The biggest irrational fear in my entire life has been, and still is, that my reflection in the mirror will move independently of me. My second biggest irrational fear is that if I touch the mirror, I might get sucked onto the other side.
Somehow my brain has a weak seam somewhere and sometimes, for about a quarter of a second, I perceive the reflection in the mirror as a contiguous part of reality. For that brief moment I paralyze in terror. It lasts for a blip, but it makes my palms sweaty and my sternum heavy.
In what is an awesome part played by Julian Sands in Warlock, a movie far from art but tight close to entertainment when you’re 12, the devil’s son has a trick played on a character called “the freak master”. This is worth 2 minutes, do watch it:
The fact that the truth hidden in decisions depends on which side of the mirror you’re standing on, is a thing that stuck with me, and, in time, evolved into a full fledged approach on life. It is for me the key to understanding how so many things, which seem the same, are perceived so differently, by so many people.
For instance, it is the sides of the mirror that define identity politics, when we take the reflection of others into ourselves, and push it onto the real others who reside out of ourselves. It is what makes people sound tone deaf while missing the meaning of identity and culture, insisting they are up for grabs, fearing someone is fencing them by being politically correct.
Some say your life is a mirror of yourself. Now that’s scary. If my life reflects me, I must be doing some funny faces to make this series of random events my reflection. Some say art is a mirror of society. I’d say it is a mirror of humanity at a point in time, because society is definitely neither that pretty, nor that deep.
What mirrors do is reflect, and, despite my irrational fears, all I ever got back is an illusion looking back at me as its illusion, making me feel like I don’t exist, which is true, but painful, so I ignore it, and keep telling the illusion that it is it that doesn’t exist.
I think there are two mirror reflections of a personality: one inside, the ego, and one outside, the identity. I still have no idea where the mirror is, and for most of the time I slide through it, from my ego to my identity. Inside me the horror of the mirror hall, where you are stuck on the wrong side of the mirror is ever more present. I am stuck with my ego when I think I am expressing my identity, then, minutes later, I am my feeding my identity, thinking I am nurturing my ego.
It is a paradox that the thing I fear the most is actually the reality I am immersed in. It is as if when I become aware of what is happening inside of me, then the physical reality of a mirror gets translated into exotic subconscious dialects of thinking, striking needles of horror in my body and stuttering my reason to shame.
Thanks to my sanity, which is nothing less than a great biologic function of discarding improbability, I get a hold of both my body and my reason fast enough, and the sheet of glass spewing photons back at me regains is harmless object status. However, it is often that after an episode of a chilling dip in the well of pitch black fear, I act a live bravado and stretch my fingers, touch the glass and silence that whisper telling me they’ll go right through it.
Fingerprints on glass are the evidence of my illusion shredding apart. Wipe them and the evidence goes away; the universe can carry on expanding. But, alas, I can’t wipe the fingerprints on the other side of the mirror; did that universe fall apart?