I just re-read my copy of “Understanding Media” by Marshall McLuhan and stumbled upon the Gadget chapter which opened with the discussion about Narcissus.

Note: For those who are calling themselves a “media expert” and had not read the book yet, do the world a favor and read it, please? Of course to become a media expert you need more than just one book, right? 1.5 years of formal graduate school sounds reasonable? We’ll talk about it later. Back to topic.

I don’t know if this only happened in Indonesia but I know some people who consider themselves as “narcist” just because they love themselves more than anybody else or simply love themselves and think themselves gorgeous or great. Sorry to bring a bad news for them but they are using a wrong term. If you read the Narcissus legend, you will know that Narcissus never fall in love with himself. He was falling in love with his reflection. That’s it, the reflection. According to McLuhan, some cynics even stated that we, human, are falling in love to someone because that particular someone is somehow reflecting ourselves in their presence. I might go as far as saying that it is not just ‘reflection’, it is more like ‘projection’. We project ourselves into the world and when we see someone with that projection beaming out from them, we are falling in love. Why ‘projection’? Because ‘reflection’ is misleading us to believe in ‘exact copy’. But it was not a copy, it was something else and it maybe someone that we want us to be but instead be that someone, we choose to be with that someone. This also explain the strange phenomena of “opposite attract”.

A mirror is an extension of our being. It create a world outside ourselves. Human beings are so simple, we always have extensions when we communicate with the world. The examples are clothes, cars, houses and even attitude. Those are vehicles of our being to communicate with the world outside our own. The Internet is the latest extension of human as a being and I dare to say that it evolve us into a different level. Some might say it revolve us, but I wouldn’t go that far. This new extension creates another level of discourse, discussion and even culture.

So, do you think “narcist” is the right term now? I think not, maybe we should invent a new term for this thing… But now you know that no matter how much you think you are gorgeous, handsome or great, you are not a “narcist” but if you love someone and that someone is somehow your projection to the world then called yourself “narcist”, you have the right.