t feel good enough. Being a person who needs to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom is too average looking. Being a person who is articulate one minute, and has nothing helpful to say the next just doesn’t cut it. And so, we end up with leaders who have trademarks at the end of their names. Leaders who spew endless amounts of flowery, highfalutin, but ultimately meaningless language. Leaders who market themselves as healers, and then end up abusing the hell out of anyone who gets close to them. Leaders who claim to have a vision for the betterment of us all, but end up working entirely for the well connected and wealthy few.
It is any wonder that there’s so much suffering? It is any wonder that so many of us are so confused in this life?
Self Love Tattoo by artnoose via Flickr Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.