I am reading this very interesting book by Jorge Luis Borges called ‘On Writing’. It is a collection of his essays. I loved these lines from the essay, ‘Ultra Manifesto’, “Two aesthetics exist: the passive aesthetic of mirrors and the active aesthetic of prisms. Guided by the former, art turns into a copy of the environment’s objectivity or the individual’s psychic history. Guided by the latter, art is redeemed, makes the world into its instrument, and forges- beyond spatial and temporal prisons- a personal vision.”
I do not know why but these lines took me back to childhood when fairy tales took us to a different world, a world of imagination where anything and everything was possible. I remembered ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’. Fortunately in those days we just accepted a story and all that happened in it. We never analyzed. Now, reading those lines by Borges, I thought the wicked witch desperately wanted to be the most beautiful woman. The mirror passively reflected her desire, her obsessive desire. We always see in the mirror what we want to see. The advertisements of all those ‘Fair and Lovely’ creams come to mind. In our country a lot of importance and appreciation is given to those who are fair. It is unfortunate. The manufacturers of these creams take advantage of people who are not happy with what they see in the mirror.
Going back to the wicked witch, the moment she saw Snow White, she realized that there was someone more beautiful than her. The mirror reflected her thoughts. Once again I am thankful we accepted stories just as they were and enjoyed ourselves.:)) Too much analysis spoils everything.
Unlike mirrors, prisms are so alive, the light that passes through them seems to have a life of its own. In a way the prisms do not show what we want to see, we have to accept what they want to show us. Thinking about mirrors and prisms and glasses my thoughts went to my laptop and Skype. We talk to our daughter and grandson and we can see each other. My father-in-law was filled with wonder to see his great grandson in his room through the screen on the laptop. When we first started to Skype, our grandson used to say he would walk through the screen and come to our side. At that stage of life we believe in everything. There is no limit to our imagination. In those days prisms had their own fascination but even the mirror had a life of its own. My younger brother, till the age of four or five used to act out many parts in front of the mirror. :)) I have seen our grandson stand before the mirror and remain in his world of imagination.
We move on and our way of looking at life changes as life changes.
‘Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.’ ~John Betjeman, Summoned by Bells