Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book 1 (My Opinion, Your Choice) - Chapter 5, Part 1

We are never able to fully perceive ourselves with our standard five senses. We are never able to see, hear, touch, smell, or taste ourselves. Not fully. We may see, or taste, or smell parts of ourselves, but never everything. Our senses are unable to perceive ourselves, we can use our senses to perceive others, but we are not able to perceive ourselves in totality. With effort and training we see more of ourselves, but even as we see this “more” we don't actually see ourselves, we see a different piece of the whole “us”. We discover what lies beyond a boundary, a boundary crossed with training or aides, and it is more of ourselves. The anatomy and functions may be as different as a knee to an ear, but all of these pieces make up the one “us”, and while we experience the pieces we never experience the whole. Without aides some parts are never seen, such as the face, the closest we come is seeing the sides of the nose and the top of the upper lip. The back of the head is an eternal mystery.

What then do we see by using aides, what is it that we see in the mirror? Isn't the reflection us? I would say that in my opinion it is yet another piece of us. What we see in the mirror is yet another piece of us, and while we focus on this piece of us we cease to see the other pieces of us, and certainly we do not see the whole. The reflection of the face does little to show the back of the head. Not only is the reflection just a piece, but it is a piece for only one of the senses, and what distortion does the mirror add to the “self” we see when looking into it? A mirror certainly helps in discovering more of ourselves, but in some respects it is akin to hearsay, it is what someone else has to say about us. Even when the reflection is accurate and factual, our own opinions still “color” the information. We have our opinions of what we will see in the mirror; how fat or skinny, how long or short the hair is, how neat or disheveled the appearance. We then proceed to look into the mirror, with all its bias and distortion which may be apparent or unperceived by us. If the mirror is slimming or fattening, what is our real physique? How true is the color tint, and how is it affecting the perceived skin tone and the perceived health? This opinionated and distorted reflection then passes through our opinions a second time as we evaluate the image. We choose to believe or disbelieve what we are seeing, we feel whatever we feel, we form or adjust our opinions of what we see, and finally make a decision about what, if any, action to take. This twice-opinionated, distorted reflection of ourselves is what we use as our idea of ourselves, and then base our actions on relative to it. “We're not at our best, so we're probably looking iffy” say our opinions, “you're beautiful” says the mirror, “you're distorted” say our opinions. How many such “conversations” do we have daily with all of our senses? Does the conversation change or stay the same as people around us play the part of the mirror? I would offer that there is no difference with people acting as the mirrors for ourselves, with the same opinion-distortion-opinion filter in place for every sense.

To be continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment