In 2004, I wrote an op-ed that ended with this statement about the Pulitzer-prizewinning cartoonist Art Spiegelman: "He has banned himself from watching television – it makes him too angry." It is a sentence that recently has come to mind rather often and needs to be extended – I feel it should include all media as well as all other vanity platforms, from politics to the theatre, from sports to literature. I find it depressing to take note of all these egos being celebrated.
Arthur Schopenhauer opined that old age teaches us that all our human undertakings are basically nothing but a display of vanity – and this is precisely what I increasingly experience. All these performers make me wanna throw up ... In my view, people who depend on what others think of them shouldn't be trusted, shouldn't be listened to, and shouldn't be respected.
Photography has taught me that what we see in a picture we bring to it. Exposing myself to the media has however also taught me that to listen to what approval seeking men and women say is an exercise in distraction. A distraction from what? From enjoying the miracle of the wind, the sun, the rain.
Sure enough, the mantra of Me, Myself, and I is nothing new. Also, that man is driven by his ego, we find not only normal but healthy. I think, I believe, I doubt – in all of the three an ego is required. Likewise for I am right, I am mistaken, I failed miserably. Whether something is judged good or bad, the judging is done by somebody with an ego. Most do not doubt this ego, the Buddhists however do – they believe there is no such thing.
It is madness to imagine that there are millions of galaxies and then to act as if we were the masters of the universe. Strangely enough, we think this to be an expression of a sound mental state. Well, we are nuts, all of us. But there are also the ones who are bit more nuts that the rest of us – the ones who take themselves seriously.