The World As A Mirror

During the past couple of months, I’ve been exploring an unlikely “rabbit hole” or particular aspect of technology. It was actually a reawakening of one of my childhood obsessions–aviation. It was an interest that I could not pursue as an occupation because I’ve always had noticeable vision problems and certain other physical limitations. So, the desire to fly an aircraft or travel to Outer Space has only been latent, below the surface for decades of my life.

One April afternoon this year, while I was picking up litter and twigs that had fallen into the yard, I heard a twin-engine turboprop airplane flying in low from the east. I looked up at it and traced the plane’s trajectory for a few moments. Its path eventually intersected with my view of the Sun. To protect my eyes, I instinctively looked back at the ground. The airplane’s shadow zipped along the yard and over my body in an instant. The coincidental experience caused a pleasant shiver up my spine.

The chill inspired me to later search for pilot training videos on YouTube. The almighty search engine algorithm displayed a link to “Mentour Pilot”. So, I clicked on it. Soon, a personable, charismatic redheaded, Swedish pilot appeared on my screen. He began explaining some of the features of an airliner’s cockpit. Petter Hörnfeldt is a certified flight instructor and is employed as a captain of a Boeing 737 airliner. He is a skillful speaker, who seasons his presentations with a subtle sense of humor. I couldn’t resist watching more from Hörnfeldt’s channel.

Some of his videos are harrowing tales of aircraft accidents and disasters. He outlines each doomed flight from beginning to end while explaining the technical details of an airplane’s physical limitations and vulnerabilities along with instances of pilot error. Need I mention that these videos completely captured my full attention?

Due to the binge-watching of Hörnfeldt’s channel, the algorithm suggested other aviation related videos. Most of them turned out to be air crash mini-documentaries with an eye on solving the mysteries of why the accidents happened.

After watching a great number of disaster videos, I reflected on how they influenced my view of flying. I was becoming less enamored with air travel. There were soon far fewer training videos in my video feed and many more accident videos. The algorithm’s suggested results revealed how far off my attention had wandered away from pilot training videos. In this manner, the algorithm had become very toxic.

In a deeper sense, the algorithm was only reflecting what I had been paying attention to. You might say that my airplane viewing was taking a severe nose-dive. I realized the error and began pulling up my attention in order to regain the intended “flight path” of watching pilot training videos.

While evaluating how the algorithm became sidetracked from instructional to disaster oriented videos, it occurred to me that since I had “encouraged” the change in direction, that the algorithm was only a mirror that reflected my immediate fascinations.

Further introspection led to remembering that one’s life can be thought of as a mirror that reflects our innermost thoughts and obsessions. Although we cannot avoid thoughts and our internal monologue, we can, with practice, gently guide our thoughts so as to auspiciously influence our reactions to life’s circumstances.

In effect, the world reflects life from our particular points of view. We perceive the nature of the world in favorable or unfavorable ways, depending upon what we choose to accept. There is a field of neuroscience that studies how our brains filter out the millions of bits of information we encounter each moment. This adaptive aspect of our brains ensures that only relevant data arrives into our consciousness. This keeps our minds from being overwhelmed by irrelevant distractions that would otherwise distract us. Knowing about this process helps us understand that we can also adjust and change our mental focus through mindfulness training.

I contemplated how I had become interested in aviation again according to the theory about attention filtering. It was most probably triggered by my physical reaction to the airplane shadow crossing onto me. The resulting goosebumps were impossible to ignore. The coincidence and my reaction were happy, positive experiences. They caused a momentary, meaningful shift in the reflective nature of the mind.

In the personal, overall scheme of perception, if one believes the world is hostile and volatile, the mind will seek out evidence to confirm this attitude. If one thinks the world is a friendly, calm place, the mind will seek out data to confirm that attitude. If I believe the world is a mixed-bag of bad and good, I will notice examples to affirm my opinion. This process is largely unconscious. It takes a wake-up call of some sort to bring this reflecting and filtering process to our conscious attention.

When we focus upon distorted thoughts and inaccurate data, it is important to notice what is happening and to take corrective action to realign with the truth. The choice is up to each individual. Reality is a reflection in the mirror of the mind.

Life is neither bad nor good. How we perceive it depends a great deal about how aware we are of our confirmation bias.

The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a quote from 19th century composer and virtuoso pianist, Frederic Chopin. “I wish I could throw off the thoughts which poison my happiness, but I take a kind of pleasure in indulging them.” 

