19
   

Can you ever really know another person?

 
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:26 am
As long as the other person is in synch with your beliefs, morals, ethics and
thought process, and you have a close relationship, you think you know
this person based on the familiarity factor.

The minute your relationship has obstacles to overcome or even worse - ends, all bets are off and you will find yourself questioning the other person's motivation, sincerity and whatever else comes with it.

This is especially true for couples whose spouses have betrayed them either
through extramarital affairs or other severe trust violations. From one day to the next, we no longer know this other person who has betrayed us, however,
for all we know this person might never have changed at all, he/she just was
never caught up until now, and only when our trust and perception of
this person has changed, we assume we don't know them any longer, whereas
in fact, we never did, didn't we?

In essence, no, we never can fully know another person unless you share a
brain.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:26 am
@aidan,
If you can not predict in a large percent of the times how someone will react to any given events in what way do you know them?

A large percents of men for example are blindsided by their wives leaving or filing for divorce.

You can no said that those men knew their partners in such cases now can you?


aidan
 
  0  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:33 am
@BillRM,
Quote:
If you can not predict in a large percent of the times how someone will react to any given events in what way do you know them?


That's not what I'm saying Bill. I'm saying that you can also know someone well enough to know that you will never be able to predict what they will do next - so the measure of 'knowledge' doesn't necessarily have anything to do with 'predictability'.

I've said in earlier posts that YES - there are many more people I realize I don't 'really' know than those that I think I DO really know.
But in my personal experience, there are a lot of people with whom I've disagreed strongly - and I still feel that I know them and/or they know me.
It's not about agreeing or disagreeing - it's about having an accurate and informed view of a person. I have had relationships in which that has been possible - no matter how strongly we've disagreed.
Then there are other people who do not want to and will never be known by me.
But I do not think that if someone allows you to know them it is impossible to know them. I just don't.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:37 am
@aidan,
But I'd also like to know how people feel if they feel that nobody does or can 'really' know them or that they can never really know anyone else.

As I said, that seems to me that it would feel very isolating. Is that how it feels (for those who feel that they don't really know anyone else and no one really knows them)?
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:44 am
Aidan wrote:
Is that how it feels (for those who feel that they don't really know anyone else and no one really knows them)?

It is, but I'm never alone with my solitude..
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:45 am
@aidan,
On the contrary, it can be quite exciting if you don't know every move of the
other person. Their changing thought process can give you new insight into
different subjects and it can keep a relationship lively and interesting.

Claiming to know a person in and out can be quite boring, especially if behaviour
patterns are predictable or expected of one.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:48 am
@CalamityJane,
CalamityJane wrote:

On the contrary, it can be quite exciting if you don't know every move of the
other person. Their changing thought process can give you new insight into
different subjects and it can keep a relationship lively and interesting.

Claiming to know a person in and out can be quite boring, especially if behaviour
patterns are predictable or expected of one.


Very true indeed! But what has that to do with the question, whether you can know another person?
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:55 am
@kennethamy,
Everything and nothing. It was a reply to aidan's post actually, not to the
original post - for that I posted a different answer further up.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  0  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 11:00 am
@CalamityJane,
Oh God - I'm not talking about knowing every move of a person -in fact I've said several times that has nothing to do with what I'm talking about in terms of 'knowing' someone. Knowing someone is different from knowing everything they do or possibly might do - as in being able to predict.

In fact, if you really know a person, you're much less likely to feel that you NEED to know everything they do.

If you know someone, there is an element of faith in who they are that makes knowing everything they do unnecessary.
Dosed
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 11:42 am
@aidan,
For me, it does feel kind of lonely. But at the same time it's kind of a defense thing. For people that have put trust in someone and been hurt, this "no one can ever really know me" feeling is a protection kind of thing. A "you can get to my body but not to my heart" kind of thing.

