Next he turns to the side, letting the light strike his face in profile, and views the result in the mirror. "Only makes them all the more prominent. Looks clearer when facing the light. Curious thing." He seems to be fully engrossed. He extends his right hand, holding the mirror as far from his face as possible, and quietly studies the reflection. "Not so bad at a distance. Close up is the problem. -- Same can be said of anything, not just faces." He speaks as though citing some newly-discovered truth. Next he flips the mirror onto its side. Putting the base of his nose at the center of the frame, he scrunches his eyes, cheeks, and brows in closer to his nose. Immediately unhappy with the outcome, he mutters, "Nope. No good," and promptly desists. "How can a face be so unsightly?" He draws the mirror in closer, as if doubting his own eyes. With his right index finger, he rubs the flat of his nose. Then he presses the tip of that same finger against a sheet of blotting paper on his desktop. A circle appears where oil has been transferred from nose to finger to paper. He's just getting started. He turns over his fingertip, still daubed with oil from his nose, and draws down the lower lid of his right eye, executing to perfection a common gesture of contempt. At this point, it's no longer clear whether he's examining his pockmarks or merely facing off against the mirror. It would appear, on the surface at least, that the master's short attention span has the better of him, but such is not the case. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, one could interpret his actions as a path, albeit a meandering one, to self awareness through dialog with one's own gestures and expressions as reflected in the mirror. All human studies are studies of the self. Study of heaven and earth, of mountains and streams, of the sun and the moon, of celestial bodies, are all but proxies for study of self. No man is capable of setting aside his own self in the interest of other entities. The moment he jumps outside of himself is the moment he loses himself. To liberate another from his self, or be to be liberated by another, however much wished for, is simply not an option. Back to antiquity, it naturally follows, all great men have been self made. It's no more possible to know oneself through the good offices of others than it is to taste and judge the quality of beef through the chewing and swallowing of another. Morning sermons, evening lectures, and books read by lamplight are all but implements, tools to spur the process of self discovery. One's true self can never be found in the words of a sermon, the teachings of a sage, or the pages in heaps of moth-eaten tomes. What seems to be self is merely an apparition. Even an apparition, though, is preferable to a blank void. Chasing shadows is not necessarily futile, as a shadow tends to fall in proximity to its source. Most shadows, as it turns out, connect to their sources. In this vein, the master's twisting and turning of his mirror is not so far off base. Better this course than putting on scholarly airs and regurgitating Epictetus.