Thursday, February 08, 2007

knowing self

I was in the bathroom at work earlier and washed my hands in front of a mirror. I then grabbed some paper towel and dried my hands away from the mirror and suddenly started to wonder what it would be like to grow up without mirrors, reflective surfaces, photographs, cameras, or other visual aids that would let me know what my face looks like. I can see everyone else without a mirror, but I can't see myself. I wonder what that would do to my sense of self. Would I feel disconnected from a photo of me if I saw one for the first time at my current age, or would I somehow instantly know that I was looking at myself? Who would I be without knowing what I look like? Less self conscious or more? More confident or less? More or less focused on the needs of society rather than my own needs?

Something for me to ponder and never know the answer to, I guess.

6 comments:

Bearette24 said...

That reminds me of a nonfiction piece Marian Keyes wrote about an orphanage she visited (I think it was in Russia). The visitors took a group picture of the kids, who had never seen a picture of themselves before. The kids tore their own faces out of the picture so they could keep them.

Avitable said...

Just think about the poor vampires. How do they make themselves look so beautiful?

stefanie said...

Deep thoughts... by Poppy Handy

Molly said...

If we didn't have mirrors we'd just find some other way to compare ourselves to each other. I think it's human nature to be dissatisfied.

Gecko Rock said...

Now imagine if you were blind. This reminds me of a book I read recently, 18 Seconds. The lead character is a woman who has been blind since she was five years old. She can also read the last thoughts of the dead through touch. In the last chapter, she touches the hand of her best friend at his funeral. For the first time in her life, she saw her adult face through his memories.

Anyhow, I wonder how a blind person might compare themselves to others - aside from the obvious.

Dan said...

The mirror is a key theme in Pete Townshend's "Tommy." I think there's a lot of introspection and reflection that emulates from the concept of seeing ourselves as others see us.