Recently I was told about one interesting hypothesis that explains the origin of mirrors, or rather, the true reasons why we, humans started to use them (and why we lost this skills now).
Like many other novel and revelational ideas, this also looks like a complete nonsense at first, but the more I explore the evidences (very scattered, I have to admit), the more I am inclined to believe that this theory may explains much more accurately many facts (and artifacts) that puzzle other approaches .
In a nutshell this hypothesis comes down to the following: in the ancient times, people somehow managed to grasp (and subsequently effectively use) the basic property of mirrors – their intimate relationship with each other, the fact that all the mirror surfaces are interconnected into one giant network, like the Internet.
According to some researchers, people could not get this knowledge themselves, therefore they had to introduce all sort of Aliens into their ontologies. But evidently everything can be explained without any external and/or supernatural forces as well; we, the people, are not so incompetent as it may seem.
The details of this process, i.e., exactly how this knowledge was gained, are not yet clear. Modern archaeological research (for example, the earliest mirror-making workshop recently discovered in China or the glass mirrors that we keep findings in the ancient Indian temples - although in all these cases I better say “mirrors”) show that the old masters have a good understanding of these relationships of mirrors to each other. Which completely changes the meaning and purpose of these reflective surfaces in a first place! Their main “benefit” would be, therefore, not the ability to reflect something in the proximity of a mirror, but rather the ability to show something that is far away, something that is visible “from” some other mirror.
In essence, these ‘mirrors’ would work as a modern television, or more precisely, modern laptops connected via the Internet! The fact that you can also see yourself from time to time in the laptop’s screen is merely a by-product. In fact, it’s rather harmful by-product, because, as we all know, these reflections only hinder our interactions with the “real content” (e.g., the lines of text you are currently reading).
The point was, of course, is not only to figure our the exact alloy from which thse ‘mirrors’ should be melted (or later the recipe of glass, and craft of glass-blowing) – these technology were all very important, but not sufficient. It was as important, if not more, to go through special psychological, metal training that would make eye (or rather your mind, or ‘spirit) to see through such a mirror, far beyond its surface (it would be better to call such devices ‘visors’).
For example, the mural of the Miran Stupa in Xinjiang District of China (^ above) shows Buddha coaching his students how to use such “visor” (unfortunately, these frescos are in bad shape now, they are almost destroyed – but even that we have consider a miracle, because such traces of the ancient use of visors had been meticulously destroyed later, and the knowledge of both how to craft such devices as well as how to use them became indeed “A Big Secret”.
As a result, we currently live in a cargo-cult culture with regard to mirrors – we entirely lost the knowledge about their true purpose and the skills to use the ‘visors’. Instead, we produce so-called ‘mirrors’, in which we can only recognize ourselves, not realizing that this is, perhaps, the least interesting part.
As I said, this ancient knowledge and skills had been aggressively persecuted, and all the artifacts and signs (and even hints to their existence) vigorously destroyed (I am going to write later on about this crusade again ‘scrying’, which was widespread in Europe in the Middle Ages).
What we have now are scattered remains, sometimes indeed just hints, in various manuscripts and paintings. It makes it even more important to collect at least those those manifestations of this old practice that survived.
For example, I have recently came across an illumination that could be an exampele of this old forgotten practice, that illustrates one of the editions of the allegorical poems written by mysterious Cistercian monk who lived in France in the 13th century.
His name was Guillaume de Deguileville:
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