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Can you ever really know another person?

 
 
fast
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 08:08 am
Zetherin wrote:
Is that what they mean by "we can't really know other people"? That we aren't omniscient and don't know everything other people will say, think, or do?
A person that would say "we can't really know other people" means to say that what we don't know about other people is absolutely everything there is to know about them. And that to me, seems true, even though we can 1) know people and 2) know people well (or know a lot about people we know).

People often times say what they mean, yet what they mean to say is false—and so what they say is false. Other times, what people mean to say is true, yet what they actually say is false. Brilliant are we who can tell the difference.

There is another prevalent confusion between knowing people versus knowing of people. Some people that know others will deny that they know them (which is strange) and instead say that they merely know of them—all because they don’t socialize with them.

What is a person fixated on that compels them to speak? What drives them to maintain their position? Yes, what a person says may indeed be false, but what a person has in mind when they speak may not be reflected well by what they say.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 08:28 am
I never ceased to be amazed at how many good discussions come down to misconceptions/mis-communication on what a key term really means, or how its used. I suppose in a perfect world the context for such a key word should be defined - and then followed - by the Opening Post.

I do; however, get a good chuckle if I read back through all these posts and think on the term "know" in the Biblical sense. Sure makes it a lot more entertaining...
0 Replies
 
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 08:48 am
After we have known someone for a while and become familiar with many intimate things about them we feel betrayed when they act contrary to our expectations or we fell excluded when we find out there is intimate stuff we do not know. Because we "really thought they let us in". Yet there is stuff we won't let out and we do not feel betrayed when we act contrary to our own expectations. I am constantly surprising myself in situations where I may act contrary to how I have ever acted before, we should not be surprised when others do it, and IMO we should not feel that we do not know them when they do act differently than we expect them to.
Dosed
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 09:19 am
As I've said, what I mean by the word know is that you cannot understand the feelings, motives, attitudes, or thoughts of another person. Even if they communicate them honestly with you, you still cannot know what this means or understand it, because you do not have all of the background and experience as the other person. You don't have the same body or mind or life or friends or experiences that would lead you to think as that person thinks. therefore, you can never truly understand, even if you think you do. You can never really know, even if you want to. even if they want you to. You can only grasp it.

You might say "that's obvious," and I suppose it is, but for me and my recent experiences, it was a realization that floored me. And it left me feeling lonely and sad, at the time.

That's that for philosophical reasoning.

From a relationship aspect, when you claim to really know someone there tends to be some sort of mystical belief that fate has brought you together, you were made for one another, your souls are one, and all of that stuff. My point here is that people change and people deceive, and no one should think they know anyone. People are fake. And cruel. And that's not a complaint, kenneth, it's a fact.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 09:22 am
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead wrote:

After we have known someone for a while and become familiar with many intimate things about them we feel betrayed when they act contrary to our expectations or we fell excluded when we find out there is intimate stuff we do not know. Because we "really thought they let us in". Yet there is stuff we won't let out and we do not feel betrayed when we act contrary to our own expectations. I am constantly surprising myself in situations where I may act contrary to how I have ever acted before, we should not be surprised when others do it, and IMO we should not feel that we do not know them when they do act differently than we expect them to.


Yes, we are not infallible about the weather, and we are not infallible about people. And both the weather and people surprise us. In can be a perfectly sunny day, and we plan on a picnic, and guess what? a storm comes up. Why should we expect anything different about people? Indeed, people are more complex than the weather. So, does that mean that weather predictions are hopeless, and that we should pay no attention to what weather people predict? Of course not. If infallibility is expected, then disappointment will ensue. But it is foolish to think that either if we cannot infallibly predict what others will do, that means we cannot know other people, since to know does not mean infallibly to know. If the original question was, can we infallibly know other people, the answer would be, of course we can't. But, so what? Of course, that you were floored by the fact that your knowledge is not infallible is surprising, but maybe if you are young that is because of the naivety of youth. If you are older, then, of course, you should have known better. I suppose that is a kind of philosophy too.
0 Replies
 
Dosed
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 09:23 am
@GoshisDead,
how about when they actually do betray you? how about when you think you know someone, and you call them your friend, and then they behave as if you are just another person.

I call that being naive, and perhaps it isn't the person's fault, as we're the ones being silly by thinking we know better. But it sure opens a case for what it means to know someone.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 09:25 am
@Dosed,
Dosed wrote:

As I've said, what I mean by the word know is that you cannot understand the feelings, motives, attitudes, or thoughts of another person. Even if they communicate them honestly with you, you still cannot know what this means or understand it, because you do not have all of the background and experience as the other person. You don't have the same body or mind or life or friends or experiences that would lead you to think as that person thinks. therefore, you can never truly understand, even if you think you do. You can never really know, even if you want to. even if they want you to. You can only grasp it.

