Persona and Shadow - The Technological Face
Even if the most primitive superiority concepts, such as physical strength, have already been left
behind in the technological age - where almost everything is at a finger-stroke away from the digital
screen - in the end, prejudices are still deeply ingrained in our culture. The minorities continue to exist
and women are still considered an existence of second or third rate in many countries.
On the other hand, some old values have never been so much valued like power and beauty.
Self-esteem and self-confidence – be it natural or fabricated at plastic surgery operating rooms or
trough illicit enrichment – are important at the construction of a personal and social Persona capable of
guaranteeing a placement in the world. After all, even if through Photoshop corrections, being perfect
in the virtual world sometimes is considered enough, and interpersonal relationships are being
overshadowed and consequently less interesting than those shown at the shiny screens of computers,
tablets and smartphones. Facebook is one of the greatest cultural phenomenons of recent times. The
practicability of having a camera integrated to smartphones has allowed for a multitude of pictures as it
has never been seen before, among them the “selfies” that were even present at the last Oscar award.
The digital photograph and the Facebook are the new Narcissus’ mirror but can also be the new
Medusa’s mirror. After all, when we try to show all our own success, beauty, intelligence and culture,
we are also exposing our own Shadows, complexes and wounds. Facebook then becomes a great source of analytical material to whoever is willing to use it as a tool for such.
The need to be seen and recognized, and consequently loved, is the most primitive psychological need that we experience. A new born baby does not survive without the careful look of a mother or caretaker.1 And we continue to search this gaze for our whole lives, be it in healthy relationships, or in the excessive and unnecessary exposition caused by our own traumas and complexes, vanities and need of acceptance. The internet and relationship sites are, without question, a form of social inclusion treated many times in a unilateral way when only compared to the myth of Narcissus. I believe the phenomenon is much more intense, with more extent and depth, and that narcissism is just one of the possible approaches.
The gaze of another is the most primitive form of social relationship. Through the eyes of the
mother, the baby recognizes himself as an individual, he feels loved or rejected, and the quality and
quantity of the received love is perceived by the other through the gaze, making it a determinant factor
in the structuring of the future personality. Through seeing and being seen, by the way the eyes meet,
express themselves and are decoded, they establish the possibility of approach or retreat, of creative
interplay or of the constellation of complexes and psychological defenses.
The gaze of another continues to be factored in the structuring of the personality throughout
life, as it is usually the first form of personal contact. Many forms of evaluation and judgment, positive
or negative projections, establish themselves quickly and being able to look at others without evaluating them has been one of the greatest challenges in the construction of the psychological knowledge. In this sense, social networks play the same role. We accept, reject and judge the other by what is shown at social networks. We even think we are capable of showing our best side, the characteristics we judge capable of making ourselves loved. The Shadow is always present, the more we build our technological Persona, the more we supply the material that allows others to see our Shadow.
Persona and Shadow also have a technological face!
(This article is part of an unpublished one)
Solange Bertolotto Schneider
(All rights reserved)