Double Mirrors

© Copyright, 1995. All Rights Reserved. By Dylan Robert Tauber

[summary 3.0]

When late in my Columbia experience I was told to write a paper about how philosophers we had read in the course had dealt with explaining the human condition, I decided instead to express my own thought on the matter. I sum up these ideas with the phrase Double Mirrors, alluding to a metaphor I finally articulated in 1994, which explains man's spiritual experience as being rooted in self reflection. Here is the letter to the professor which I included in the preface:


Prof ____:

I apologize for the delay on this paper. Its nature, however, makes an "O.J. Up to the Minute" approach somewhat difficult. These ideas are the culmination of a vision quest- years of thought that very well might take even longer to communicate. This paper should be viewed as a summary of Double Mirrors, a result of the internal dialogue and self reflection that has kept me from both the "real world" and the present for the last two years. In no way should it be considered complete; I doubt I will be able to express my ideas fully in this forum. Nevertheless, I view this essay as a success and a major step forward; it provides a summary of the ideas that until now were explained only in the form of 390 pages of personal experiences, and two hard drives worth of computer images. The day I accomplish my goal of full communication of my ideas is the day I'm flying back to Tel Aviv and rejoining the waves of the Mediterranean and the New Jew. Israel, the land of the Ethiopian Woman, is, after all, the place where man has discovered the spiritual value of embracing the Present, the community, and nature. The Other. This group of spiritual scouts for humanity call themselves Israelis. I call them the New Jew. I hope someday we can all follow their example, fulfilling the prophecy that the Jews will be a light onto nations in a way that the author of these words never could have imagined.

I am extremely thankful to you for allowing me the flexibility to write about these ideas for your class. To those who would disagree with your approach: If a search for truth is out of place in this institution than it's promise of delivering an "education" is a lie. You can read forever, but when all the dust settles, your still stuck in the cave. The Emperor you call Columbia is buck naked.


Dylan Tauber






Mankind's inexhaustible quest for Truth / god / Love or however else one wishes to refer to our search for the infinite, can be accounted for by what I refer to as my theory of the Double Mirrors. Our minds function like Parallel Mirrors, producing an illusion that provides the potential of infinite significance to everything in our lives. Like most animals, our senses perceive a physical world; light reflects off tangible objects, and into the retina, sending a chemical message that is interpreted by the brain. This reflection causes other chemical functions leading to all of the natural behavior of animals. The chimpanzee sees the peanut and eats it. As Homo Sapiens, we are different ; we reflect on our existence, analyzing our sense perception from a distance. This ability to remember, to reflect on the past, in effect, provides a second "mirror" which combines with the first reflection to produce the illusion of infinity. We are like a chimpanzee living between two parallel mirrors, constantly viewing not only the peanut in front of him, but the reflection of the peanut and the reflection of the reflection and so on. As a result, we humans do not merely eat the peanut, but ponder why we are eating the peanut, what the world would be like if it were not for the peanut, and how we should properly treat the peanut, etc.. Like the illusion of infinity is produced by parallel mirrors, we construe notions of forever, immortality, the soul, god, and spirituality, etc. Once perceived, the illusion of infinity takes on a life of its own, and becomes a force infinitely more powerful than the mortal through which it was perceived. A computer can spit out 1's and 0's but only man can perceive God. Put any of the other animals (aside from higher primates and Dolphins) in front of a mirror and it will not know its own reflection. Self reflection is what makes us human.

The two mirrors of our minds produce a duality in our nature. This duality becomes metaphysical and therefore irrational, and as a result, it becomes difficult if not impossible to translate this spiritual experience into the rational framework of words.

