Smoke and Mirrors

That’s me on the right!

Last night at the Nuit Blanche I saw an intriguing work of art on display within the Hôtel de Ville. It was amazingly simple and profoundly spiritual. I actually missed it the first time…..I walked back in its room to look for my friends and it was only then I understood its message. I missed it because the work by Véronique Joumard (Miroirs 2003 – more pix here) is just three unadorned horizontally long mirrors. And then when I looked at them, I didn’t see myself….I was just a blur. What’s the point of this? I thought.  But then, I noticed that although I couldn’t see myself I COULD see others in the room….how cool is that! A mirror that doesn’t let you see yourself, but only lets you see OTHERS! Absolutely brilliant!

The mirror must be the most egocentric, vain tool ever created by humanoids. What percentage of my mirror usage is for the sole purpose of total concentration on how I look? 80%? 95%? 99%? But for a few fleeting moments in time, Véronique Joumard has created a tiny corner of the world where it is NOT all about me…I am allowed to gaze into the mirror and only see others.   So what if life were more like that? What if I carried this experience out into the real world and spent less time focusing on myself and more time on the “others” around me? This is the essence of all religion. This is what makes us truly human. This is what gives meaning to life. This is what separates fellow humans beings like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and Jean Vanier from the rest of us….they reorganized their lives to focus on others.

Now, the next time you look in the mirror….think of one other person that you can focus on during the day.