Have you ever wondered why mirrors appear to flip things horizontally but not vertically? For instance, this paper that says food, now says doof in the mirror. With in reverse letters, of course, however they’re still ideal side up. How would the mirror know the x instructions from the y direction? Another example, if I raise my right-hand man, the mirrored me raises her left hand. However if I put my hand up in the air, she likewise puts her hand up, not down. So what’s going on? My very first knee jerk action is that our eyes are horizontal in our heads. But the issue with this hunch is that if you close one eye and search in the mirror– go ahead and try it– the text still checks out in reverse.
Let’s look again at the word food. When I read it, it’s facing me and I see “food.” But when I turn it towards the mirror– wait a minute. I turn it. The mirror is reflecting it in reverse because I am presenting it backwards. Think about it by doing this, if I take a look at the word, it is facing me. When I take a look at it in the mirror, I turn it away from me. And in doing so, I turn it horizontally. That’s why it appears horizontally flipped or backwards. Exactly what if rather I flipped it far from me like this? That’s a vertical flip. And now the word is turned upside down. It still checks out “food”– F-O-O-D– in the right order, now the letters are vertically flipped. So if I’m doing the turning, then the mirror is not. Take an arrow and point it to the right. The reflection in the mirror goes to the right. Point it up, it increases. Left, it goes left. Down, it decreases. Forward, it goes– wait a minute. If I point the arrow forward, the reflection goes backward. So the mirror is turning the image, but it’s flipping it in the z instructions.
That’s what’s causing all this confusion. When you look at your reflection in the mirror, it practically appears like you have actually walked around to the opposite of the mirror and you’re facing yourself. Hey, Meg. Hey. What side is my right hand on? My left side. What side is my left hand on? My best side. Perfect. Much like a mirror. However there’s one issue. Let’s take a better take a look at our mirrored hands. Mine states R. But mine states L. In a mirror image, her hand would say R in reverse. To obtain Meg’s hands to appear like this, I ‘d have to turn her image horizontally. But we stated that mirrors don’t flip horizontally.
So that’s where the flip in the z instructions can be found in. If I could take my body and flip it through itself in the z instructions, I would get my mirror image. I understand this is simpler to see with an arrow, however I can also reveal it with a left-handed glove. If I hold it out in the z direction, turning it front to back would be the same thing as turning inside out. Then, it would be a right-handed glove. And it would fit on the right hand of the me in the mirror. All I did was flip the glove front to back. So why do we believe things are horizontally turned when they’re actually not? We’ll consider our day-to-day experiences. Most of the words we see in the mirror are on t-shirts. We do not think of them as horizontally turned. But that’s precisely what we do when we put them on. We flip them far from our regular reading position.
Another part of the issue is that most of us are left and ideal symmetric. That causes you to see your reflection in the mirror as a typical looking person facing you. To face yourself without the mirror, you ‘d need to turn around. Which’s a horizontal flip. It’s hard to see exactly what’s wrong with this image unless you look carefully. But if you turn to face yourself by doing a handstand, that’s a vertical flip. And it’s pretty obvious exactly what’s wrong with this image, because we’re not vertically symmetric. So to address the concern, why do mirrors appear to flip things horizontally? Because you flip them horizontally. So the mirror is just showing you exactly what you presented to it.