Objects to reflect our thoughts

I have recently been obsessing about reflectors. Some of the most powerful stories ever told showcase a character struggling with an internal problem and using an external object as the support for his own reflection. Hamlet uses a skull to debate death and suicide, and Hank uses the dead body of Daniel Radcliffe to realize what living means to him in Swiss Army Man.

Having an earthly object at which to direct our thoughts is incredibly powerful. When reflecting upon unfathomable concepts such as death or love, we human beings need a precise item to focus our thoughts on. Our reflection on that specific subject is still to be expressed and defined. If we add to that the fact that the general field in which it exists is impossible for us to grasp, we don’t stand a chance ! But having an object on which to focus our thoughts is a very powerful sophism. It doesn’t change anything to our thoughts, and it doesn’t represent the ultimate aim of those thoughts either. And yet, somehow, it helps us get them out and real. It makes it easy for us to think concretely. All we have to do then, is to apply those freshly-baked thoughts to the actual, impenetrable subject we have set out to tackle.

That is why making films is so important to me. Film doesn’t allow the viewer inside the mind of the character as books do. A cinematographic story focuses on surface details, on objects, on regular actions, and uses them to convey a much deeper message. It depicts characters going through deep change through the help of objects that reflect their thoughts.

Film itself is a reflector of the viewer’s reflection. I find films to have the biggest catharsis potential. So, by simply watching a character on screen struggling with a specific matter, one can find a support for his own thoughts and advance toward the resolution of that matter.

But reflectors are not only helpful in vast, unfathomable domains such as love or death. They are actually powerful any time we go through a reflection that we do not completely grasp yet. Their impact is then dictated by our ease and wisdom in a given field rather than by the complexity of that field. This encompasses any situation where we are going through some sort of deep change.

Looking back on the changes I have been through, I realize that they were often caused by an external object that helped me solidify the thoughts going through my head at the time. Now, that doesn’t mean we have to keep dozens of potential reflectors in our living room : a skull for reflections on death, a picture of someone for reflections on love, … The objects actually present themselves to us when we are ready for them.

I think that we start making a change in ourselves by simply getting closer to any source of that change : it can be a person, an activity, … This small alteration in our life creates a small path in our brain that facilitates reflections about the subject we have started to tackle. In any occasion, we will be more prone to think about that subject, which will in turn consolidate the path in our brain, and so on. The more we think about it, the more often we find objects that reflect those thoughts. After a while, they can be things that have nothing to do with the subject, and that possess this meaning only to us : someone we walk by in the street, something we hear on the news, …

Deep change cannot be envisioned from the start ; it is an empirical and self-sustaining process. Doing any important work of self-improvement means dealing with deep change. We can hit a goal by learning short-term tricks, but we make a difference by adopting the right mindset. Changing our mindset requires very deep work, but will affect our vision in every decision-making situation. That is why I am creating reflectors. We can carry them with ourselves and use them to ponder when we are alone. We can intentionally choose to direct our thoughts with an object crafted to create a specific change.

My project is called Keychange ; I create beautiful wooden keychains engraved with a quote. They are designed to trigger reflections in moments where we are usually in autopilot mode : when we go out to run some errands, when we drive our cars, when we walk with our hands our pockets… I sincerely hope they will help you change.

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