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Seeing through the eyes of the other

Ateliers de philosophie
Two women with a mirror, Orazio Gentileschi, 1620

Recently I led a philosophy workshop with a class of 10th graders. My colleague Isabelle Millon was an observer.

During the workshop, I noticed that she took a lot of notes. Rather satisfied with what I was doing, I was a little surprised. "What does she see that I don't see? "

After the workshop, when she shares her remarks with me, I discover how partial, sometimes erroneous, the perception I have of my own workshop is.

How disturbing it is to look at oneself in the mirror that the other person holds up to us!

At first it is difficult to recognize oneself in it.

Was I really a bit aggressive with this student? Did I transform the words of another student without realizing it? And when one of his classmates tried to tell me, I didn't understand and I persevered in my mistake!

We have to face the facts: what the other person says to us makes sense, it's about us. Of course, we are not always at our best. This mirror does not cheat.

However, let's not fall into sterile and inhibiting self-criticism. It is just a matter of recognizing that self-awareness is cultivated through the eyes of others. And if it costs us too much to look in the mirror, it is perhaps a sign that we need it all the more. To break with complacency. And finally learn to reconcile ourselves with our imperfection, another name for our humanity.

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