Telescope + Mirror

ZygonUmberto Eco argues that a mirror image is not a sign. At best it is a double, a thing that ceases to be once the reflected object is removed. Harry Mulisch narratively suggests that mirror images function metaphorically as gateways between human suffering and the divine. And interestingly, science employs mirrors and mirror images both to turn our gaze upwards and to show us reflections of our place in the cosmos. Tying together Eco’s notion of the double, Mulisch’s insistence that mirror images reflect humanity’s construction of the divine, and the Giant Magellan Telescope Project’s cosmic images, it is my contention that modern, telescopic mirror images are much more than snapshots of the cosmos. They are constructions of human and divine meaning that—signifying—pose the question, what is reflected: the cosmos or humanity?