Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Objects in mirror are farther than they appear

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Maybe you see a hair out of place, a new pimple, and bloodshot eyes. Or maybe you see your nice, straight, white teeth clearly through laser-corrected eyes. Why did you look in the mirror in the first place? Humans have been looking at themselves since the dawn of time. We've used pools of water, polished stone, metal, silvered glass, and more recently (and somewhat annoyingly) selfies to see what we look like. Looking in the mirror, we see how we believe to appear to others. We use the mirror's image to check our appearance and maybe make slight alterations such as combing our hair or applying makeup.

Now ask someone else what they see when they look at you. You may get varying answers, hopefully polite, but almost always different from what you see in the mirror. The closer you are to someone the farther their description of you varies from your own. A stranger, having no other frame of reference will likely start with your hair and eye color. You may get a "nice smile" and "kind eyes" from someone or perhaps a "dangerous looking mole" in the statistically unlikely event that your target stranger happens to be a dermatologist. Friends and family are more likely to go beyond the superficial. Some of them may obliquely relate to your outward appearance such as "I see your father" (or mother, grandparent, etc.) but those who are close to you probably see you in terms of an anecdote. They may tell you that, 30 years later, they still see the scared child who fell out of a treehouse and broke a leg, or the person who rescued a stray litter and found homes for all the puppies. Ask someone from your innermost circle what they see when they look at you and you probably won't get anything related to your appearance - "I see the person I fell in love with."


At 3:45 AM, Blogger Jobair Alam said...

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