One of Franz Bardon’s exercises is to spend a month writing down as many personal faults as you can think of and then a month writing down all of the positive traits you can think of. He calls this a mirror and it is known as Bardon’s Mirror. In fact, if you follow Bardon through, the next step is to assign an element to each fault and virtue (Fire, Earth, Water, Air) and see which element dominates and which is weak so you can work on addressing an elemental balance within yourself. It is actually a very hard thing to do. I have tried several times and never been truly happy with the results because plainly, I’m blind to my traits. I did ask a few close friends but despite getting some good feedback, they really don’t want to upset you either right? I also found that it is easier to write negatives about yourself than positives – which came as a bit of a surprise. I’m a bit airy it seems.
Anyway, it is something worth doing even if you don’t get to the entire truth. What I discovered also is that many negative traits can also be positive so critiquing yourself can actually have the wrong result. Let’s say for example, I think I have a huge ego and that this is an issue – a negative trait. OK, but without an ego, would I write, make music, blog? Is that then a negative trait? Actually, having a bit of an ego is a necessity for many things and can be viewed positively. Perhaps I think myself a giving and unselfish person and that is positive. But, isn’t that how I have been abused and taken advantage of in life so many times so perhaps that giving nature is a negative trait? Perhaps one has to consider these traits and virtues in a more balanced way – each is the other face of something opposite and where is my balance between those? Perhaps my giving nature is a negative trait because I have never learned to say no and stand my ground? Perhaps ego is a positive trait because it is something useful in terms of drive? In both instances, my ‘balance’ can be moved by stress, anger, unease and so many other emotions/situations and swing to the opposite end of the scale. So the exercise was doubly useful as it highlighted an elemental imbalance per Bardon and showed me that it really is about finding the balance in life. The more I look and think about such things the more I despair that actually, there is no hard and fast answer. There is no single truth to be found but rather a range of options for different circumstances and thus it becomes about you as a person through life as opposed to you as a static person this minute…. if you follow?
Anyway. That got my thought juices flowing and thinking about social media in terms of a mirror. The initial thought was that I tend to post what is on my mind at any time and to do so as a form of diary that is open to my social media friends. Actually, this is dangerous because I cannot be sure that these thoughts and reactions won’t be used against me either by those very people I shared them with or the platform itself. Imagine if a reactionary and totalitarian government came to power and was able to see your FB or Twitter page? Could be terminal.
There is another problem though and that is mirroring. Once you start to post and like and join groups, the AI engine behind the platform gives you more of the same. Before you know it, you are in a personal echo chamber receiving confirmation that your views are correct and Ok. It is comfortable to live in this little echo chamber as no one is arguing you are wrong in fact, everyone is thinking just like you. It’s rather scary actually and I believe behind many of the issues we now face as a society. People come to think that their views are shared by a majority when in fact, they are simply echoing. They are then utterly shocked by an election or something that goes the other way.
I just killed all of my twitter accounts because of this. I mean its a place where you shout your views from a hilltop and attract people who are similar and read their hilltop shouts…. what an utter vacuous waste of time and how dangerous. Facebook may be next but I use it as an outlet and also for marketing so….its harder to wean myself off it. However, reading back some of my commentary, I can see how people may gain an utterly false impression of me just from FB…. I’m not sure I like that idea.
But it did make me think about the Bardon’s mirror exercise again. Am I able to really dissect myself dispassionately or am I eternally stuck inside my own echo chamber? I’m a good guy you know…how could I not be? The things I do are positive mostly and not hurting anyone…. or am I? I am at least expressing myself and I am trying to improve myself but if I can’t actually see the flaws I’m wasting my time…. aren’t I? Well no, I’m doing my best with what I have to work with and the more I do it, the more I become aware of things that need to be looked at. Again, its looking at yourself through time as opposed to the static you.