“Self-respect is a discipline, a habit of mind that can never be faked but can be developed, trained, coaxed forth. It was once suggested to me that, as an antidote to crying, I put my head in a paper bag. As it happens, there is a sound physiological reason, something to do with oxygen, for doing exactly that, but the psychological effect alone is incalculable: it is difficult in the extreme to continue fancying oneself Cathy in Wuthering Heights with one’s head in a Food Fair bag. There is a similar case for all the small disciplines, unimportant in themselves; imagine maintaining any kind of swoon, commiserative or carnal, in a cold shower.”  

– Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

the agenda

This discussion is not a how-to seminar. There will be no grand postulations on how to love yourself, become a better you, raise yourself above the rabble, or conquer your tendencies to self-deprecate. (that said, if anyone knows of such seminars which actually work, please feel free to share) (unless you are being somehow financially sponsored by these endeavours, in which case sod off, this isn’t a marketing platform.)

More to the point, we’ll be pondering a few questions: where does self-esteem come from? What are its influences (social media of course, but also how we interact with each other and how that affects us), what are the different elements in life that tend to reflect us back to ourselves, and play a role in what we do and how we see ourselves think friendship, romance, family, culture, work, religion, the Internet…

recommended reading

(please consider supporting independent bookshops instead of buying books on amazon, write to me if you need a list of them!)

collected thoughts and tidbits from the evening's discussion (both related and random)...

  • Ich und Du | Martin Buber (book)
  • All Quiet on the Orient Express | Magmus Mills (book)
  • The Red Book | Carl Jung (book)
  • God is an Astronaut | Alyson Foster (book)
  • The God Delusion | Richard Dawkins (book)
  • Outgrowing God: a beginners’ guide | Richard Dawkins (book)
  • Poetics | Aristoteles on why we read (book)
  • Epigenetik: Brücke zwischen Erbut und Umwelt (English edition: Epigenetics: Bridge between genome and environment) (graphic novel)
  • Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience | Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (book)
  • The Evolving Self: a Psychology for the Third Millenium | Mihaly Csikszentrmihalyi (book)
  • Kriegsenkel / Die Vergessene Generation | Sabine Böde (books on the experience of trauma by Germans during WWI and WWII, and how this trauma has passed on to their children)
  • Midjourney (computer-generated culture)
  • Cambrian Explosion (algorithmic cultural creation)
  • Dalli 2 Website (open AI cultural creation)
  • Hidden Brain: Relationsships 2.0 | the power of interactions (podcast on the subject of talking to strangers)

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continuing the conversation...

2 thoughts on “taboo symposium 9 | self-esteem”

  1. Hey STEFF, hope you’re well. It’s been a while. I CANT WAIT TO DO THE RECOMMENDED READING ON THIS TOPIC AND ALSO ATTEND THIS session. Good that I managed to land on your website again, and I will try my best to get to know of the taboo symposium through here 🙂

    Thank you for the recommended reading list, and as always fantastic artwork along this line 🙂


  2. We have jumped the first-non-social-media-based-comment hurdle. Yippee!!! Thanks, Rajas, hope to see you on the 24th!

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