These ‘being perceived’ memes will leave you feeling very seen indeed

Can’t believe I’ve gotta put up with being perceived


I’ll tell you what sucks: being perceived. Just having your existence registered by someone else. Why can’t we all just get along without it? It’s a weird sentiment, but one you might have noticed growing on Twitter.

The “being perceived” is a bit existential, a bit loner-y. In a way, it’s the perfect 2020 meme.

But it’s also a bit confusing. Just why is everyone harping on about the agony of being perceived? Why is being perceived even so bad? Let’s explain:

What exactly is the ‘being perceived’ meme all about?

The “being perceived” meme has its roots in “The Mortifying Ideal of Being Known”, from a 2013 New York Times essay.

“We believe that unconditional love means not seeing anything negative about someone, when it really means pretty much the opposite: loving someone despite their infuriating flaws and essential absurdity,” Tim Kreider writes.

“If we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known.” Crikey.

Think of being perceived as a 2020 extension of this. Instead of baring your soul in order to be loved, the meme cranks up the isolation and anxiety and scrapes away some of the shine. The price for existing and participating in society, even to a small extent, is being perceived. You are seen and known, without the reward of being loved. And that’s something to avoid.

Think of it as the following Marge Simpson meme:

being perceived

On a less gloomy note, it’s also a pretty banal sentiment – there are some days where you just don’t want to be part of normal society. You wish you could take part in that Zoom call, have bad hair and bags under your eyes, without your classmates or coworkers unavoidably forming an opinion.

Sure, you can go a day without being perceived, but it means not really doing anything. And that’s just not practical.

Anyway, here are a bunch of being perceived memes

I’m not convinced the authors of those tweets will love the fact they’ve just been perceived, but oh well.

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