Mirror, mirror

Here’s a curious concept you might ponder today:

cavemanmirrorHumanity has only, within the last 3-5000 years (and really only in the last few hundred) been able to few their own visage in a mirror.

Prehistoric humans never knew what they, themselves, looked like. Sure they could look into a clear pond (or often a wide darken bowl) and hope it was still and thereby get some idea of their appearance. But mirrors came to be — for the wealthy — only a few millennia ago (copper and bronze polished things that barely worked “through a mirror, darkly”) and with silvered glass, only about 200 years ago.
[Wikipedia has a brief history of the mirror.]

My thoughts are with those folks before the Greeks, Egyptians, and Sumerians (Narcissus did looked into a pool and fall in love, and Socrates talked about being able to see one’s image). Imagine going through life never knowing what you looked like. Do I look like pa? Or ma? Oof! The mystic man there is one ugly dude, do I look like him?

We take so many things for granted today. Being able to see one’s self in a mirror is one we seldom consider. Is is possible that superficial vanity, the vanity of appearance, came to be only in the recent past? How would your thoughts of yourself change were you to have never seen yourself in a mirror?


9 responses to “Mirror, mirror

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