All the while, it's disheartening to know that no one will ever really understand. But, the universe is a cruel and sad thing anyway.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 11:48 am
@aidan,
aidan wrote:

Oh God - I'm not talking about knowing every move of a person -in fact I've said several times that has nothing to do with what I'm talking about in terms of 'knowing' someone. Knowing someone is different from knowing everything they do or possibly might do - as in being able to predict.

In fact, if you really know a person, you're much less likely to feel that you NEED to know everything they do.

If you know someone, there is an element of faith in who they are that makes knowing everything they do unnecessary.


That may be true for all I know. But the question I asked is how you can tell whether or not you know (or even truly know, if that is different) a person? What do you have to know to know whether you know another person? Not, apparently what he is likely to do or say. So what is it you need to know? But when someone answers that question, what has to be true about you for it it to be true that you know (really know? truly know?) a person?
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 11:48 am
@aidan,
Maybe it my poor engineer brain however feelings close to a person is not knowing them loving then is not knowing them , agreeing or disagreeing is not knowing them and I think we are getting confused here or at least I am getting confused by the meaning of knowing someone.

To me it is simple to know a person is to be able to predict that person likely feelings and behaviors.
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 11:54 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

Maybe it my poor engineer brain however feelings close to a person is not knowing them loving then is not knowing them , agreeing or disagreeing is not knowing them and I think we are getting confused here or at least I am getting confused by the meaning of knowing someone.

To me it is simple to know a person is to be able to predict that person likely feelings and behaviors.


Well, yes. The question also leaves me wondering what has to be true of me for it to be true that I know a particular person. With you, I think that at least a part of the answer (even if not the whole of the answer) is being about to predict what they are likely to say or do in various circumstances. I don't see what else it could be than that. But apparently, some people on this thread don't think that is the right answer, and would (perhaps) prefer something more mysterious. So mysterious that although they reject the obvious answer given by you, they are unable to give one of their own.
Dosed
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:01 pm
I think we tend to feel that "knowing" someone has some sort of comforting level of understanding. When I look at the relationship I have with my best friend, I see that we are not so close because of our values (we both value very different things) or our interests (she knits, I play guitar). We're so close because we simply "get" each other. I'm not sure what that means either. But I can say that there is a lot of understanding involved in our friendship. She knows my secrets, but not all of them. She knows the things I'm proud of and the things I'm ashamed of. She's watched me make mistakes and she's watched me do great things. And she's done a lot of things with me. I suppose when we think we "know" someone, it's simply that we click with them. We understand some of their perspective because of experience and empathy. However, we can never truly "know" another person because no matter how many things we know about someone or how many things we experience with someone we can never know what it is to feel their feelings or think their thoughts, ever. We can never understand their motives as they do. We can never know why people feel the way the feel or think the way they think or do the things they do, no matter how opened or closed we are. This is a matter of existence, really. I exist as myself and you exist as yourself. I can imagine what it is like to be a dog, but I will never ever understand what it means to be a dog. The same goes for family, best friends, lovers and strangers. We can claim to "know" them all we want, but the fact is, you can never truly "know" another human being.
Dosed
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:07 pm
Also, I forgot to mention a very important thing about believing you "know" someone:

human beings are excellent deceivers.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:10 pm
@kennethamy,
Quote:
But apparently, some people on this thread don't think that is the right answer, and would (perhaps) prefer something more mysterious. So mysterious that although they reject the obvious answer given by you, they are unable to give one of their own.


On the contrary - I think by my definition it's much LESS mysterious than by your definition.
I said: to know someone is to have an accurate and informed view of them. It doesn't mean you will always know what they will do next.
It doesn't mean that you become them and experience their feelings/thoughts/etc. exactly as they do as Dosed proposes.

It simply means you have knowledge of who they are - how they came to be that way - what they think- what is important to them. And you may only know these things because they told you these things.

What does 'getting to know someone' mean? Does it mean 'getting to BE them'?
Does it mean, 'Able to guess what they will do in every single situation'?

I think YOU guys are the ones who are making it more complicated than it is.

aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:13 pm
@Dosed,
Quote:
human beings are excellent deceivers.

