Two things together:
One. You know all those stories about journalists or photographers going to some remote place (usually Africa, or, whatever, it doesn’t matter) and talking about taking villagers pictures and then showing them? Right, well they all report the same thing; that the villagers are so surprised and so intrigued because they’ve never seen their own photograph before or maybe even their own reflection. Ok, that’s cool and interesting. And I’ve tried living without seeing my reflection and it does produce some cool results (see https://timwarmels.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/mirrors-and-their-anthropological-effects/ for that).
Two. Remember the book “The Paradox of Choice” by Barry Shwartz. He talks about the fact that conventional economic theory teaches us to think that the more choice we have in a situation, the happier or more ‘utility’ is created. But then goes on to show many situations in which that isn’t true. This is largely due because when there’s choice beyond a certain amount, the mind starts comparing what we end up with what we could have ended up with and it becomes too much data to analyse and we end up less happy because of the energy it takes to process all that extra data, or choices.
Well what about the paradox of self knowledge. What if our rapid and easy access to our reflection leaves us in a state of perpetual self absorption? That’s likely a hyperbolic way of putting it. But we didn’t evolve with all this access to ourselves visually or, maybe even more importantly, through social media, access to what other think of us via ‘likes’, etc.
The increased access provides a breeding ground for self-consciousness and self second guessing. Am I beautiful? Am I smart enough? Am I cool enough? It’s all inward and it’s due to a knowledge access paradox. You’d think more knowledge is better, but maybe it’s not.