Imagined Mirrors of the Absolute

The 3rd of July is the international “Compliment Your Mirror” Day.

Motto: “What is it about me that attracts people?”

I am sure, without a doubt, that any person has asked this question at least once in their life. Well, I just had an insight based on a dream. Honestly, I don’t believe in paying too much attention to dreams, especially since my subconscious has a weird sense of humor :). But this time, what matters more is not the dream itself but the ideas it led me to. And it highly relates to the question in the beginning. Not as a question that only I am asking but as everyone is asking. Please consider this article as a mirror. It will help you find better its signification.

(keep reading ↓)

Copyright (C) Ana-Maria Iana
Copyright (C) Ana-Maria Iana

Ana-Maria Iana [ro, blog] has asked the question at the end of this article [ro, blog]. I have answered it. The answer came as an insight. Now let me tell you about a dream. Please pay attention; this will lead to a very precise point.

I dreamed of myself about 5-6 years ago when I was more unsure of myself than I am now. I perceived the dream as rather long. Certain situations appeared, which made me wonder and seek answers. Ana-Maria appeared in my dream at least 2 times, the last time being more relevant. I was on a tram with her, she was going to work, and we stopped at, what was in the dream, a common friend, Tom [en, php]. Ana interacted with Tom, talking about daily routine stuff. I dreamed of both as I perceived each of them in real life. Ana was especially firm, strong, and encouraging. After the meeting, Ana and I went back on the tram, at which moment I said to her:

Marcus Victor Grant: “I know what I’m looking for in you”

Ana-Maria Iana:”You did?”

Marcus Victor Grant: “Yes. I’m looking to be more sure of myself. And you came with some answers to my questions”.

Somewhere around this moment, the dream stops. Now, the weird thing is that, to my conscious knowledge, Ana and Tom don’t know each other. BUT Ana, in the dream, looks very much like a common friend Tom and I had during secondary school, where we met and became friends. In opposition to Ana’s attitude in the dream, the common friend we actually had was totally unsure of herself. I dreamed of her the way I would have liked her to be: more confident. At the same time, in the dream, this strong source of confidence for me was Ana. But, as Ana would certainly say in real life, she doesn’t have the answers to other people’s questions. That’s why she essentially asked in the quoted article [ro, blog]: “What is it about me that attracts the people?” – a question about her relationship with others.

Now let us think a little bit about this question, which is a better version of the classical transactional analysis question: “why is this happening to ME?”. Many of us have this question, which satisfies a quite disempowering pattern. So I asked myself the question: “why is that happening to people?” :). Also, from the standpoint of NLP, it’s classified as a psychological search pattern, opposed to “how”. I pause to pay a little attention to the difference here. The bipolarity of “why?” vs. “how” was, to my knowledge, first asserted by Alfred Korzybski in 1933 in the greatest epistemology treaty “Science and Sanity [en, html]” and was further developed into a metaprogram [en, blog]. The “why” orientation asks for a causal argumentation for a link between the past and the present, an explanation of content. It is a driving question in psychotherapy. “How” on the other side, focuses on a process and is a driving question in coaching. Each of them is appropriate in certain contexts. And the difference is relevant here. I have invariably met more people asking the “why is this happening” than people asking “how is it happening”. I assert that if I had more customers asking me the “how” question, I would have made a lot more money from people focusing on active solutions rather than simple passive understanding (which is not so simple, as you will see).

A possible answer came to me from Harry Potter – the cinema series. So I offer you here a short moment from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, directed by Chris Columbus. If in time, it disappears from youtube, it’s the scene with the Mirror of Erised (an anagram for “desire”).

(keep reading ↓)

Many unconsciously look for this kind of mirror, which would answer the question: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me what I’m looking for”. That is natural. It’s also a good strategy for people with money, which pays consultants not only to give them answers but mainly to find the right questions for them (which, in some cases, maybe “how” questions rather than “why” questions). Psychologically, people look into mirrors to find information that is external to them. Sometimes, people do the same when looking for zodiacs, horoscopes, palm readings, signs in the sky, or superstitions. These claim to provide a qualified answer from an authority. This kind of belief in a magical, superstitious form of knowledge is based on the very subtle belief that something else outside our power controls our life. This is a very current faith in Romanians, especially in Balkanics mainly: that there is a kind of driving force in nature that makes their life go in one direction or the other. This kind of thinking implies an external locus of control, tragically often combined with an internal frame of reference.

