Crucial is the Mirror
From time immemorial, the mirror has always been an object of wonder. Ponder it considerable abilities, its unique properties, it mystic gifts.
While it has no vision, it nevertheless sees with a clarity that is crystal and clear. It shines, reflects, echo’s and reveals as far as the eye can see, from one generation to the next. It has no voice but nonetheless speaks, sometimes by whisper, oft-times in shout. It has no hands yet eternally records, its notations meticulously kept. It does not move yet transports us from here to there; from now to when. To the mirror, space and time are meaningless.
While a thing inanimate, it is both teacher that instructs and physician that heals. It is a photographer that snaps our world, a scribe which documents our life, the ultimate communicator, the best storyteller, the wittiest raconteur with tales that entertain and amuse. And its whimsy, its sense of humor is second only to God.
So too is its power. Its ability to perceive and determine, shape and influence is unparalleled. It matters not if locked in a closet or abandoned to an attic. With a cyclopean eye that cannot close but never blinks, it observes. Always there and ever-present, it is a rope, a magnet, and a whirlpool that sucks us in; that demands and receives our attention. Seldom can we pass it by without glancing in its direction.
Ironically, the mirror cares not for self yet is solely about our self-awareness, self-identity, self assessment, and self-esteem. Thus, we look not at or upon the mirror. We gaze into it, as it in turn peers into us. The mirror is but a portal, a gateway into our delicate souls. It brings the light and the dark buried deep within us, to the surface to be reflected back upon us, for our edification; for our contemplation.
And on those rare occasions when we dare to ignore it, the mirror watches our every move as do all other reflective surfaces the mirror calls kin, including each pool of water, all window panes and every polished table. Whether plain or barouche, new or cracked, it matters not. The mirror is more than simple furnishing and far greater than household adornment. The mirror is beauty. The mirror is magic.
For no matter how distressing, despite our sensibilities, regardless our emotional fragility, the mirror is never unaware and always honest. Its sole and exclusive purpose is to reveal the truth; only the truth. Therein lays its value.
In this era of Michael Brown and police brutality, Ray Price and domestic violence, ISIS, terrorism and apartheid as well as untold ambiguities too numerous to count, it is tempting to judge and to do so harshly. It is convenient to conclude that only we are correct; that only ours is the moral path. Any who dare to disagree are more than wrong and worse than savages. They are an evil which deserve our scorn and merits our indignation.
But in this world of ever shifting grey’s and alternative realities we cannot be too hasty in our decisions; too cocksure of our determinations. Consider the current state of affairs.
While domestic violence is a scourge, it is not so simple as man bad, woman good. Life is not a snapshot. It is instead a feature-length movie with numerous characters, acts, scenes and plot twists galore. Thus, we are not defined by a single moment, whether our highest or lowest. Rather, it is the totality of our existence by which we are measured.
We must therefore ask if it is morally acceptable to sacrifice a single person, much less an entire family in order to advance a political or personal agenda, regardless as to how virtuous said agenda might be? We must ponder whose interest is being served by the intentional exploitation of a personal embarrassment? We cannot help but question how a victim can be made whole, a victimizer redeemed or a wound healed if the situation is never forgotten and the wrong never forgiven?
Where fratricidal is the norm how can we complain about death from without but ignore it from within? Think of the number of African-Americans murdered since Michael Brown. Reflect upon those dispatched by their own. And contemplate the passive acceptance, the deafening silence that has accompanied their passing.
Furthermore, while war and conflict are all too real, should either side decapitate by blade, dismember by bomb or obliterated by missile, notwithstanding our foreign policy interest, despite our international grievances?
The very power of the mirror lay in the resolution of these and other moral dilemmas. The mirror compels us to ask the hard questions of ourselves our perceptions and our motives. It forces us to consider that which we wish to ignore and/or cannot see. It tempers our worst instincts by revealing our worst flaws. It checks our egos, ensuring they do not get the better of us lest we become the monsters we so vehemently disparage. In so doing, the mirror holds us accountable for who we are and the world we create. This is the import of the mirror. This is why the mirror is so vital.
Hence, we must gaze upon the mirror’s light. For it tells us more than whether our hair is straight. It reveals more than our girth, the lay of our attire, or the state of our complexion. The mirror shows us if our hands are clean. The mirror reveals who and what we are. The mirror reflects our very humanity or the lack thereof.
The mirror can not function however, unless and until we use it. Its hoodoo and moral authority exist if and only if we have the courage to gaze into its passive lens, perceive the images it reflects, listen to the message it communicates and conduct ourselves accordingly.
It is only by enduring the mirror’s cold, unblinking stare can we hope to prevail. It is only by constantly questioning ourselves do we dare to prosper. Absent our intentional gaze, the mirror has no power. Sans our active introspection, our unwavering self-examination, the mirror’s magic is lost.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum