An Essay on the Nature of Vanity and Process in Society

The following essay is a mildly structured flow of abstract thoughts on an explanation of vanity and process. I explain what a process is, how process can be self-sustaining, process propagation, and how a process behaves. I explain vanity, how vanity behaves, and I look at the human species role in different processes, and why we like processes from different viewpoints such as natural impulse/instinct, ideology, need, etc…

Vanity, commodity, and entitlement are ideas which present themselves as its own entity. While it’s not something you can directly touch, or see, and it has no physical properties lest it be embodied in secondary objects, it presents itself as something which can almost be sensed. There is no tangibility of vanity, we aren’t directly aware of it through physical senses, but we can touch objects which contribute to vanity such as expensive champagne, jewelry, and other vanitarian affairs.

As I gaze at Manet’s “Bar at the Folie Bergere” I get a sense of an ambience which presents itself to me as if it were to be presented to those who enter the establishment. It is like a sense of ambiance. The media presents a young well-dressed woman who seems to be a bartender of sorts, and there is also a man in the mirror’s reflection, to whom she is serving, and a large crowd filling the place. The ambiance it presents is one of vanity. We see the woman who is not at all in a happy mood as she is surrounded by drinks and other luxuries which can be purchased, it is almost like she is on display herself, seemingly in some sort of autonomous flow, for why would a person place themselves in an unhappy situation if not to fulfill a process (such as that of vanity). In the painting, it is as if these people are there just for the sake of being there, because there must be *someone* present to keep the process working.  They are trapped in a cycle of vanity.

I define a process as an idea or system which is a cycle or chain of things to fulfill some need or purpose. Whether this purpose be to keep itself alive, or one of ideological assuaging does not matter as this process is a reiterating and propagating ‘entity’. A process, once implemented, and entered into is difficult to terminate, and those in it may find some form of solace in it, due to human nature. Processes are usually ‘pushed’ onto us, some are ‘niche’ processes, such as becoming hardcore vegan, and some are more innate, such as an innate process of congregating into metropolitan centers.

We accept process and tradition as regularities for which we work hard to uphold, even if these regularities give us a sense of shame, unhappiness, or guilt. We do these things because they are there, and we can do them, so we adopt tradition and enter into a process for which we may know is not a true standard (for ourselves). It is in our human nature to be accepted and to do socially acceptable things, because we are social animals. So, by our very nature, we do things other people do because we can, and because we are being human. So, from this, participating in vanity is to feed your animal nature. The animal nature of sociality.

We work 9 hour days because we should, we accept jobs for which make us extremely unhappy so we can afford the wanted things we have no time to use. A -social- process is one which recruits through its own process like a self-replicating entity which has no immunity, but is bested by skepticism and free-will (choice?). It takes energy and decision to begin a process, but once in place, it is self-feeding.

Vanity and luxury are things which simply exist as ideas, and it only exists as long as it is thought. For while we think it, we act on it to make this an idea for others in an endless cycle and a flu which rapidly transfers from host to host.

Yet it seems to extend deeper than this. It is true that we are influenced by media which may be the beginning of the vanity cycle, as we are subtly imposed that buying luxurious things is the key to social acceptance and happiness. Because of the imposition of the suggestion that luxury equates acceptance, nature kick-starts a process of want/need. There may also be some natural instinct to live luxuriously (which may have contributed to the idea of vanity living) because things which are more luxurious are more pleasing to the senses. Expensive jewelry sparkles brighter, luxury wine tastes better, and which makes us more enticed from the stimuli it presents. Humans also have a natural instinct to live easily and do put in the least amount of effort to save energy, and having money while living lavishly caters to that need. Premium items also work better (most of the time), and have more qualities which increase comfort and ease of use. In vanity, we pay to have service, while those we pay labor to provide it for us at the cost of their unhappiness. We might say that we’re buying people’s unhappiness.

Vanity is a process which is instigated twofold by the corporation selling their premium products at premium prices and influencing us by their advertising, as well as a natural human need to live easily and to experience pleasing sense. To experience pleasing sense is a motivator towards the good. Process is a self-replicating entity due to its nature, it lives in society and because it has been implemented and accepted, it is using its own power to drive itself. The only remedy to this is skepticism and revolution.

Yet, even with revolution to overthrow one process (i.e. one of vanity, or one of oppression), ironically revolution itself is a process, and when one process ends, another begins. This is just the way of human nature and the need to categorize, streamline, understand, and label things. Making things a process makes it more efficient, and easy to use, easy to understand. Humans want to live lives and expend the least amount of energy, due to a survival instinct (less energy means less time searching for food to replace this energy).

Process is a reiterating entity which is not tangible, but can be ‘felt’ when paid attention to. It takes energy to begin a process, and energy to end a process, and process is usually replaced with a different process. The ‘need’ or cause of process is human instinct such as a need for requiring less energy, and a need for being social. While process can streamline and make life easier, it is also a chain which binds through need. Process sometimes requires people in roles, such as the processor and the procesee, the processee (the person in the role of providing the process to the processor) can be unhappy in their role, as it restrains and alienates their being.

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