Eckhart Tolle on the self in the age of the selfie

Arianna Huffington:
How much harder is it to find the authentic self in the age of the selfie?
Eckhart Tolle: There’s always been, of course, people construct for themselves a self image and then live through that self image, which consists of stories that you tell yourself about who you are, which starts with your parents, what your parents tell you who you are, and you adopt those stories and what society tells you, or you counteract what society says and you develop your own stories. So gradually a self image develops in people’s minds. So there’s a loss of authenticity. So they live through a self image instead of being themselves. And Facebook can actually magnify that particular dysfunction. Because in Facebook you actually construct for yourself an image. And most of the people have — it’s a fiction that they create for Facebook. And everybody thinks that the fiction they see on Facebook of other people, “That’s their real lives and I’m the only one that’s the unhappy one.” “Look at where he is, he’s having this wonderful meal,” so you get a picture of the plate. “I’m in this and that restaurant.” “Wow.” And then you get the comments: “Cool!” “It’s great!” And then, “I just bought this thing,” and then “Wow,” you get the comments. And then you think, “Oh, I haven’t bought anything in two weeks.” But what you don’t realize is these people unconsciously create a fictional image, which people have always done, but here it gets even magnified because there you have the Facebook page and everybody creates the fictional image. So, it’s very seductive and can be — I’m not saying don’t use Facebook. Do you use Facebook? [laughs]

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