Our Double Mirrors can be viewed as reflection of time- one reflecting the Past and the other, the Present. The two continuously reflect off of each other fueling Double Mirrors with an energy that feeds off itself. The illusion our mirrors produce takes on a life of its own, no longer dependent on the Past and Present which gave it life. It becomes an omnipotent force which transcends time. We call this force God. The internal self dialogue produced by self reflection is what we refer to as self conscienceness. Unfortunately Self is a term, like God, the Other, which has been used so much it no longer means anything. The Greeks spoke of Narcissus, the man frozen forever staring at his reflection. Self consciousness is in fact a curse unless we are able to transcend out of the past and into the present and maintain a fluid dialogue between the two. Otherwise man is forever trapped in his own head, replacing a vibrant living spirituality with a dead distorted and faded image of his past. Self consciousness is a powerful means towards making the present infinitely meaningful and even spiritual, but continuing to stare at the mirror of the past is like a pilot staring blankly at the runway, forgetting to pull back on his flight-stick, never getting off the ground. CRASH. Misery is when the past becomes an end and not a means, when life in the present is overpowered by the deadness of the past. It is he who is truly a narcissist. To live life in the past is to kill a living organism, like plucking a growing flower out of the ground and trying to display it in a glass museum case. Balancing the mirrors of our mind is the challenge of humanity. While animals need only make an orderly nest or have a good meal to achieve a perception of harmony, humans must create harmony in both of our mirrors of the world. We must have order not only in the present, but in our relationship to the past as well. This brings me to the next level of looking at Double Mirrors.

The two levels of human perception are often referred to as the brain and the soul- the physical and the spiritual. Nobody has examined this relationship better than Plato, most notably in his allegory of the cave and in the Symposium. Unfortunately thousands of years of organized religion, today's ultimate example of the dangers of obsessive focus on the past, have distorted the truth in his writings. As Nietzsche put it, Christianity is Plato for the masses.

Plato writes of people who were trapped in a cave where all we they could see is shadows of the outside world. Having relied on a perception of shadows for their entire lives, they assumed the shadows were in fact reality. One man, the visionary, if you will, finds his way out of the cave, and discovers the objects causing the shadows, and then, eventually, the light itself. Plato's allegory might seems clear yet, it has been misunderstood for thousands of years.

We are all chained to our physical sensory experience. This is the first mirror. But to focus on this level of perception is to remain trapped in the cave. Our humanity allows for an infinite quality to everything we perceive. This can be making love, swimming in the sea, or anything else for that matter. Certainly, despite what Priests and rabbis would have us believe, God is not hiding only in the rituals and dead dogma of organized religion.

As infinite images accumulate in our lives- moments of light, a kiss from your wife, a hug from your daughter, a beautiful sunset- the sum of these spiritual experiences forms what we call the soul. Our memory becomes cluttered with not only sensory experience, but spiritual moments as well. In fact the line between the two becomes rapidly blurred as each feed off the other. Love is akin to the energy that fuels the sun, a force that builds off itself, reaching infinite magnitude.

Dylan Thomas referred to the life force that "through the green fuse drives the flower." Life is the ultimate goal for a chimpanzee- self preservation, and eventually procreation to ensure the continuation of life for his species. For the Chimpanzee, this is just an instinct, but for humans, our struggle for life takes on infinite proportions. This biological instinct is translated by Double Mirrors into a quest for immortality. Love, truth, and harmony, are perceived as a victory in the endless battle of life vs. death. Even if scientists hadn't established that love and happiness (the result of truth and harmony) lead to health and long life, I trust that all sense this intuitively. Spirituality can therefore also be called a life force. God, then, is no different from the force in Dylan Thomas' poem. But to understand God, one must understand his relationship to people.

Did God create man or did man create God?



The soul is the sum of all human spiritual experiences. God is the sum of all human souls. After all, God originates from our perception of Him. God is a force that was born the day the first humans experienced love. God is irrational, and is not affected by time. Therefore, God can never die. Once God is perceived he is born for eternity, taking on a life of His own. A life force. All future human experiences of love/truth/harmony only make him stronger. Man's perception that God created man becomes retroactively true; it is a spiritual sentiment, and the logical argument that the moment of time when man perceived God had to have happened after man was already created does not apply. On the spiritual level, that which is perceived becomes true. God is the collection of all the love energy in the universe, a force that fuels off its own energy, that can only become stronger. We serve God by adding love energy to the universe.


