-DW Winnicot, from Playing and RealityNaturally, there are half-way stages in this scheme of things. Some babies do not quite give up hope and they study the object and do all that is possible to see in the object some meaning that ought to be there if only it could be felt. Some babies, tantalized by this type of relative maternal failure, study the variable maternal visage in an attempt to predict the mother’s mood, just exactly as we all study the weather. The baby quickly learns to make a forecast: ‘Just now it is safe to forget the mother’s mood and to be spontaneous, but any minute the mother’s face will become fixed or her mood will dominate, and my own personal needs must then be withdrawn otherwise my central self may suffer insult.’Immediately beyond this in the direction of pathology is predictability, which is precarious, and which strains the baby to the limits of his or her capacity to allow for events. This brings a threat of chaos, and the baby will organize withdrawal, or will not look except to perceive, as a defense. A baby so treated will grow up puzzled about mirrors and what the mirror has to offer. If the mother’s face is unresponsive, then a mirror is a thing to be looked at but not to be looked into.To return to the normal progress of events, when the average girl studies her face in the mirror she is reassuring herself that the mother-image is there and that the mother can see her and that the mother is en rapport with her. When girls and boys in their secondary narcissism look in order to see beauty and to fall in love, there is already evidence that doubt has crept in about their mother’s continued love and care. So the man who falls in love with beauty is quite different from the man who loves a girl and feels she is beautiful and can see what is beautiful about her.
"Push your face closer to the mirror, until your eyes can seemingly look into themselves (they include the other in their peripheral vision). Now focus on the world behind you, over your shoulder. What are you seeing? You are seeing the world behind you, while at the same time in the corner of your eye, you see your own eyes turned to the side. You see yourself looking. Now look back at your face. For a second, you see one eye, then your vision “snaps” to the “correct” focal length to see your face. Maybe your nose is so big, like mine, that it is somewhat out of focus if you look into your own eyes. Suddenly you see your familiar “2D” face is really in 3D. It’s disturbing, unusual, distancing. The sequence of focus on one thing, then on another, all the while knowing that you are looking at one continuous face (something that you usually don’t experience when looking at faces, this sequence of movement and focusing). You’ll feel a kind of vertigo, but remember, you’re right here, the actual 3D you, the whole time, looking into a mirror. If you felt some vertigo as you “moved and focused” back into your “true self,” that is the point.
We see ourselves and then we see a frame and then we see the wall and a ghostly image of our nose, and we see, out of the corner of our eye, someone (us?) in a flat surface on the wall, who also looks like we are looking down and to their (our?) right. It is difficult to explain, it is easier to just go over to a mirror and look."
"...so we see the search that characterizes the deluded mind is for a profound “answer.” The simple answer is that the simple and the profound are the same thing, that flatness and roundness and identity and non-identity coexist in a larger dimension of emptiness. Simple obvious everyday mind, thoughts, and things are in fact “profound” and a path to liberation in the sense that they make up part of a wide and deep co-ordinated co-dependent symbol space which is always dialectically in motion. And this dialectic movement proceeds, via the mirroring of emptiness itself-as-itself-mirroring to itself in itself-as-mirror, and we now comprehend this as a hall of mirrors in infinite "space." The stepping to the side and seeing the line between one image and the mirror and an infinite "meta-space" of meaning and non-meaning, this is how mirroring is itself seen. From this angle we see the frame mirroring itself. This movement is not our movement but is in fact stillness, is seeing that the mirror itself moves."
-Jean-Luc Heilegra, from a footnote about this Gasoline Alley Sunday strip in Method and Being
Here's some diagrams I drew while reading Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature by Richard Rorty last year. I don't expect these diagrams will necessarily make much sense to anyone since I'm using my own, like, private language, which is still under construction. Nor will they clear up anything about the book, which is anyways already pretty clear, I think. In other words, I didn't draw them to illustrate the book. (Though I would like to do more comics or diagrams to clearly illustrate philosophy or nonfiction books someday. If you're looking to put out an edition of Mirror of Nature with illustrations by Kevin H, please give me a call!) But these fall more in the category of "inspired by" or notes to myself. All the stuff about dialectics are my own ideas and I'm not even sure I know what I'm talking about yet. Ideally I would type out some paragraphs trying to explain what you're looking at, but I think I'll just put them up as is for now.