I got a haircut this week, and while my barber was jabbering on about deep sea fishing (something we don’t do so much around Tucson), I was thinking how odd it is that I can’t see the back of my head, even with a mirror. I need two mirrors. There’s a lot of the body we never, or rarely see. You can’t see your back very easily, or the bottoms of your feet. It’s next to impossible to see into your ears even with mirrors.
One’s body is a concept as much as a perceived reality. You can see your hands and feet, but there’s a lot you can’t, or don’t often see. We think we have an excellent idea of what our own body is like, but do we, really? If you include the interior, you realize most of the body is conceptualized abstractly, not perceived. Maybe that explains why so many people have a poor body concept and can’t or won’t accept what they look like. Expectations play strongly into what we perceive, and that includes seeing the body.
This was not an idea I could easily share with my barber, who was sculpting my self-image in exchange for money. What an odd thing to do. Chimps don’t do it. Why do we?