We asked ourselves that very same question when we looked into John Walter’s True Mirror. It’s the only mirror that doesn’t reverse your image. Wait what? YES! Everytime we look into a mirror that image we see is not what everybody else sees. I was hugely taken aback at my first look, much like the woman in the video, and quite concerned because I noticed my asymmetries significantly more exaggerated. But then upon closer look, there was something different, deeper. I was able to look and feel myself, as if I was looking into the eyes of another human being; just as I would be conversing with my best friend.
John explains this phenomenon on his website: “There are a few key reasons for why the True Mirror reflects the real you. The first is the all-important eye-to-eye contact — the strongest way we understand what people are saying. When you communicate with every other individual in the world, your eyes always meet left-eye-to-right-eye and right-eye-to-left eye. This normal biological pattern conveys information “just so”. With traditional mirrors, where the right eye picks up the right-eye reflection, and the left picks up the left’s, you are experiencing a highly unnatural way of gathering information about yourself. You don’t communicate with anyone else in the world in that pattern. The result is that we always feel we are somehow different than everyone else, often in a negative way. It is very common for people to feel “I won’t join a club that will have me” or “I know there’s something wrong with me, no one else seems to see it, but I sure do. Other people report that flat mirrors create uncomfortable or pointless feelings that really don’t have any good explanation. ”
John explains how getting to see yourself in the true mirror can actually help you become more confident; “Accurate eye-to-eye-communication fixes one of the most dynamic feedback loops in existence, leading to higher and higher levels of self-understanding and awareness.”
As we explore Burning Man festival this week, I know we’ll run into John and his True Mirrors. This year’s theme after all is “Carnival of Mirrors”. Burning Man on it’s own has the power to transform lives. I wonder now with the symbolism of the mirror how we may all come out with a deeper understanding of our true selves.