Is the social mirror making a fool out of us?
The social mirror refers to society’s opinion that lets us know how we look in its eyes. This mirror often perverts the reality, especially in materialistic cultures like ours.
An egregious example of perversion by the social mirror is the ‘torches of freedom’ campaign used to induce women to smoke started in the 1920’s and continuing till date. This campaign exploits the sentiments of the women’s liberation movement to market custom-made female cigars as ‘torches of freedom.’ Using many popular female icons, the media propaganda propelled thousands of women into smoking. It was all done in the name of freedom, but practically no one asked how smoking the cigarette was going to bring freedom. Pressurized by this campaign, many women smoked just so that they wouldn’t look old-fashioned. Such is the deluding power of the social mirror!
Most media propaganda may not be so blatant, but it is just as insidious. It glamorizes the trendiest gadgets, dresses and cars. This impels many people to go on purchasing sprees that are generally unnecessary and frequently unaffordable. They purchase and parade the latest wares of the fashion circus in the hope of seeing an approving reflection of themselves in the social mirror. But the social mirror is mortifyingly unstable; it shows a thing as shiny today and as rusty tomorrow. Thus, the social mirror ends fleecing people of their hard-earned money and making a fool out of them.
The Bhagavad-gita (02.69) indicates that spiritualists perceive and value things differently from the materialists. Instead of the social mirror, they use the scriptural mirror. This time-honored mirror shows them their real identity as souls with the potential for lasting devotional happiness. By using the scriptural mirror, they change themselves in ways that are not fleetingly titillating but eternally fulfilling.
“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.”