You might say "that's obvious," and I suppose it is, but for me and my recent experiences, it was a realization that floored me. And it left me feeling lonely and sad, at the time.

That's that for philosophical reasoning.

From a relationship aspect, when you claim to really know someone there tends to be some sort of mystical belief that fate has brought you together, you were made for one another, your souls are one, and all of that stuff. My point here is that people change and people deceive, and no one should think they know anyone. People are fake. And cruel. And that's not a complaint, kenneth, it's a fact.


Yes, when you emphasize the word "know" the way you do, you are asking whether we can infallibly know what other people will do or say. And the answer to that is, no. But, of course, no one ever does mean "infallibly know" by "know". so it doesn't matter.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 09:31 am
@Dosed,
Dosed wrote:

how about when they actually do betray you? how about when you think you know someone, and you call them your friend, and then they behave as if you are just another person.

I call that being naive, and perhaps it isn't the person's fault, as we're the ones being silly by thinking we know better. But it sure opens a case for what it means to know someone.


It doesn't open a case for that at all. All it means is that we should be more cautious about thinking we know people. It has nothing at all to do with what it means to know someone.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 09:54 am
@Dosed,
I would say it seems we have a mystical or psychic sense of knowing another, but I think it is our tendency to pace trust in the other after having gotten to know them. When we place our trust in someone we are really extending to them the assumption that they would act as we would. We psychologically extend ourselves and place it in an overlay on the other person. They become less themselves and more another version of us. It is an illusion that we must extend in order to feel safe relying on others.

We know they aren't us, we know they are them, but I think that mystical knowing connection and the subsequent feelings of betrayal real or assumed are because after we started seeing others as extentions of ourselves and they do not act as we would, we feel stupid for acting as if they would.
Dosed
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 09:59 am
@kennethamy,
If you don't think there is a case for such a thing, then you can politely excuse yourself from my thread and stop posting things that are counter-productive to philosophical discussion and reasoning because all you're really saying to me is "this topic is pointless." So if you think so, I'd appreciate it if you'd simply say it one time and then be gone, because I don't think it's pointless and I happen to enjoy the discussion.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 10:29 am
@Dosed,
Dosed wrote:

If you don't think there is a case for such a thing, then you can politely excuse yourself from my thread and stop posting things that are counter-productive to philosophical discussion and reasoning because all you're really saying to me is "this topic is pointless." So if you think so, I'd appreciate it if you'd simply say it one time and then be gone, because I don't think it's pointless and I happen to enjoy the discussion.


I am sorry if you think that philosophy is about agreeing with everyone, and not about criticism and argument, and questioning assumptions, but that seems to be still another nativity of yours. As I said, you should pose your problem to someone like Ann Landers. And even she may tell you that you are expecting more than you should from other people. Philosophy is not advice to the love-lorn.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 10:31 am
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead wrote:

I would say it seems we have a mystical or psychic sense of knowing another,


Why would you say that. Have you any good reason to say it. Of course, you might just mean that some people who post seem to think we have that kind of thing, but I would ask them the same question.
0 Replies
 
Dosed
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 11:25 am
@kennethamy,
I'm fine with disagreement, but you continuously post arrogant remarks about how my questions are pointless and I've become annoyed by it.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 01:51 pm
@Dosed,
Dosed wrote:

I'm fine with disagreement, but you continuously post arrogant remarks about how my questions are pointless and I've become annoyed by it.


Sorry. I am sure you are deeply hurt, and you want solace. But that is not a philosophical problem, and your question, insofar as it is a philosophical question, has already be adequately answered.
0 Replies
 
l0ck
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 02:59 pm
@Dosed,
What does 'knowing' consist of when we are speaking of sovereign beings with the capacity to make a infinite amount of expressions? with infinite potential?

Perspective and thought and experience are unique to all of us as free and sovereign beings. You may feel you know someone, as though you can predict their future implications, but the truth is, everyone has the capacity make a infinite amount of expressions, and those expressions don't have to meet up to your expectations and doesn't have to follow a path of rationality.

I agree with you, we are inherently alone, Dosed. Loneliness is a expression we all endure. Fortunately, we are in a separated state of finite mass and get to experience projections of other beings, who like us, are inherently alone, with the same infinite capacity of expression. As we go through life, our perspective, memory, and awareness changes and so our views on a subject change as well, and the way we feel about all things.

