Break the Mirror

Creative Writing Prompt: Assume that the closest solar system is identical to ours in every which way. In the year 2050 you and a group of astronauts are sent off to visit its version of planet earth. Half ways there you are intercepted by a rocket ship that is a splitting image to your own. The vessel is even carrying the same number of passengers, all of whom look exactly like your own crew. As the Caption you open a channel to the other ship and are greeted by an alien who looks and behaves just like you! It is as though you are looking into a mirror. During your first few attempts at communication you both imitate each other. How would you go about speaking with this person, considering that they think exactly like you, and have acquired all the same experiences/memories as yourself? Before you give word to your plan of action, reflect deeply upon the following aphorism by Heraclitus: “Whoever cannot seek the unforeseen sees nothing, for the known way is an impasse.” (Keep your response within 300 words)

Due to the nature of this sort of inquiry, it may be best to exclude my own response, at least for the time being, so as to avoid biasing your manner of address. Now on the other hand, should you conceive this situation as a conundrum without resolution, then some leniency on my part may help to extricate your mind from Lethe’s black abyss. That is to say if you are really stuck, then read on for additional perspective, if not, then stay on your own horse to run the course.

For those of you who are still with me in thought, let us turn our attention back upon the aforementioned aphorism: ‘Whoever cannot seek the unforeseen sees nothing, for the known way is an impasse.’ How we typically relate with one another – the known way – will by no means help us with this quest. This basically means that we have to think outside of the box. So what must we do in order to seek the unforeseen; detect the unknown; locate the unanticipated. Ah ha, this is where intelligence takes the back seat while the imagination steps up to bat. Now you are primed and ready for battle! Grab on to a line of thought that is beyond your scope of understanding so as to swing into action. Don’t break a leg, as they say, but pierce through the surface layer of your mental confinement. “Fire penetrates the lump of myrrh, until the joining bodies die and rise again in smoke called incense.” – Heraclitus


About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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8 Responses to Break the Mirror

  1. Andrew Tulloch says:

    Since I do see no way out of this problem, I would accept and enjoy the bizarre nature of the situation. Perhaps reenact Taxi Driver’s “You talkin’ to me?!” If this situation is truly parallel in every conceivable way, then there is no possible thought I could conjure up and act on that would not be mimicked simultaneously by my doppelganger. So, my short answer would be to sit back and enjoy the show!

    • So you believe there is no possible way for you and the other Captain to take turns asking one another questions; very well, so would you continue with your mission or turn around and go back home?

  2. Andrew Tulloch says:

    I would continue with the mission for curiosity alone. However, consequentially it would be as if I did return home. My doppleganger would continue on to my home and do all the things I am doing in his world. Hence, I would be mindful of all my actions visiting this world. Although this ought not be that stressful, since this is the same as how I behave right now. I act with the knowledge that my actions have a direct consequence in the world I live in.

    • Are you certain that the other’s version of NASA would receive you and your crew with open arms; they may think that you are all suffering with some kind of space disorientation and never let you return home. Would you really allow your doppleganger to be a father to your actual son…

      • Andrew Tulloch says:

        Good question. If that world’s NASA rejected my arrival, the same would be for my world and my doppleganger’s arrival since everything is mirrored. If however I was allowed to arrive and visit the doppleganger family, I would make it clear that I am not the person they think I am. And since everything is mirrored, I know my doppleganger would be doing the same thing on my world. I was forced to stay against my will for the reasons you mentioned, I would do my best to return however I can, which of course my doppleganger would also be doing.

      • That was a good come back! Thank you for that.

    • Continuing with the mission based on ‘curiosity alone’ is likely to be in violation of protocol. If you fail to enter into dialogue with the other Captain, then in a sense you are willingly putting yourself and your crew into a precarious situation. As your acting Admiral I would not look lightly on your breach, knowing full well that there is a way to enter into a constructive conversation with the other Captain. True, if you both flip a coin to determine who goes first, then you’ll both get the same side of the coin every time. But look at the whole picture at once. At present you see the other reality as a mirror to your own but you will have to remove that mirror in order to engage the other. Remember that you are ASSUMING that the other solar system is identical to your own. So the dialectical interplay between you and the other is all that more critical, because it will help determine the validity of your belief, and thus justify your course of action, whether it is to go forward or abort the mission.

      Again, HOW would you go about speaking with this other version of you? Do consider that the aphorisms of Heraclitus are your way in. As you are aware the Logos is his overarching concept, which he often symbolizes as fire. Think upon fire, and you will attain both orientation and dialogue with the other.

      • Andrew Tulloch says:

        Haha indeed regarding the Admiral! An occupational hazard of having a philosopher as captain lol. Yes quite right it was assuming the entire solar system is perfectly identical. To answer your question on how I would engage with the other would be to do what I can to break the mimicking and see if anything works (as you mentioned the need to test the hypothesis that we are truly identical). Actually I’m not aware of the aphorisms of Heraclitus, but you have sparked my interest and I’ll take a look. And you may be right an answer may very well be there 🙂

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