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16 September 2009

Do you think another person can ever really know you?
do you know where you're going to?

do you like the things that life is showing you?
posted by Lipstick Thespian 16 September | 21:38

Do you think you can ever really know yourself?
posted by Miko 16 September | 21:46
It's not easy.

But it is do-able.
posted by jason's_planet 16 September | 21:50
his question reminds me of a song (and video) with which I am currently in love.
posted by amro 16 September | 22:00
This question, I mean.
posted by amro 16 September | 22:00
But seriously, it's not easy to answer, because you immediately get into questions of what it is to "know" someone, what is real, what is the 'self,' what constitutes identity.

We don't know ourselves all that well. We can listen to our internal monologue, and others can't - but is that our 'self,' or just a backformed narrative we're using to make sense of our experience for the conscious, ordered parts of our minds? Isn't that monologue a lot smaller than your 'self'? Aren't there many, many things about you that are much easier for other people to perceive than for yourself to perceive? Haven't you noticed many things about people you love about which they were completely unaware? And haven't you noticed things about them that you valued differently than they did?

I think that, in life, there are a number of people who are intimate enough to most of us that we know them in a way that is "really" knowing them. We can't know them from their own perspective, but we can know them as fully as possible from our own perspectives. I'm not sure one of those perspectives is more 'real' than the other.

If you mean, are each of us essentially alone? Yes, in many ways, we are essentially alone. The narrative that makes up our experience of self is created and sustained by one conscious mind. It disappears when that conscious, thinking mind disappears. We've all had times when we were 'not myself' - when asleep, injured, unconscious, ill, in shock, otherwise messed up. Other people knew us then better than we knew ourselves. But even when someone knows you as well as anyone in the world can, they will not be able to be the one who sustains your sense of self- remembers your memories, prefers your tastes, displays your personality quirks. They can know you, but they can't continually be creating you by continually maintaining the story that is you. Only you can do that.

And our lives are nobody else's to own or make choices about - our power of choice over ourselves alone makes the experience of being yourself different from the experience of knowing yourself.

But we're also human, and everything we're discovering cognitively about mirror neurons and the social, collective behaviors of human beings says that not only can other people know us, but that without other people, we can't even be us. We need other people to be close to us, even if they don't get everything about us that's going on in our emotions and internal monologue every minute.
posted by Miko 16 September | 22:08
Uh, biblically? huh huh huh.

-homework break.
posted by buzzman 16 September | 22:37
No, I don't.

But I also think that you can't really know yourself, either.
posted by occhiblu 16 September | 23:22
If by "really" you mean "100%," no. Nobody can.

But people can know you so well they know what you'll say before you say it, what you'll like before you've seen it, what you'd do even if you aren't there anymore.

It takes a long time, but people do reach that level of connectedness.
posted by BoringPostcards 16 September | 23:26
God, I sure hope not.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson 17 September | 00:05
Did you know that space is merely an illusion of our senses? Only time exists.

Nope, no space-time either; just time.

That is all.
posted by Ardiril 17 September | 00:28
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
posted by arse_hat 17 September | 00:39
Does anybody really care?
posted by occhiblu 17 September | 00:45
I'm on time.
posted by Stewriffic 17 September | 04:31
Can anyone really know themselves 100%? Can a box contain itself? No? Then what hope does someone else have?

Entre Nous - lyrics
posted by Eideteker 17 September | 07:07
If in one moment, you knew yourself, what would that feel like?
posted by Obscure Reference 17 September | 07:26
Miko, once again, has said everything that I might ever imagine saying (my internal monologue says I ain't that smart), but even better. Her words are wise and true.
posted by msali 17 September | 08:43
I think that, insofar as the self is knowable, one person can know another --- if by "know," we agree to mean:
- can accurately predict a pattern of behavior and reactions, with the caveat that not even oneself can accurately predict all of one's behavior and reactions.
- can understand the other's likes and dislikes, passions and preferences, with the same caveat.

At the same time, there will always be surprises (and, as a wise friend of mine says, "Not every surprise is a treat"). But that's true of the self, too: we surprise ourselves not infrequently with small bouts of revelatory behavior.
posted by Elsa 17 September | 10:28
No, not to any real depth anyway.
posted by deborah 17 September | 11:29
As Elsa says, wouldn't that be boring?
posted by Eideteker 17 September | 13:30
I can see your point, Eideteker, and I think it's a good one... but that's not what I said. It's nearly the opposite of what I said.

I do think one person can know another, almost as well as we can know ourselves. In my own case, it's anything but boring: this sense of being intimately and deeply understood astonishes and touches me almost every day, when my husband does something to show how very, very well he knows me, often in unexpected ways.

I also believe that one person's knowledge of another cannot be perfect --- but not even self-knowledge can be perfect.
posted by Elsa 17 September | 14:01
Ok, I misread. I thought it was the "unexpected" that you were praising.
posted by Eideteker 17 September | 16:29
Apples! || sooo this lady from okcupid