The myths associated with doubles or doppelgangers are far deeper than I thought. Seeing a double presages death? Perhaps this is deeply in the collective subconscious, it wasn’t much in mine.
From Prometheus Unbound:
…Ere Babylon was dust,
The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child,
Met his own image walking in the garden.
That apparition, sole of men, he saw.
For know there are two worlds of life and death:
One that which thou beholdest; but the other
Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit
The shadows of all forms that think and live,
Till death unite them and they part no more;—Promethus Unbound by Shelley
The double is from the underworld, in a one-to-one relationship. Doestoeveky’s The Double has a similar premise I recalled (and had refreshed by Wikipedia to confirm.)
The opening of The Mind’s I by Hofstadter and Dennett – $0.25 at the Carnegie Library was irresistable, so I picked it up – offers a different take on a double, someone stranded on Mars. She is duplicated in every atom back on earth. In what sense is this person the same as the one on Mars, and in what senses not? (Side note: various permutations of this idea made me think of some of the wonderful short stories in David Eagleman’s Sum.)
Profound contemplation of this was interrupted by a lot of playing video games then watching the Steelers foreshadow their playoff demise. But it was on my mind as having a lot of literary potential, and more to put on top of the reading backlog for next yaer.