Seven Digits of Delusion In Los Angeles

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Everyone wants people to like them, right?

Even in my most “leave me alone” mood, I’d say life would be too difficult if no one liked me. It would be too hard to get anything done, and I’d most likely end up dead. That’s the practical aspect, at least. My own livelihood depends on four or five people liking me enough to do business with me. (And of course, my wife’s got to like me.)

I don’t mind the total number being in the Single digits. Double Digits works, too. I’m OK with that.

Then there’s the level of “I want everyone I meet to like me.” I don’t tend to get along with that type. Trying too hard to have too many friends. Life of the party. Trying to sell me on how likable they are. They’re annoying, so I go the opposite direction when possible. It’s fine, as long as they stay over there and do their thing. Extroverted salesmen, et cetera. That’s for the Triple Digits. When you’re selling cars and real estate, the more “friends” you have, the better. At least they’re still sane?

Then there are those who want MILLIONS of people to like them. (That’s the Seven Digits of Delusion at this point.) These are people who honestly believe everyone on earth should consider them special. “People should crave to hear my opinion. Things should be named after me. I should have a book, a show, an album, a perfume.” In this perverse parallel universe called Los Angeles (a.k.a. The Imaginary City), it’s absurd how many accept this as a simple premise and go about their day.

I was certainly one of them, and it’s how I ended up here instead of Florida. I think I’ve been here seven or eight years, and Los Angeles has had a profound influence on me: it SLOWLY forced me decide what I truly value, which is Reality.

For fun, I’m going to define Reality as the opposite of Hyperreality. As it was written by Wikipedia:

Hyperreality is a term used in semiotics and postmodern philosophy to describe an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality[…] Hyperreality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.

Yep, that’s it. Hyperreality is the Operating System of this place. I meet so many people who believe their own press (whether they’re actually famous or not). I happen to be someone who is not able to do that. (Understatement!)

Since shifting my focus, I’m back to Double Digits, and it feels correct.

Recommended Reading:
Simulacra and Simulation (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)
The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (Vintage)
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

-Carl.

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