Mirror Mirror on the Wall - Eeks, Who is that Horror in the Hall? - Muslims and Self-perception

Elsa Schieder

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I'm not writing about a wicked witch in a fairy tale. This is a speculation: that when the self-proclaimed righteous come across a mirror, the response is likely to be rage. “That is not me. How dare anyone say that is me. " Smash, crash.

In a moment, I'll get back to the righteous in an unexpected confrontation with a mirror - but first, a bit of theory.

There is a type of therapy (Rogerian) where a big thing is mirroring - reflecting the person back to themself, and through this the person is supposed to realize things about themself and in this way change. Maybe I don't have the theory quite right, but that's not why I'm writing.

My thought: maybe Muslims raging at a Danish cartoon and a speech by the pope, while not raging at Muslim violence, need to see themself in a mirror. Or maybe, in fact, the outrage comes because they have just had an unwanted glimpse of themself in a mirror, and the first impulse is to break the mirror instead of to take a closer look.

I remember a friend telling me that she was sure my camera was broken when I showed her a picture of herself. I'd passed her the picture because I saw it as flattering. She was stunned - she had no idea she looked that heavy.

In a dance class, one sees oneself in a mirror - and what a surprise that can be. One isn't doing what one thought one was. Much to learn.

If the mirror isn't enough, there's the camera, used to help lots of athletes improve their performance. Quite a surprise once more, if you're not used to seeing yourself.

On the other hand, how often did Hitler see himself? Very often, I am sure, as masses of images of him remain. He seems to have had such distorting inner lenses, that he could see himself as admirable when he was a raging egomaniac.

So I'm not suggesting mirroring is a cure-all. I'm only wondering if it couldn't be one possible very helpful technique to get through some of the raging self-righteous.

News clips of body parts from the latest suicide bombing. Up against massive Muslim protests against . . . what. . . ? a speech saying it's wrong to do violence in the name of religion.

Would anything sink in? Likely not into most heads. But some people are more open to seeing, and it might make a difference. Not always, of course.

Bush springs to mind. He has seen himself thousands of times. It has not made any dent that I am aware of. If anything, he seems ever more armored, ever more repetitive.

Once again, mirroring is not universally effective.

But antibiotics are administered against infections even though some strains of bacteria are resistant to even the strongest known drug combinations. One result: lots of infections are rooted out (and the most resistant remain, unfortunately).


I am thinking of an early twentieth century Canadian feminist, Nellie McClung. She used humor to reflect the politicians of her time back to themselves. The premier of her province, adamantly against granting women the right to vote - in her mind's eye, she saw a bull she had known in her childhood. When he had drunk until he could drink no more, he would plant himself over the trough, making sure none of the cows could get even a sip of water.

I don't know if he learned anything. But probably a lot of other people learned. Women got the vote. He got voted out.

Maybe those Muslims least taken in by Muslim extremism will move increasingly away, and not only away from, but (where they are safe enough and in enough numbers) against the Muslims filled with self-righteous rage.


I can, by the way, think of lots of other people who could use mirrors. I'll just give two examples.

Those North American blacks who see all whites as fair prey to be attacked, made fun up, put down.

Those committing genocide in Darfur - but I don't believe any mirror could crack the shell around those at the center of the genocide.


The mirror - people have masses of techniques for not seeing: like expressing nonstop, so no perception can get in; like refusing to look into a mirror; like only allowing for information from those who say what one wants to hear.

On the other hand, I wouldn't underestimate the power of the mirror, especially of a mirror more accurate than most of the mirrors one is used to using. The Danish cartoon was, as I saw it, a powerful little mirror - and elicited, not surprisingly, shrieks of horror.


That's the thought for the day - the potential benefits of mirroring.

Mirror mirror on the wall

Who is that horror. . . ?


There is, by the way, a more cynical interpretation of the same rage at the mirror. Maybe someone knows full well what they are doing - and just does not want anyone else dare to mention it, like many abusers want their victims to be silent.

But there is also that thing called denial, so well identified among alcoholics - the shell of rigid denial around what is apparent to observers with eyes to see.

So while, among some of the raging, the rage at the mirror may be entirely knowingly self-serving, my guess is that at least for some people, it comes from not recognizing - and not wanting to recognize - the horror in the mirror.



"It is a fact readily acknowledged, that for humans, an idea is much more powerful than a fact. " I don't know who said that - but I remember how those words struck me when I read them. One idea: just as ideas can close our minds, they can open them to new worlds and visions. Ideas pull things togheter or keep them apart. They help us organize experiences, help us make sense of things - or block us from making sense of things. So I hope you got something from what I've written. Comments and further thoughts welcome.


Something else I look at, quite different but linked, is STUPID OPINONS, meaning opinions that don't make sense, like the opinon that all opinions are equal, or that we are all exactly where we are meant to be:


Poor thinking - it can make me gnash my teeth.


Elsa Schieder, Ph. D. , prof, writer, visual artist, thinker, performer. One of the most important things, I hold, is being able to live and think well and creatively, imaginatively. All too often, I have found that people (including many people who pride themselves on being open-minded) are not able to think outside their “box of ideas" and hold onto rigid ideas as if their lives depended on it. Good thinking, good creativity draws on as much info as possible, is open to perceiving.


http://elsas-word-story-image-idea-music-emporium.com All my life, creativity has played an enormous part. The magic of story, music, idea. In Elsa's word story image idea music emporium, there's space for many forms of creativity - yours and mine.

One area is on ideas:




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