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Philosophy Tuesday

October 30, 2018

Every person you meet meets a different you.

On the one hand, that doesn’t seem right.  After all, it always feels like I am me, and the me that walks around is always there.  So, clearly, whenever we meet someone they must be meeting the “me” that I am.

On the other hand, well, we often behave differently around different people, right?  We present ourselves one way at work, or another way at home, or a third way to our church/club/team/drinking buddies.   So, ok, maybe it makes sense that there are at least a handful of “me”s out there to meet.

Turns out, there’s a quite the many more than that.

Every person that you encounter creates a version of you in their heads.  Some of it is based on your interactions.  Some of it is based on their prior experience and projection.  But it’s a distinct, individual, you.

Therefore you, I, we, are different people to each our parents, siblings, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, neighbors, and the regular clerks at our stores.  There are thousands of “you”s and “me”s out there, in thousands of minds.  Created by thousands of beings.

There’s a you that exists in each version, but it isn’t the same you, and “you” aren’t really a “someone” at all.  Which makes the idea of knowing yourself all the more interesting…

The corollary, however, is perhaps even more profound.

Every person you know is also a thousand different people.  The individual you know them as is your personal them.  They are not that exact person to another.  All their gifts and all their faults are, in many ways, particular to you.

Meet them fresh and under different circumstances, and you might create them totally different.  Let your views be fresh, and who they are may completely shift.  They may grow.  Or they may shrink.

There’s a lot that opens up in this understanding.  Empathy. Delight.  Choice.  Deepening relatedness.  Clarity.  And a realignment towards authentic selves, both for ourselves, for theirselves, and for all the “you”s that exist out there.

 

* Apologies for all the I/you/we perspective shifts up there…

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