Personal & professional development uses a different conviction: “You are the master of your life. Everything that happens in your life is your responsibility. You have the free choice to opt for one option or another.”. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking may be misunderstood, especially for those seeking understanding,/from the inside/the outside.

Now let’s go back to the Mirror of Desire. Like all the symbols in “Harry Potter”, the mirror has a satanic, occult signification [en, CFML]. To quote the commenter of this blog post[en, blog], “magic is simply science that has yet to be understood. Before one could log onto a laptop and read the news report or Hollywood Illuminati and before the invention of the tv and the radio, there was a crystal ball or a black mirror that allowed the occultist to see and read about events all over the world […] Magic is the use of unseen forces to manipulate either mental, emotional or physical.”. These “unseen forces” are called in Christianity “demons”, and they have the knowledge of everything which has happened and is happening. They have the power to read gestures and intense desires in everyone. This kind of knowledge can be presented in such a mirror. Please correlate with the wiki entries for the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter:

Now back to me. Like Ana, I had this question about myself. But first, I gave the answer to Ana for her question, and just now, I have realized the answer for myself. It was easy for me to give the answer to Ana for two reasons:

1. My job is to know (and explain to others) how people’s minds work. In marketing, I am paid to explain how consumers think to promote a particular product/service/organization. In human resources, I am paid to explain to employers and (potential) employees how their mind works, how it doesn’t work, and how to make up for the gap between what is and what would work better within an organizational framework. Therefore, some people think that I have the answers when in reality, all I have is the questions. And a little bit of sense of observation. But asking a good question is sometimes more than a good answer because it empowers the client to find his or her own answer.

2. For those people who see in me “the Mirror of Erised”, I seem (or, in their perspective, I “am deemed”) to have a set of magic tools – magic which is nothing else but science that has yet to be understood. I am seen as a “guru” or a “magician” by these persons. I want to discredit this kind of belief system, but, to a certain point, the status of “magician” can be flattering. But let us remind ourselves of what St. Paul is writing in the Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 12: “For now we see through a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I am also fully known.”. In this verse, “now” refers to the earthly life and “then” to the eternal life, the afterlife.

I have an exercise I have written about here [en, blog] and in this article: “Who Are You and How Do You See Yourself Through the Eyes of Others” [en, blog]. There, I used the mirror as a metaphor for the fact that we are all looking, to others, for mirrors of ourselves. Each of the people we ask about ourselves will provide a mirror for themselves as well – because we all like about others what we want about ourselves or what we aspire to. We all dislike others what we dislike or what seems so foreign to ourselves. This is not the kind of thing you usually get confronted with, but it’s also not something you haven’t heard before. I know it because I have learned it from two other men. First, Ana sought a mirror at the end of this article [ro, blog]. So I provided one for her. Then again, in my dream, I was looking for a mirror, and that was Ana for me. A mirror of believing in myself (“a avea încredere” in Romanian), which is semantically similar to “trust” (“a crede“).

Before ending, I subject to your inquiry (to be read: “insight”) the classical mirror scene from “Lady in Shanghai”, where Orson Welles delivers this line: “”One who follows his nature, keeps his original nature in the end, but haven’t you heard of something better to follow?”

(keep reading ↓)

I end, not with my words, but with a reflection of Ana-Maria Iana’s article, “De la viata, cu dragoste” [ro, blog]:

<<You are searching for security, safety, a certain creed, a certain “ism”, a place to belong to, to rely on. You have come here out of fear. You want a beautiful prison. Thus you can live without acknowledging something. I want to make you more unsure, unstable, and uncertain […] I don’t want you to trust me; I want you to have courage in front of me.>>

PS: What is your favorite mirror of the absolute?

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright text © Marcus Victor Grant 2012-present. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved. Previously published in Debug Your Mind and Discerne.

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.

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