What You Look Like 2011/3 I guess as soon as you become a teenager, you start looking in the mirror wondering what you look like, whether you are good looking, or not so good looking. And as far as I can tell, you continue doing this for the rest of your life, possibly never finding a real answer. In fact, probably the only way to walk away with an answer, is to wait until your mind runs across an answer you like, and then walk away at that moment. If you stare too long at yourself, I mean for a really long long time, you're not even sure what you see at all. You realize how strange arms and legs really are the way they flail about, and heads and faces filled with holes to breath through and eat, not to mention the tentacle that springs from your mouth with taste buds that need to rub on things to sense them, and you begin to realize just how weird creatures on Planet Earth really are. Yet somehow ever since they invented photons that could bounce, we creatures crawl around the land seeking out reflections to see ourselves and decide whether we look "good" or not. Problem with mirrors is that despite how hard you try, you can never see around yourself, you're always just as fast, looking straight in your face. Kinda like when you're driving a car, trying to look past your passenger for traffic while they're trying to look past you the other way. But then there's photos where we can study ourselves in any position. We think of them as trustworthy sources of what we look like. Unfortunately it becomes a little depressing when you only like about 1 out of 20 photos of yourself. When you lay out the 19 photos you don't like, you can get the impression that this is how people really see you. But how true is this? Take for example a model on the cover of a magazine. She may be a professional, who has spent her entire adult life trying to look as beautiful as possible. Dieting for years while others eat, exercising instead of going out with friends, constantly applying all kinds of techniques and spending lots of money to look good. Then take that professional and hire experts to spend hours applying makeup for her, because although she has spent her entire adult life each morning fixing herself up, she's STILL not good enough to apply her own makeup for a photo! Then find the best high priced photographer, because slightly above average professional photographers are not good enough. Then that legendary photographer must shoot hundreds of photos, and out of all those photos, one shot is chosen for a magazine cover. As soon as the magazine hits the shelves, people will look at the photo and find faults with how the model looks!!! People find the need to digitally "fix" the model. Since we see good looking people all the time, including our friends and family, there must be more to it than what photos and the mirror can show us. I remember watching a bad science fiction movie one day, where these space rangers were out fighting an enemy. They used two way video to communicate with home base, which I think was a computer that appeared to them as a beautiful woman. The video was slow, so it could only show a few frames of video per second. But each frame of the woman looked as if she'd posed, and she looked good in every frame. I've played with slow video before, and I know it was impossible to look that good with such crude video. Instead of getting good looking poses all the time, you'd frequently get caught trying to pronounce words. I realized that when we talk, we obviously need to make all kinds of funny facial expressions in order to get the words out. That's when I realized that when people talk, most of the time they look really silly. But this isn't what we normally see. We ignore it. We actually notice the overall flow of motion, and wait for a pose. Unless you do something unusual like accidentally spit or bite your tongue, the listener will ignore all the weird facial contortions you need to make while speaking. But bad video, and photos, catch all these weird movements, that everyone else is ignoring! I think this is a glimpse into how people really see each other. There's a lot more going on in the mind, than just what is physically there to see. If you were just looking at the average Earth human, you'd see a very strange looking creature. What you really look like to your friends and family, really does come from further inside than what you see in a mirror or photo. I think the fact is, your friends and family see you more like the one photo you like, than the 19 photos you don't like, because you recognize how you feel and how you express yourself. That's not to say that dressing nice, cleanliness, physical fitness, styles, do not matter. They obviously matter. But this whole concept of exact surface beauty has got to be an illusion or invention no more valid than standing in front of a mirror all day. You stare at your nose all day thinking it needs to be changed, when no one has possibly ever seen your nose... they are looking further down at your motions and expressions which come from inside. Does an orchestra ever look at the conductor's baton, or do they only see how it moves, what it expresses. If this is true, it's interesting to wonder if we all suddenly changed shape, to perhaps that of the octopus, whether we'd still basically see each other the same way. I think we would, which is kinda cool. And we'd all look at ourselves in the reflections off the waters wondering if our beaks look OK. There'd be octopus photographers with a camera in each arm taking photos of octopuses that have spent their entire lives starving themselves and getting their tentacle's air brushed, and there'd be a different octopus on every magazine cover at the under water grocery store, and would we really look all that much different than we do today?