Monday, January 4, 2016

The Double Mirror Experiment

Photo Credit: David Marcu
Most people look at the world through some lens--their worldview. These are ordinary people. A few take the time to examine the different worldviews people have. These people we call philosophers. They hold up a mirror and allow us to see ourselves and the worldview we have. Even fewer people take the time to examine the worldview with which they look at other worldviews. These people we call mad. They hold up two mirrors so that you can look at one through the other.

If you value your sanity, I suggest you stop reading now.

Before you is a table. On the table is a plate. What you see on the plate depends on your perception.
Supermodel: Calories.
Five-year-old: Yummy chocolaty goodness.
Mom: A mess waiting to happen.
Torah thumper: A symbol of the pagan moon god.
Chef: A cake.

These are our worldviews. Now, this is not an exhaustive list by any means...but it will do for illustration. Each of these people are ordinary people looking at the same object on the plate--but perceiving it in different ways. Now, three philosophers enter the room. We'll call them Bob, Larry, and Steve.

Bob: See how everyone looks at the cake differently. They all see different aspects of the cake--like the different ingredients used in the cake. They are all present, but the sum is a cake.

Larry: Are you saying that the chef's worldview is superior to the others because he sees the sum whereas the others only see part? I think that all worldviews deserve equal treatment. What is right for you may not be right for me and what is right for me may not be right for you. It does not make any one worldview better than another.

Steve: No, the five-year-old holds the correct viewpoint...what is on the plate is yummy chocolaty goodness. The supermodel, the mom, and the Torah thumper are blinded by their worldviews to the yummy chocolaty goodness in front of them--and the chef is just shallow.

In analyzing the different worldviews, it is shown that the philosophers have different ways of looking at the collection of worldviews--each one has their own "worldview on worldviews." Now, let's give our philosophers a healthy dose of insanity:

Bob: Larry, both see aspects of the truth, but we all know that my view encompasses the whole. It is the blending of your two views--the balance.

Larry: Ha! Your view is no better than my view is no better than Steve's view. They all have equal merits.

Steve: Nope...I'm definitely right. You guys are wrong.

I'm really not sure how to comment on this one...

Bob, Larry, and Steve continue to fight with one another, arguing over who is right, who is wrong, whether anyone is wrong, whether anyone is right, etc. Meanwhile...

The super model leaves the table having no interest in the plate of calories before her.
The five-year-old makes a grab for the plate of yummy chocolaty goodness, while the Mom tries to stop him from digging into the mess she sees waiting to happen.
The Torah thumper preaches against all of them for allowing this pagan symbol to exist.
The chef simply admires the cake he baked.


  1. this post made me laugh and made my brain spin a little. I can only think about stuff like this for so long before I'm chasing my own tail in circles (metaphorically of course! haha.) But it is true--our worldview affects everything we look at in life, and it can be hard (if not impossible!) to truly look at things without its bias.


    1. Lol! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comment =)

  2. Great illustration of how worldviews work!

    1. Thanks, Kelsey! It's an old post, but as I am studying hermeneutics (which is intrinsically tied to worldview), I thought it relevant enough to bring out again.