But energy flows both ways. Just as our minds create an infinite experience for life, we create an infinite experience when we destroy as well. A scratch on one of our mirrors becomes projected for eternity down the infinite regression. This spiritual dissonance takes on spiritual proportions; the demon is born. Holy wars in the name of religion, lies in the name of God, human self destruction on the spiritual level, this is the ultimate threat to the survival of our species. A force of evil was born the first time humans experienced hate. On the physical level, this force is referred to as inertia, entropy, disease, or whatever other physical manifestation the destruction embodies. Like God, these forces are rooted in our perception of them. They are made stronger as we continue to fuel their energy with anger, fear, and destruction both of the self and the other. To ask which force is stronger God or His opposite is the same as to ask, are people inherently good or evil. I believe we are more good than anything else but ultimately we each only know what is in our own soul. The real question should be- how can I conquer my own battle against the demons in my head. Love begins with the Other, hate begins with the Self. The day we all act towards the goal of Love is the day the force of Life will be victorious.

To reduce the forces of Love and the forces of Destruction to words devoid of meaning such as "God" and the "Devil" is to be stuck in the cave, staring at the finger instead of the moon for eternity. Only when the meaning behind these words is truly understood does speaking about these ideas take on any value.

Humanity's inherent infinite force has already been harnessed for destruction. This was the big achievement of my grandparents generation, in what we know as the atom bomb. Only months ago, I was taking art classes at Columbia University in the actual building the university used to conduct the Manhattan Project. This was barely talked about, and everything was peachy, but I think its a disgrace. University's, are the churches of our cultures newest religion- Science. They are bastions of all that we hold sacred- libraries of books, and professors who preach enlightenment through empirical study- and the ultimate achievement of all this was Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Science has failed. Let us now search for a higher truth.

On a smaller scale, the effects of negative flowing infinite energy affect all of us as individuals in our personal lives. When we are happy, it doesn't matter why, but when we're fighting an internal demon, what we don't know about ourselves becomes significant. Self knowledge becomes the ultimate arsenal in this war. To know ourselves fully, is made difficult by our inability to differentiate between different planes of reality. What we assume to be dissonant on the physical level often has routes in the spiritual. A tiny distortion in one corner of one of the parallel mirrors of our minds causes the birth of a distortion in every one of the infinitely descending mirrors. I refer to this scratch as demon. (This would be depressing were it not for the encouraging prospects of the converse: harmony on all levels of reality produces a soul of infinite power). The problem with a vision of truth is that we can look the other way and pretend its not there. We can lie and steal, and destroy. Fear, the root of all destructive forces, builds off itself just like Love. Fear and panic is what spreads fastest between people. Hatred, anger, jealousy, and all other negative emotions are merely a response to some sort of fear.

To speak in terms of Plato's allegory, what appears to be true in the cave is not really understood until the light that is causing this shadow is identified as well. Only when we have examined both mirrors do we truly Know. Scientists and doctors tell us all can be understood rationally, but despite complex computer algorithms and bar graphs our society is still in a state of decay. In medicine, treating cancer with all the appropriate drugs is useless if the patient's spiritual will to live has died. What makes us so open to the exploitation of doctors and pharmaceutical companies is the same thing that has empowered charlatans and witch doctors for centuries. We are scared of what we don't understand; we'll listen to the first false prophet who claims to have a cure. But the moment we all understand ourselves, our spirituality, and where it comes from, it is we who will be empowered. It is than that we will transcend to a spiritual existence where we can understand that what we assume to be true (science, rational thought,), what we believe to be sacred (physical rituals of religion, libraries, etc.) are in fact mere shadows of a higher irrational spiritual Truth. Coming out of the cave and staring at a bright light is painful- "truth hurts," they wisely say- but there is ultimately nothing more worthwhile than this goal- transcending to Truth/Love/God.

In the Symposium Plato tackles the question of what is Love. He writes that "through loving young boys correctly" one can transcend to a higher appreciation of love itself. "If anyone could become immortal it would be he," he adds. Hidden in these few words is Plato's contribution to Western civilization's struggle to find higher truth. Plato is arguing that it is possible to find a spiritual Love through embracing the physical. Through establishing harmony in the first mirror, harmony in the second mirror will follow. This idea was eventually perverted in Judaism and Christianity when Priests and Rabbis decided to decree only specific physical rituals as permissible for the masses. This was a wise political move- if such an easy and natural way of reaching God as sex was encouraged by an organized religion, nobody would bother spending time on less pleasurable interaction with the religion's clergy. Why go to church if you can stay home, have sex, and if done "correctly" as Plato writes, accomplish the same goal. If Double Mirrors is understood, however, it becomes clear that transcendence is theoretically possible through attaining harmony through anything on the physical level, and the idea of limiting the process to rote acts such as eating matzoh on Passover or participating in Mass and eating a wafer, the body of Jesus is understood as being nothing more than shadows.

