“People who are actually from Gangnam never proclaim that they are... this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they’re not.”
There’s a certain person inside all of us that hankers for attention. That part of ourselves is released upon fear, when we don’t seem to fit in so naturally. When the going gets tough socially the social misfit in us emerges via inauthentic means of personality and expression. This seems to be what is behind the Gangnam Style song.
The song is about class; not socioeconomic class, but class of demeanour—of coolness. Those who live in the Gangnam district of Seoul are said to have this class; so much so they will conceal their coolness. They don’t flaunt their coolness.
What sort of spiritual lessons can we learn from a song like this that portrays two opposite kinds of people in each of us: the cool and the not-so-cool?
An Analysis on Social ‘Coolness’
There are times when all of us have been cool and not-so-cool. When we felt ‘in’, and part of the scene, little effort went into propping up or projecting a persona. We were just as we are, without pretence. Yet, there are also times when we are decidedly uncomfortable, and we feel, even unconsciously, pressured into holding onto a facade.
Ultimately it comes down to how comfortable we are within ourselves as compared with our environments. In an environment with high peer pressure to conform a person’s inauthentic overtures are more likely to rise to the fore. They are trying their best to adapt to something unnatural, however desirable it seems.
So, being cool is about being comfortable in the environment we find ourselves in. Many times we will choose our environments such that we can feel comfortable. Hopefully these are the right kinds of environments for both our personalities and our spiritual growth.
The social lesson on ‘cool versus not-so-cool’ is simple. We should be as authentic as we can be, and we should encourage others to be as authentic as they can be. If we don’t live in Gangnam we shouldn’t pretend we live there.
Gangnam style spirituality, therefore, is about being ourselves, knowing ourselves, and being true to ourselves, I feel, in the sight of God. It’s about being appropriately restrained and creative in cool ways—not putting on anything that’s a fabrication of who we are.
Gangnam Style spirituality is about authenticity—living a life of truth in a social world. There is a meaning behind the words that we cannot get from the words and music alone—let’s be our courageous selves (our cool selves) in the sight of God.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: Wikipedia.