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The Mirror

Larken Rose

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Dec. 8, 2015

"The Mirror"

Many months ago I announced my idea for a massive project which at the time had the working title, “Unlocking the Cage.” The ridiculously ambitious idea was to create an interactive process which could essentially carry on a conversation with someone, inside a 3D, computer-generated virtual world, exploring their belief systems and very gently and non-judgmentally leading them up to the contradictions inside their own heads.

Aside from being visually interesting and engaging, to be effective it would have to be carefully built around an understanding of human psychology, and all the things that usually get in the way of someone reconsidering his most fundamental paradigms and assumptions. For all the outstanding books, videos, and other media out there which explain non-aggression, self-ownership, and a stateless society, very few are designed with the mentality and psychology of the average person in mind. As the saying goes, you can’t reason someone out of a belief that they didn’t reach by way of reason. Because statism is an indoctrinated, faith-based belief, mere intellectual explanations are often not enough, and just trigger irrational, emotional responses in those who are comfortable with the authoritarian mythology they were taught. Having spent almost two decades debating with statists, I have accidentally learned a lot about the sorts of things that get in the way of them comprehending and embracing the concept of voluntaryism, and that tend to make them defensive, uncomfortable and angry, and make their minds shut down. Getting around those psychological knee-jerk reactions without making someone get defensive is a far bigger challenge than explaining the self-evident truths underlying voluntaryism and non-aggression.

And until recently I assumed that the back-and-forth adaptiveness of in-person discussions was impossible to mass replicate. Videos, articles, books, speeches and other one-directional forms of media—as useful as they might be—are very limited in what they can do, because they can only throw ideas at people, which may or may not stick. In contrast, “The Mirror” keeps the user engaged, using an interactive process in which the direction of the conversation is determined by the user’s answers. A billion people can go through the process at the same time, but each person's experience will be unique, fluid and "customized" as a personal conversation, but with even less opportunity for argument or conflict. The user goes through the process at his own pace, with no rush, no peer pressure and no stress—not even the stress of having one other person there. And every step of the way, depending on the user’s answers, “The Mirror” always has the next ideal question ready, using the ideal wording, with the ideal explanations and clarifications, and the ideal presentation.

The reason the process works at all is because everyone who believes in “government” necessarily has contradictions inside his own head. Most people are already “anarchistic” in their daily lives, not aggressing against others and not wanting to be aggressed against themselves, but they have also been taught the authoritarian politically mythology that has convinced them that when aggression is “legalized” and committed by “authority” in the name of “law,” it ceases to be wrong. But there are several lines of questioning which can illustrate that those who believe in “authority” always hold contradictory ideas in their heads, causing them to betray and forsake their own values and priorities. On the bright side, this makes it so that using only questions—the right questions—anyone who believes in “government” can be brought face to face with his own internal contradictions, without anyone else having to argue or assert anything. And when that process is done as gently and non-confrontationally as possible, and combined with interesting and memorable visuals, you get the ultimate tool for “deprogramming” people from their authoritarian indoctrination. And that’s exactly what “The Mirror” will be.

(For those who want a small taste of what the project will look and feel like, I posted a brief teaser/trailer for it here: )


There is still an enormous amount of work to do, on both the script of the flow chart and on the computer modeling and animation, but I will keep working on it until it is finished. If enough people donate so I can work on it full time (instead of having to do other things to pay my bills), it will still take months to finish. If I have to do it in my spare time, it will take years. Either way, unless I kick the bucket first, I will finish it. I just happen to think that the sooner something like this exists and is publicly available to everyone, for free, the sooner authoritarian violence and injustice can be erased, and the sooner society can start heading in the right direction.