38″ x 53″
“I know that I exist; the question is, what is this ‘I’ that I know?”
—Rene Descartes, 1641
“What mistrusts itself, deserves mistrust.”
—William James, 1909
“The Greek myth of Narcisssus is directly concerned with a fact of human experience, as the word Narcissus indicates. It is from the Greek word narcosis, or numbness. The youth Narcissus mistook his own reflection in the water for another person.
This extension of himself by mirror numbed his perceptions until he became the servomechannism of his own extended or repeated image… He was numb. He had adpated to his extension of himself and had become a closed system. Now the point of
this myth is the fact that men at once become fascinated by any extension of themselves in any material other than themselves.”
—Marshall McLuhan, 1964
After John William Waterhouse’s 1903 oil painting Echo and Narcissus, 43″ x 74″
Seduced by the medium like the myth, the contemporary individual potentially spends endless hours entranced as inauthentic autobiographer.
Each revisionist social-media interaction is the echo of a frozen Narcissus: the digital materialization of another projected ego-construct.