Noah denkt™ - The Power of Balanced Reasoning
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I am being filmed therefore I am
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on the pervasiveness of cameras, first drafted on Nov. 12,
published on Nov. 13, 2014
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    Everyone's a cameraman now – VanDyke happens to be a very good one – but while Curry gets his subject to
    admit that he's trying to reinvent his self-image via a digital lens, the same can be said for just about everyone in
    today's global village. Where a film camera was once seen as an intrusion in the theater of war, the U.S.
    servicemen whom VanDyke befriends rehearse the kicking in of a door before they let him start shooting. In
    several war scenes, the cameras outnumber the guns. VanDyke is on a personal journey, but he reflects a kind of
    mass hysteria regarding the ability of the lens to not just record reality but reshape it.
    John Anderson: Why Marshall Curry's 'Point and Shoot' Is Due For a Hollywood Remake


Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): Marshall Curry’s documentary “Point and Shoot” relates the story
of Matt VanDyke’s transformation from a privileged childhood in Baltimore to a revolutionary fighter in Libya.
The documentary features several battle scenes where insurgents are proud to demonstrate their macho
warrior skills in front of TV and cell phone cameras. In fact, the point is made that occasionally more cameras
than arms are being directed at battlefield protagonists. The reason for that apparently is the warriors desire to
create a cool image of and for themselves. Now, given the fact that it is hard to imagine that there could be a
higher priority in a war theater than to fight the enemy and protect your own well-being, it is hard to understand
why fighters seem to be so obsessed with their
narcissistic desire to create stylish images of themselves. What’
s going on here? And what lessons do we need to draw from this for the social reality in the digital age?

Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): Well, first of all, it’s probably safe to assume that not all activity in a war theater
is combat-related. Occasionally, fighters will have a down-time where their main objective is to release tension
and stress. Satisfying their narcissistic desire for creating macho images of themselves may therefore be just
another way of coping with an otherwise abominable situation.

AE:  So you don’t consider this to be weird?

Nd: We don’t see it as extremely weird. After all, it cannot be denied that people have for ever been taking
photos of themselves be it with their hunting trophies, their new cars or
their latest cool sunglasses. So,
narcissism really isn't anything new.

AE: Never before though have cameras so consistently outnumbered the quantity of arms there were present
in a battlefield situation. Surely that must say something about the degree in which the digital society is currying
favor to narcissistic needs?

Nd: True, it has never been as important as it is to today to be perceived as cool or to be the center of
attention. In fact, one could well argue that one’s entire professional success depends a lot on the ability to
create an appealing image of oneself. Nevertheless, we shouldn't fool ourselves into believing that such
tendencies are altogether new. People at all times, be they accountants, doctors or union leaders have always
tried to model themselves against a standard cliché that in their mind captured the essence of their respective
trade.

AE: And yet the common man of yesteryear wouldn't have dreamt about spending the few minimum wage bucks
he somehow earned on a rock star tattoo which would make him look good in the upcoming casting show. Or,
to put it differently, no one would have ever believed that the old Descartes saying (“cogito ergo sum”) could
one day be replaced by the “I am being filmed hence I am alive”-motto?

Nd: Well, clearly we are more self-obsessed nowadays than we probably would have been had we been born
decades earlier. But it wasn't our choices to grow up in the present technological reality. So, instead of feeling
bad about our clear and present narcissism we should try to make constructive use of it in order to do the right
thing.
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Keywords:

pervasiveness of digital cameras, omnipresence of cameras, narcissistic desire
to be filmed, narcissistic need to get in front of a camera, creative narcissism,
more cameras than arms in a battlefield, I am being filmed therefore I am alive