How much have we been looking past?

Douglas Balmain
1 min readOct 26, 2021

If a tree were tasked with drawing a self-portrait, how would it represent itself? How much of its composition and essence that we, as humans, either cannot see or fail to notice would a tree be innately motivated to put forward as their representation-of-Self? Would they draw a singular form or would they draw a network of interconnected, cooperative elements? How much would be above-ground, how much below? Would they understand the assignment or would they not be able to comprehend the abstract concept of the “singular-self?”

​Imagine if we had never been habituated to the presence of mirrors. Imagine if we had never learned to be self-conscious, to feel shame, insecurity, pride, or vanity, at the sight of our own bodies and reflections…imagine if we’d not been taught to see the world from the perspective of a singular, isolated-self…how might our own self-portraits look then? Maybe they wouldn’t be so different from the trees’.

Originally published at