The selfie culture, as it is elevatingly called — the universal youth vanity obsession with taking endless photographs of oneself and spewing them indiscriminately throughout the cosmos — is a perfect emblem of the endtimes. It is our species’ final surrender to the fate of absolute self-annihilation, which is to say pure non-existence.

The most obscure wisdom from the fog of philosophic antiquity is the insight that since our world of experience is an effluence or emanation from the One — the true and original being, uniform and ubiquitous — it follows, according to the Pythagoreans among others, that since we ourselves, qua composite beings, are mere multiplications or replicas of the One, we must be cautious about producing further multiplications and replicas, lest we contribute unnecessarily to the continual diluting of the mind’s true and proper object of apprehension and contemplation. In other words, the best human life is a determined struggle to carve a path through the obscuring forest of proximal images and endless sensations in which we are born, in an effort to access a brief window to the intellect’s remotest, but truest and most natural, object, namely existence itself in its undivided purity, i.e., ourselves beyond the diluting effects of material replication and temporal self-absorption.

To forget this natural directionality of our species is to lose ourselves qua thinking beings — that is, to lose Being itself — in our forest of immediacy, to become trapped forever in the labyrinth of the present. And how would such a labyrinth be defined? Perhaps as an ever- and exponentially-multiplying array of replicated human materiality, divested of every last sliver of eternal essence; an endless effluence of inarticulate and superficial “Me”s that by their sheer unceasing flow of dumb display weave an impenetrable web of purposeless Nowness — the vanity of milliseconds puffing themselves up as ersatz eons — beyond which nothing, not even a hint of a thing, can even be imagined any longer. 

“Look at me!” — the public scream of our end stage modernity — is the pathetic exclamation of a fading species that has lost the instinct, let alone the wisdom, to whisper, “Know thyself.”

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