In the last installment, we left off with Bruce Jenner's potential transgendered surgery as the defining statement to his long history of cosmetic modification. In our youth abs beauty fixated society, how a person looks is everything these days. Cases wherein cosmetic surgery is medically needed to improve an individual's quality of life, such as with skin graphing burn victims or the American coalition to give free plastic surgery to victims of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after World War II, famously known as the Hiroshima Maidens. This group of 25 school girls were horrifically disfigured from the atomic bombs, and in 1955 their journey was televised.
You see, there are two important but separate issues at hand: the immediate emotional concerns faced by patients opting to surgically alter their physical appearance, and the farther-ranging cultural one about what this trend means in terms of ourdefinition of beauty, its impact on our self-image and on our society at large.
Many of us may go throughout our lives without ever letting the inevitability of our own mortality bring us down. Maybe some of us look forward to it as the great test of the soul, or maybe you see it as some great experience where you can learn and grow. Maybe it doesn't effect you and you are unencumbered. Then again, the essence of mortality could bring about about existential crisis, where you find yourself asking "WHO AM I!" in the biggest way.
Morality salience is when the self-awareness of mortality results in an anxious melancholy that begins to effect our personal/world view and wreak havoc on self-esteem. It would be easy to say this principle is the cause to every power hungry, blindlessly greedy, treacherous effect in human history, and in some cases you wound be right, but in our age of biomedical enhancement the anxiety has shifted to a more personal veiw. In our era, should Napoleon Bonaparte be born again, he needn't attempt to try to conquer the world to prove himself a "big" man. He could just do what the guy in this video did and have his legs broken and have telescopic rods implanted into them so that he may grow about one millimeter a day. No thousands of casualties and woes of revolutionary war need apply. Our history books taught us trying to conquer the world is messy and hardwork, and now that it's mostly done for us anyway with globalization it is so much safer to consult a plastic surgeon to fix yourself.
But where does self-improvement become detrimental, and how does "changing the self" come to effect the inner self in the end?
Tune in next time for: Who Is This Monster in the Mirror, and What Have You Done With My New Lips?