Evil twin in the mirror

Even to this day human culture is drenched with archetypal images of magic mirrors and evil twins. It is clear that both mirrors and twins traditionally evoke mysterium tremendum et fascinans – the common object of all religious or numinous experience as described by Rudolf Otto (1869-1937).

We could ask ourselves why such phenomena are often surrounded by a mysterious, religious aura. Why have human beings been fascinated and frightened by them, at the same time? According to mimetic theory, in ancient times everything associated with mimetic rivalry and violence had the potential to become sacred. To get some understanding of how mirrors and twins (and the ‘twin’ in the mirror) are connected with rivalry and violence, I compiled the following short movie.


I hope this movie shows how classic tales of horror imaginatively portray a profound anthropological truth: in trying to master and hide the bad side of yourself – the parts you don’t want to acknowledge, the parts you don’t want others to see; your evil twin -, you create the monster you are trying to control. Eventually you lose yourself in the process. Moreover, in trying to protect the secret of your so-called bad side, others will have to be destroyed as well – because they could potentially betray your secret. Hypocrisy generates paranoia. Rockers The Smashing Pumpkins are spot on with the line the killer in me is the killer in you, in their song Disarm. I guess we all have two sides. Are we able to acknowledge them? The life of Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962), one of the main organizers of the Nazi Holocaust, reads as the story of Dr. Jekyll becoming Mr. Hyde – but his was not a merely fictitious tale of horror, it was real history becoming sheer terror. A warning.

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