Ever seen those delightful Russian matryoshka dolls, the ones where each doll opens to reveal another, smaller but identical doll, which opens to reveal yet another smaller, identical doll, and down it goes to a doll the size of a peanut?
Likewise, the films Inception and the Matrix portray realities within realities within realities, scrambling our perception of reality.
There’s an everyday analogue to this – a simple mirror. You gaze at the mirror through your eyes, which are reflected in the mirror, so your view includes the thing you are viewing through.
Both are real, the view and the reflection, and neither can exist without the other.
This image is another example, taken from the International Space Station.
What you see is an orbital sunset, looking out the back view as the ISS circles the globe. Two Russian ships can be seen docked with the sun’s glare between them, a Soyuz crew capsule in the foreground and Progress cargo capsule in the background, with the earth’s horizon outlined by a thin layer of atmosphere.
You can also see the dim outline of a camera lens. This can only be seen when the angle of the sun’s light is such that the transparent cover over the camera acts like a mirror and reflects an image of the camera.
And so it is that the instrument we use to see the earth is mirrored back to us. Our own eyes gaze back at the manufactured eye we ordinarily look out from.
This demonstrates in a concrete way something that a wise man once noted: