Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mirrors, Reflections and Introspections

( through the looking glass, darkly )

I have an old friend, who has often given me a different perspectives on life, my life, and me. Jiban was raised in India, and moved to the U.S. as a young man. He spent several years in our Air Force, and has become quite American ( except for his accent, he'll never shake that ). He also drinks a lot.

His mannerisms, and the way he phrases his thoughts have always intrigued me and serve to illustrate my perceptions and how we all construct a 'reality' that is quite unique. A few of his common phrases that I noticed;

  • "Wally, I'm standing beside myself with puzzlement..."
  • "The words...they fuck in my mouth..."

Though we had vastly different backgrounds, we had much in common. We both drove taxi, and spent the majority of our after-shift hours drinking, and rapping ( mostly about our job, the purpose of the universe, and the differing merits of king-crab and dungeness crab ), and we agreed that the world is not as it seems. An illusion, yes, but not one perpetrated by global conspiritors, evil spirits or the illuminati. The illusion is a necessary function of our individual minds.

There are of course masters of illusion, that dominate the world we experience. The Main-stream News Media comes to mind easily. And then there's Hollywood, and the star making machinery. Politics? Do you actually believe what our leaders say/promise? Religion? Education/indoctrination? I can go on for hours about the illusions that we accept in the external world, but are you ready to accept the internal illusions that you hold so dear?

We have blind spots, and the mind is the machine that fills those voids in our perception. I'm speaking of a very real function of our minds, but it is explained better in L-6 THE EYE, 'Fig. 3. Test for the blind spot'. It's an easy, painless test that can be done in a few seconds, but be warned, you might not want to learn how to doubt your eyes. If you've made life changing decisions on the axiom, 'seeing is believing' you probably should not read the article...I digress...

How does one 'stand beside' oneself? And can you do it with someone, or thing called 'puzzlement'? I suspect the poetry of language polishes the mirror of reality in our minds, and the words we use to describe our perceptions can trip all over themselves ( they fuck in my mouth ) trying to make sense of the natural fiction we describe as reality, self, history, politics and religion.

Look into a glass mirror. Is that you? I don't believe so. You are witnessing an animation, a creation that put's Disney Studios to shame. Jiban and I saw that distortion of truth, and decided it would be easier to get drunk than to share our thoughts on the matter with the world. Some cats are like Jiban and I because we are intrigued by the image we see in mirrors, some cats are like you and most of the world and see the image as 'reality'. Some cats go ape-shit over cat-nip...

me, under a tree, painting me under a tree

Years ago, someone hid a mirror in plain sight by removing the frame and any other clue that it was in the room. As I idled in the area, I politely ignored the only other person in the room ( my reflection ), and for several minutes casually observed, and innocently judged the other by his appearance. I was 'standing beside myself' at an epic moment in my personal history. My idyllic world was soon to beshattered, as I fell from the grace of a lesser god.

I noticed that his socks were miss-matched, as mine usually were, and as my eyes raised to meet his I saw in my dopple-ganger's face a reflection of my own puzzled thoughts...and then my mental animation programming kicked in to gear and I watched that face, that man, that 'other' transform before my eyes! It was a fully automatic transformation, and totally out of my conscious control. The transformation seemed to be an animation process at that moment, but now i recognize that process as the 'reality', and the end result as the illusion.

Had I not noticed the mis-matched socks, my unconscious mind would have accepted him at 'face value'. I would have remained like you, and most of the world ( including the cat that ignores mirrors ) confident in my share of the collective hunch. You are the fortunate ones, Jiban, myself, and a few cats share the dubious honor of enlightenment.

If you share any of these sentiments, I suggest art as a therapy ( or better yet, art as a religion ). Art and artists are accepted in most western societies, and introspection is expected. If you don't have time to sit in front of a mirror, or get tired of self-portraits then I suggest poetry. Better that the words fuck in your mouth, than in your mind...

1 comment:

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Hi Wallace, found your blogs from the comment you left today. This was a really interesting post. I too have been caught off guard with mirrors in the public and thought it someone else at an initial glance. It's a weird feeling.