Will Storr

Self-obsession in an age of perfectionism


“Technology is a mirror. It shows us who we are.”

Journalist and best-selling author Will Storr joined us in London for a Q&A on a topic close to all our hearts: ourselves. Sharing ideas from his latest book, Selfie, Will traced the evolution of the ‘self’, from Ancient Greek notions of individualism, to the birth of the self-esteem movement in 1980s California. He reflected on contemporary Western culture’s ubiquitous image of the ‘perfect’ self as extroverted, slim, politically aware, successful and attractive. Will discussed how our inherently tribal nature leads us to strive to attain this ideal, in order to ‘get along and get ahead’ in society. Discussing how our environment helps shape who we are, he theorised that our hyper-individualistic, competitive society has lead to the rise of ‘neoliberal narcissism’ – with the primordial attractions of social media magnifying our desire for perfectionism.