?What color is a chameleon placed on a mirror?.. The chameleon responding to its own shifting image is an apt analog of the human world of fashion. Taken as a whole, what are fads but the response of a hive mind to its own reflection?In a 21st-century society wired into instantaneous networks, marketing is the mirror; the collective consumer is the chameleon.
Our Christian destiny is, in fact, a great one: but we cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great. For our own idea of greatness is illusory, and if we pay too much attention to it we will be lured out of the peace and stability of the being God gave us, and seek to live in a myth we have created for ourselves. And when we are truly ourselves we lose most of the futile self-consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others in order to see how big we are.
If I had a reader and he had read all I have written so far of my adventures, there would be certainly no need to inform him that I am not created for any sort of society. The trouble is I don't know how to behave in company. If I go anywhere among a great many people I always have a feeling as though I were being electrified by so many eyes looking at me. It positively makes me shrivel up, physically shrivel up, even in such places as the theatre, to say nothing of private houses. I did not know how to behave with dignity in these gambling saloons and assemblies; I either was still, inwardly upbraiding myself for my excessive mildness and politeness, or I suddenly got up and did something rude. And meanwhile all sorts of worthless fellows far inferior to me knew how to behave with wonderful aplomb-- and that's what really exasperated me above everything, so that I lost my self-possession more and more. I may say frankly, even at that time, if the truth is to be told, the society there, and even winning money at cards, had become revolting and a torture to me. Positively a torture. I did, of course, derive acute enjoyment from it, but this enjoyment was at the cost of torture.