Why Do We Take Selfies?

 In College Life, Social Skills

With the introduction to front facing cameras and smart-phones, the self portrait or selfie has started an incredibly popular trend in which millions of self photos are taken daily. But why do we take selfies you ask? Well neuroscientist Joshua Sarinana explains.

Selfie Origins: Selfies Are Ancienttake selfies

Dated back to the 10th century England, the selfie was created by St. Dunstan Archbishop of Canterbury who made a self-portrait of himself worshipping the Lord Jesus. This was done 1,200 years well before the invention of the camera. A self portrait in today’s world is simply called the selfie, and without the need for long exposure film or elaborate paintings, a selfie can be taken on a mobile phone and then transformed into a global image via social media.

Modern Philosophy: Our Ability To Function and Selfies

What sets us apart from other species on earth is the human consciousness and the idea of thinking about thinking, which is what Western philosophy is based from. Rene Descartes, the French thinker, explored the idea of awareness to our own existence and then turned the simple phrase of “I think, therefore I am” famous.

Jean-Paul Sartre, a fellow French philosopher, noted in the 1930s that as conscious beings, we are aware of an unpredictable future. Because of this it causes great anxiety about the uncertainty, and the very state of being conscious and alive continuously makes us anxious because of the fact that we can’t control the future and maybe anything else as well.

What Can We Control?

Although only pixel deep, the selfie is a way for us to have a sense of self and preserve it. A selfie is like a mirror in a way, and shows us our image for the whole world to see as we would like to be seen. They also help to safeguard against the fear of losing the control over our lives and minds. As it turns out, a selfie is one of the natural instincts to help reduce anxiety.


TALK English Schools is giving upcoming students the chance to win an iPad Mini with our new online competition! For your chance to win all you have to do is like our TALK Facebook page and upload your very own selfie picture with the hash tag #summerselfie. Competition runs between 4th of July to August 22nd so hurry and be quick to enter!

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