And that might be why you feel you can't know someone - whereas the majority of people I've known have not deceived me.
Maybe that's why I feel I can 'really' know someone.

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer.

I think everyone experiences people differently.

I personally believe I do and can know other people and that I am known by other people.

This does not mean I've entered their souls and lived their lives or that they've done the same with me however.
At least not in my book.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:18 pm
@Dosed,
Dosed wrote:

, but the fact is, you can never truly "know" another human being.


From what you write, I expect that is because you set the bar so high, that it would be impossible, in your terms, to "truly know another human being". And you indicate that in two ways: 1. You say that you cannot truly know another human being, not that you cannot know another human being. 2. You place quotation marks around the term, know which indicates that you are using the term in a different way from the way it is ordinarily used.

What I think you mean is that although we know another person to the extent that we can predict what he is likely to say or do in given circumstances (and this is clearly a matter of degree) perhaps, for some reason, we ought to set the bar higher than that. So what we can say is that in any ordinary sense of "knowing another person" we sometimes may know another person, but you think that the ordinary sense is somehow inadequate (but you do not say why you do) and that in your more exaggerated sense, no one knows another person. And even, in your exaggerated sense, it is not even possible to know another person. Of course, the question you do not answer is what is it about this exaggerated sense of knowing another person that you think is better or more appropriate.
0 Replies
 
Dosed
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:22 pm
@aidan,
aidan wrote:

Quote:
human beings are excellent deceivers.

And that might be why you feel you can't know someone - whereas the majority of people I've known have not deceived me.
Maybe that's why I feel I can 'really' know someone.

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer.

I think everyone experiences people differently.

I personally believe I do and can know other people and that I am known by other people.

This does not mean I've entered their souls and lived their lives or that they've done the same with me however.
At least not in my book.



So you don't think that the parents who believe they "know" their honor roll student is not doing drugs are not naive? Or the husband who believes he "knows" his wife is not cheating, even though all of his friends are telling him so isn't blinded just a little? Or me, the person who overestimates a friendship and when it becomes something more believes that my friend would never lie about their feelings, because I know him. He wouldn't do that to me. He's my friend. People are capable of disgusting and hurtful lies. Maybe I'm a bitter and cynical bitch, but people won't ever get to me so easily again. I don't understand how "knowing" a human being is ever possible, as we are ever-changing, ever-deceitful creatures. We change and lie without even knowing it at times. I believe it's naive and dangerous to believe that you can know someone, and it can leave you blinded.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:24 pm
@aidan,
aidan wrote:

Quote:
But apparently, some people on this thread don't think that is the right answer, and would (perhaps) prefer something more mysterious. So mysterious that although they reject the obvious answer given by you, they are unable to give one of their own.


On the contrary - I think by my definition it's much LESS mysterious than by your definition.
I said: to know someone is to have an accurate and informed view of them. It doesn't mean you will always know what they will do next.
It doesn't mean that you become them and experience their feelings/thoughts/etc. exactly as they do as Dosed proposes.

It simply means you have knowledge of who they are - how they came to be that way - what they think- what is important to them. And you may only know these things because they told you these things.

What does 'getting to know someone' mean? Does it mean 'getting to BE them'?
Does it mean, 'Able to guess what they will do in every single situation'?

I think YOU guys are the ones who are making it more complicated than it is.




But if the test of whether you have "a more accurate and more informed view" is not that you are able to predict better what the person will do than can other people, then what is the test of having "a more accurate and informed view"? Your reply only pushes the question back one step. You define knowing another in terms of having a more accurate and informed view of him. But that only raises the question, how do you know that you have such a view of him (unless it is your ability to make likely predictions about his behavior and feelings under the circumstances. Have you a reply to that? Led me add that the predictability of a person is a graded notion. There are degrees of it. That is why you can know some people better than others, and why you can have better knowledge of some than others. Of course, as in all other circumstances, there is no real possibility of perfect prediction. Not even in the physical sciences, so surely not in the case of people.
 

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