The irony (God's sense of humor) is that even as the founders of Judaism and Christianity were actively adding to man's spiritual confusion with lies, rhetoric and dead dogma, they unknowingly tapped into yet another form of spirituality. When the second mirrors of the masses atrophy in the dead system of shadows in organized religion, a new source of spirituality is pulled into the vacuum. The primary mirrors of each member of the community begin to reflect off eachother, forming an infinitely complex formation of multiple irregular reflections. Indeed this energy is born in any close knit group with a collective memory. A spiritual energy is born in the community which bounces off the mirrors of each member, gathering momentum continually. So what is lacking in the spirituality of the individual in the religion is made up for in the community, like a group of cripples all leaning on eachother for balance. As in the self contained spiritual energy of the individual, this spirituality develops an energy that feeds off itself, reaching infinite levels. Certainly, there is no energy more powerful than the energy created between people. Mirrors of the Self aligned with the Other, an entire group connected to form spiritual energy of unimaginable magnitude.

One might even argue that the potential spirituality in groups of people is stronger than in any individual. If this is the case, just imagine how much more spirituality would exist in a community with a system allowing for each member to also attain transcendence individually. This is only possible in a system where everyone is completely free to conduct his or her own spiritual search. As with the sphere revolving around Truth, the number of possible paths is endless. The core of the sphere can be reached with an infinite amount of different lines from the sphere. When all the shadows are put aside, man's vision of the infinite- God/love/truth- exists independent of organized religion, and is in fact rooted in the inherent double mirrors of our individual minds. As we approach the millennium we can not depend on religion to keep us together- organized religion has failed. We must realize that as human beings, we are all fundamentally the same. We are searching for the same elusive vision. We all need love. And when we find this harmony, we are all the same. The paths vary, but the destination is one.

At no point should the examination of the identity of our Double Mirrors overshadow the most significant element of the theory- its result. Let us not focus on the finger to the point where we ignore the moon; an examination of the mechanism will only have meaning as long as the end product is understood. The fundamental theme established by the Double Mirror mechanism is clear- i.e., as humans we are, by nature, spiritual. Those who say they don't believe in God will eventually admit to believing in some other metaphysical form of total harmony. God, Love, Truth- these words are synonymous. Regardless of which semantics we chose to embrace- morality, spirituality, truth, love, the Great Spirit, Allah,- the meaning is the same. We must transcend the shadows of these words. Atheists say they don't believe in god. I don't believe in atheists.

But even more dangerous than atheism, is the belief that God is a force which authorizes us to kill, destroy. Car bombs in the name of God. Massacring Moslem worshipers in Hebron, fighting over who has the right to dig a tunnel under a holy stone. There is no such thing as partial harmony- if a religious act does not embody both truth and love, it is nothing but a lie. What makes humanity so dangerous, however, is that a sense of infinite significance can come from destructive acts as well. In fact this Dark Side of the Force is not rooted in a spiritual dialogue, it is our own infinite energy turned inward, overflowing and consuming the self. All aggression to others is actually self destruction, considering that we only leave our Selves when we love. A ritual like a Jihad might inspire the same levels of manic euphoria induced by intense prayer, but outside of the cave the lie is exposed. A killer of woman and children cannot possibly be in harmony with both himself and his environment. Clearly such an act is contrary to his animal nature (animals don't murder) and obviously adds dissonance to his environment (his community). His own perception of this evil is what will project this stain into each of the infinitely descending mirrors of his soul. Despite the relativism that is being preached to us by every professor with a pen, there is an absolute. Love.


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  • The Double Mirrors theory by Dylan Tauber, was first submitted as a paper for a class at Columbia University in 1994.
  • The Double Mirrors theory was registered in the US Copyright office in 1995.
  • In 1999, The Double Mirror Theory was included on the Project Double Mirrors CD ROM- released for Mac and PC.
  • "Double Mirrors," in paperback and hardcover format, was published on 2/1/02, and as an e-book in 2013.
  • The Double Mirrors Theory has been available online on since January, 2000.
  • is one of the only artist websites still online since 1996.
  •  If you want to hear more, please e-mail me

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