The Mirror Theorie(S)

Okay, so I haven’t posted as much about my philosophy club as I would have liked to. Many of you might not really know what my philosophy club is. So basically, every other Tuesday we meet for an hour during club time. Last semester it was pretty orderly, but it wasn’t the best system: we grabbed a topic out of a jar that random people filled and whatever it was we debated it. There were some pretty good topics: the death penalty, love (if it actually exists (okay, so not one of our best moments)), altruism, whether we have souls or not (I already wrote a post on this one). I didn’t think it was reliable to base our debates on ideas people who weren’t even in the club added into the jar, but it was fine.

But this semester, it went crazy. Suddenly politics got super involved. (BTW, I know there’s a lot of mixed emotions, and I know the word “politics” makes everything ten times more awkward. Bare with me.) Trump was brought up, and the ban, and suddenly everything was about debating politics rather than philosophy. And I LOVE philosophy, and I have no opinions about politics, and I’ll write another post on that as well.

Anyway, whatever that is ^, has nothing really to do with the mirror theory. That’s just what my philosophy club is like. Talking about the mirror theory starts from this sentence onwards. So in my English class, we were reading Fahrenheit 451, and my teacher told us how the author Ray Bradbury is fluent in Marxism and Lacan’s mirror theory because he goes on about how Clarisse’s face is like a mirror. This got me really interested in the mirror theory (Lacan’s, the first one). The mirror theory is the idea that when you are young, your parents take you to the mirror and set the image of yourself by telling you things, such as “You’re such a good girl/boy!” When a parent shows a child their first image of themselves followed by a remark about that said child, the child’s identity is made. However, there’s a catch. That said child can never be whole. She can never see herself as a whole because the mirror is only a reflection of her whole self, not her real whole self. The theory goes on to say that the said child will spend the rest of her life trying to be the girl she sees in the mirror.

The second theory is the one I looked up afterward on my own. It’s something that I’ve heard of before and have recognized in myself before, but I didn’t know there was a name for it. There’s a high chance you’ve heard of it as well. The theory is that whatever observations you make about other people is based on how you view yourself. For example, if I thought everyone was really nice, it’s probably because I’m told/ I think/ am nice as well. If I think everyone is super competitive, it’s because I’m super competitive as well. This theory can be very helpful in the process of self-reflection, which is a process that everyone should go through at least once a month to figure out where, what, and who you are.


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