Monday, September 14, 2015

Humanism: Value of the Self-ie

Humanism emphasizes the value of individuals, which is made clear in the Hamlet quotation, as humans are described as the "beauty of the world!" This theme is very prominent in our digital society. The emphasis on the individual is evident in our culture of "selfies." Our society is so obsessed with getting the perfect selfie, that phone companies are creating products that will enhance the ability and quality of taking a selfie. I have a friend that bought a new phone simply because you could take a selfie with the wave of a hand. This theme, "What a piece of work is man," was and continues to be a huge part of our culture. 

Similarly, in "On the Origin and Dignity of Man," Mirandola praises humans and their value. As I read, "man is the most fortunate of creatures and consequently worthy of all admiration," I thought it was a very interesting opinion. As mentioned before, the selfie and emphasis on the individual is prominent in our culture. However, I feel that there is a counter emphasis against this ideal. There are some people that would argue that we are too obsessed with ourselves. So this quote in Mirandola’s work changed my idea about this theme and how it applies to our digital world today. 

Despite this backlash,  I found an article that suggests our obsession with selfies is still more popular. In this article, James Franco talks about the posts on his Instagram account that get more attention, more likes, and that they are not the ones that are “those with photos of art projects; videos telling the haters to go away.” He goes on to say that the selfies are the ones that get the most attention and the most likes, which suggests that most people find the self more interesting. Indeed, they find the individual more interesting, which is what Mirandola and Shakespeare emphasize in their works we read. 

James Franco.

Franco, James. "The Meanings of the Selfie." The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 Dec. 2013. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.


  1. First of all, James Franco. Second, it's really interesting to consider whether humanism is about recognizing the universality of the "dignity of man" or focusing on the singular importance of the individual.

  2. I also had the same thought as Nikkita. What was the difference between individuality then and now? Obviously the concept has evolved, thanks to advanced selfie technology, but how was it different?