Mirrors in mind - R. L. (Richard Langton) GregoryOxford, New York & Heidelberg: W. H. Freeman Spektrum, 1997, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Previous owners' name & date to the first blank.
Includes: Figures; Black & white photographs; Colour photographs; Black & white drawings; References;
From the cover: “Mirrors fascinate us — they can reveal and they can delude; and they reflect nature for both science and art. The precious and magic objects of history still set us curious puzzles, such as the left-right reversed mirror writing, which has confused philosophers and scientists — and most people — through the ages.
Reflections in water and shiny metal, as well as in dark glass, have evoked ghostly mythologies and theories of mind. The ancient Egyptian notion of one’s Ka, separate from oneself and continuing to live in the tomb, and the once universally held belief of a mindful soul separate from the body, were both very likely suggested by people seeing themselves in the ghostly world of untouchable mirror images. The Doppelgangers of literature and psychoanalysis may have been suggested by seeing our ghostly other-selves in sacred lakes and, later, in metal mirrors of burnished copper, silver and gold.
It is odd biologically that we cannot see our own faces without mirrors, for facial expressions are keys to reading others’ minds, and revealing (or concealing) our own emotions and intentions. Reactions to mirrors have been used for assessing the sense of Self in babies, and in other animals — by seeing whether they touch their reflection through the mirror, or themselves in front of it — thus going some way to test theories of Self, in philosophy and psychology. Understanding how mirrors provide images reveals to us the strange properties of light and of matter. And the huge mirrors of telescopes enable us to see the distant reaches of the Universe.
In this highly unusual and deeply fascinating book, Richard Gregory provides us with a rich and a varied feast from the world of mirrors: mirrors in science, in art, and in history. Thousands of years of questioning and experimenting have led to an ever more surprising understanding of light, of matter, and of mind. Who could have guessed that mirrors are like radio aerials, and like tuning forks; and yet through the strangeness of light they are not quite like anything else at all. It is high time, believes Richard Gregory, to look, and to reflect, with mirrors in mind.”