Weird Words: Omphaloskepsis (Navel Gazing)


Omphaloskepsis (aka navel-gazing) is contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation. From the Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination).  The practice in relation to contemplation of the cosmos and human nature can be found in Indian yoga and in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Today, the term “navel-gazing” is  most commonly used in a humorous manner to refer to self-absorbed behaviour. This criticism can especially be noted in professions that over-examine themselves: movies about Hollywood, writing about writing, etc. It is also common in academia and pop psychology and is a “favourite pastime of postmodern philosophers, especially when used facetiously to refer to the habit of mentally considering everything while ignoring the real world.” (Phrontistery.infoWiki)