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, cultural highlights, Meanderings, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The World As A Mirror

  1. I think the algorithms took you to crash videos quickly because that is what the humans who devised the algorithms think most people are more interested in why airplanes crash than how they fly.

    If your interest in aviation continues, you might consider taking an introductory flight with an instructor at your local general aviation airport. These flights are relatively inexpensive and the instructor can answer your questions on the spot without interference from an algorithm..

    • swabby429 says:

      Our small, local airport hosts a couple of airplane related “fly-in” events each year. There are a couple of instructors who take people for rides for a small fee. This would be a good opportunity to scope out your suggestion.

  2. Yernasia Quorelios says:

    💜 A “Pilot” Trains in a Virtual Environment EveryOne (Plenty of Simulation Apps Around for Those Willing To Learn); whether We “Land” Softly or Bounce Depends on The Mood of Our Captain on The “Plane”…two “Plane” Movies worth watching Star Denzil Washington (UpSide-Down Scene) an Tom Hanks (Landing in a River Scene); it’s Crystal Clear Clarity that Taking Time To Decide What Do is WorthWhile…in The MeanTime Return to The Purity of YOUR!!! ChildLike State and Enjoy The Simple 3DLife; just like a Child Does Before Being Conditioned TO DO!!!


  3. Yernasia Quorelios says:

    💜 Apparently, According to Stats EveryOne, Flying is The Safest Form of Travel; with Driving Being The Most Dangerous


  4. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘The World As A Mirror’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  5. I agree. Life, to a large extent, is what we make it. So, having a positive attitude is where it’s at.

  6. I loved the thoughts behind this post. You are right it is totally on us on how we want to perceive things and move ahead.

  7. Marlapaige says:

    “When we focus upon distorted thoughts and inaccurate data, it is important to notice what is happening and to take corrective action to realign with the truth. The choice is up to each individual. Reality is a reflection in the mirror of the mind.”
    This is so very true. However, I do not understand how it’s possible to simply change perspectives on whim. Bio-chemical issues may also influence your world view. One day, the world is a good place and you have a magnificent place in it, but due to no external factors and ones you cannot control, the next day everything is dark and full of doom.
    Please, if you know, tell me how I can alter my perspective biases in a situation like that? I am trying to learn, but it’s slow going and a lot of muddling.

    • swabby429 says:

      We do not have paradigm shifts on a whim. It is a process of realizing and admitting the falsehood. The realization might appear as an epiphany, but not necessarily so. Then one builds the strength to let go of the falsehood; which is another process. We have become attached to our dysfunctions in much the same manner as we become attached to an insincere lover. We know we need to let go, but eventually, we cannot hold onto the lie any longer. (I’m not a counselor, so remember this is my armchair POV.)

      • Marlapaige says:

        I understand what you’re saying. But my assumption, whether I’m right or wrong, is that what you consider dysfunction that can be altered is some thing that medication cannot truly control. When your brain shifts like that you can no more control than you can control the cancer cells in your body. When it shifts, it can shift so fast that you don’t even know which way is up. The only thing you know is that you hurt, you are confused, and you do not know truth from falsehood. The false is more real than the truth ever was, and you know it to be truth down to your marrow. The people who suffer from this know they need to figure out what is true, but sometimes your brain tells you that what you know is true when you’re OK is really just a lie that you’ve created to make yourself feel better until the truth comes back. I can tell you is someone who knows personally that stability is just a word. It is merely a temporary state of mind that can disappear at any moment. The hard part is holding onto the truth as you know it when the world shifts sideways again, as it inevitably does. And that’s a truly hard thing to do when there is no handholds, just smooth rock between where you were and where you’re going. I have spent most of my life trying to weld this away, and make my brain work another way. All this has done was causing me grief, and increased the negative feelings I had toward myself. I have since learned to accept my mind, and it can take me to hell and back again, but I hold onto the fact that I come back again. Eventually.

      • swabby429 says:

        I see where you’re going with this. However, I have no formal schooling, credentials, nor licensing to comment beyond armchair hypotheses. Please remember, I’m just a blogger who notices things and comments on them within amateur parameters. ________________________________

      • Marlapaige says:

        I do realize that. I was just curious how you saw it from that perspective is all.

        And in my opinion, the armchair hypothesis is generally more interesting and sometimes more accurate than all of the formal credentials in the world

      • swabby429 says:

        Possibly interesting, but this is an ethical boundary I strictly enforce.

      • Marlapaige says:

        That is a boundary to respect. Thank you for the post and for engaging with me.

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