Freud and others believed a reasonable amount of healthy narcissism allowed an individual's perception of his needs to be balanced in relation to others. Marked by the rise of celebrity culture, the destruction of tradition, the devaluation of ordinary skills and families in our modern society - advertisers today know that consumers (i.e. “YOU”) obsessively focus on “the realization of the self".
This cult of “me” is ironically fueled by "personalization." Web 2.0 personalizes culture so that it reflects ourselves rather than the world around us. Blogs personalize media content so that all we read are our own thoughts. Online stores personalize our preferences, thus feeding back to us our own taste. Google personalizes searches so that all we see are advertisements for products and services we already use. Whether Yahoo’s "It's y!ou", to “mySAP” to the “iPad” to T-Mobile’s “myTouch’s - 100% you," --it seems like you’re getting "you-ed" everywhere today.
The shear irony therefore in multiple advertisers attempting to target millions of people with messages about their individuality, makes you realize just how uninspired we all must be. Society itself seems to have used up its store of constructive ideas. Moreover, we seem to have lost both the capacity and the will to confront the difficulties that threaten to overwhelm us. Today we are commentators and pedestrians in a state of somnambulism – seemingly oblivious to the fact that we have become both politically and intellectually bankrupt.
Isn’t it time we rediscovered our sense of civic obligation?