We live in a world of shameless self-promotion, overweening egotism, and dubious, spurious, and/or ill-gotten "accomplishments." What evidence supports this assertion? Any head-of-state that you can name. And any "celebrity" that you can name.
Of course, this has always been the way of the world. However, this age differs significantly from previous ages: in our time, these people insert themselves into our consciousness in electronic ways that are pervasive and well-nigh unavoidable. Unless, say, one chooses to repair to a yurt on an empty, wind-swept steppe somewhere in Mongolia. (Provided that the steppe is free of cellphone towers, of course.)
In the absence of an avenue of escape, one needs perspective. One needs to remind oneself that these sorts of people are not normal. They have nothing to do with real life, or with our lives. Humility and empathy are alien to them. Thus, they would not know what to make of a poem such as the following. Never in a million years would it occur to them that Charlotte Mew is trying to tell us something about ourselves, something that we ignore at peril to our souls.
On the Asylum Road
Theirs is the house whose windows -- every pane --
Are made of darkly stained or clouded glass:
Sometimes you come upon them in the lane,
The saddest crowd that you will ever pass.
But still we merry town or village folk
Throw to their scattered stare a kindly grin,
And think no shame to stop and crack a joke
With the incarnate wages of man's sin.
None but ourselves in our long gallery we meet,
The moor-hen stepping from her reeds with dainty feet,
The hare-bell bowing on his stem,
Dance not with us; their pulses beat
To fainter music; nor do we to them
Make their life sweet.
The gayest crowd that they will ever pass
Are we to brother-shadows in the lane:
Our windows, too, are clouded glass
To them, yes, every pane!
Charlotte Mew, The Farmer's Bride (1916).