May 2nd, 2021

wave

Status Anxiety...the need for "Like"s

We may not admit it, but the truth is that we all seek to be loved by the world. When we are babies, we are loved whether we burp or scream or break our toys. But as we grow up, we are suddenly thrown into a world where people judge us by our achievements or our status (rather than our mothers did.)

Hence our anxiety about how we are perceived. No human being is immune from this weakness. The ego (ahankAra, 'the I-maker') is a 'leaky balloon, forever requiring the helium of external love to remain inflated, and evervulnerable to the smallest pinpricks of neglect.'

There is something at once sobering and absurd in the extent to which we are lifted by the attentions of others and sunk by their disregard. Even great heroes like Yudishtira and Arjuna are guilty of this sort of vanity.

--Gurcharan Das, "The Difficulty of Being Good"

That encapsulates the trait of human beings which Facebook, Instagaram, and other social media address. The need to be "like"d. This is called the External Locus of Control, where we need to be validated by others.