21 May 2012

Accelerating Self Consciousness

I saw the most curious thing on a flight today. Mothers everywhere do what they can to calm fussy babies whose crying can raise the stress level for everyone but I witnessed a new strategy.

I noticed a mother whose toddler (16 months old) was fussing was holding up an iPhone with video clips that quieted him. The clips seemed to be of that very baby playing, bathing, interacting with its mom and dad. It might just be that the baby was calmed by the sight of familiar routines in the midst of a strange plane, but the baby seemed to be studying the images with a particular kind of concentration, something that almost looked like self-awareness. Babies at about this age can find a mirror mesmerizing, why not videos of themselves?

So what does this mean for development? Does this make us more self-aware, self-consciousness, self-absorbed? It's hard to believe that it won't find some way to leave its fingerprints on the development of self, I'm just not clever enough to imagine what that might be.

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