Being Vs. Seeming

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If I recall, this came up once during the class last semester, but as I'm writing about it in another paper I was hoping to pick the brains of anyone reading. The basic premise of the paper is that we need to write a cultural analysis, my choice was the phenomenon that people would rather seem like something than be it, and the implications of that.

So what am I talking about; Seeming Vs. Being? The best tangible example I can come up with is the phenomenon of tanning. People want to seem like they are healthy and active... so they go lie on a bench for hours a week. They aren't actually being healthy or active, but at first glance you would think they would. There are a slew of other examples like this, I'm sure you can all think of them.

So why do people do this? I think a large aspect of this mentality is our "Sound Bite Selves" that people now seem obsessed with. Many want to make what we are easily digestible so at first glance people know "what we are all about." People dress in certain clothes to show their 'style' - Hipster, Prep, Goth, etc. This makes it very easy to put people into groups, and with the massive amount of other people we encounter every day, we don't really have to get to know anyone before, well, we know them.

So there does seem to be something to Seeming. But how does these Sound Bite Selves effect who we see ourselves as? Is it another branch-off of the Facebook phenomenon where everything about a person is condensed into a neat little package, or their thoughts put into 140 or so tweeted letters? Are we reducing our own complexity to make ourselves easier to the masses to handle?

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