You can look at it in several ways, but I don't suggest beating yourself up over it. You can look at it as though the only reason our experiences cross is to create conflict, which very well may be true, or you can enjoy the experiences your going through, and continue to move forward in a positive light looking forward to the next cohesive experience with another, no matter how it turns out, or what they express, or what changes, because everything changes.

Experiences always involve positive and negative stimuli. Have you ever noticed that? It is by this we learn, and progress. You cannot fully know something without knowing its opposite, love/hate, light/dark, ect. Look at the whole picture.

With our uniqueness, we are all essentially loners. We have friends, companions, followers, and enemies, but at our core is a state of loneliness. The experience will continue however, your always faced with new propositions, someone to teach, and someone to learn from, and it all comes in the unique form of experience. I say enjoy it. Or not. Its really up to you.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 03:10 pm
@l0ck,
l0ck wrote:

What does 'knowing' consist of when we are speaking of sovereign beings with the capacity to make a infinite amount of expressions? with infinite potential?




I would imagine that knowing means (consists of) what we ordinarily mean by knowing. In this case, that we can make true predictions about what the person is likely to do, say, or feel. It may, of course be (as you suggest by your question) that it is very difficult to do that, and you may be right. But there are orders of difficulty. I am better able to predict the behavior of people with whom I am very familiar than I am complete strangers.
0 Replies
 
irina321
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 06:51 pm
@Dosed,
Dosed, I know that at first this news is almost shocking and tends to make us people feel uneasy. The funny thing is, it was blatently obvious that we didn't know someone the entire time. For us to assume that we completely know another is absurd. We will never fully know ourselves because we are faced with new situations throughout our lives. We might even assume that we will know how we respond, if say, we witness a murder but we won't.

The matter at hand shouldn't be as troubling as you make it out to be. Real followers of Buddhism will have the ability to show that they can hold on to something, which might only last momentarily and then let it go. Understanding that we will never fully know what the other thinks of us, life, themselves or simply how they view things from their own eyes, should actually be practiced.

If we are willing to take something or someone for precisely how they present themselves rather than assuming and painting pictures over the truth without realizing it, we can practice "letting go" once things might not work out. Once you have come to a conclusion that we are all different, unique and that there is a certain loveliness in our minds and thoughts constantly changing (so that no one, not even ourselves can keep up with), life will become more fresh and fruitful.
0 Replies
 
irina321
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 06:58 pm
@Dosed,
Why do we always strive so hard to feel as if we completely "know" someone? I think it has to do with our nature to want to have possession and to feel power. But wouldn't it be healthier to accept that we do not and will not fully know someone and that it's OK...?

If we can accept that and take people for what information we know about them, than why not place all the focus on getting to know oneself? It's best we know ourselves because we will always be with ourselves - even when we have no one.
kennethamy
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2010 10:39 pm
Yes. It has become a "Dear Abby" column.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 12:00 am
@irina321,
Actually - it's more important to me that I feel I am 'known' than to feel that I 'fully' (whatever that means) know someone else. I don't like it when I'm accused of doing or thinking things that I'd never do or think.

And I think other people might feel the same way, because I have had friends who have seemed very hurt and almost insulted when I've said that I don't feel that I 'fully' know them.

Seriously, once I said to one of my friends, 'You know everything about me, and I barely know anything about you.'
A lot of it is the nature of our personalities - I wear my heart on my sleeve and with certain people nothing is off limits - you know I feel that I can tell them anything. He's one of those people I feel comfortable saying whatever I want to to .
In fact, that's why I cherish that friendship because it's not often you meet someone that you don't feel embarrassed discussing, or decide that it's not in good taste to discuss certain things with them. I mean - he's a guy - but I'd feel comfortable sitting and discussing my menstruation history - or something equally as personal- with him (not that I ever have, but if I wanted to I feel that I could, Laughing Laughing and I feel that he'd listen! Laughing Laughing ).
But he, on the other hand, has had episodes in his life that he doesn't want to elaborate on or get into. So I said that to him, and he was so taken aback and insulted and responded with such hurt saying, 'You, more than anyone should know me- HOW can you say you don't know anything about me?'

I was talking about knowing his history - he was talking about knowing his 'true self'- he'd felt that he'd shown that to me. And maybe he had and I just didn't know that was his whole true 'self'.

So I don't agree with this whole thing that you have to know what the person will do in any given situation to feel that you 'really' know them.
That just means you know their habits - not necessarily who they 'really' are.
(Although yes, one's habits are a part of who they are).

I also want to ask this question. If you can't really know me - or any other person- how can you say with any certainty that no one can really know another person?
Maybe you yourself know that you can't really know yourself or any other person - but if you don't really know anyone else - how can you assume that they're as limited as you are and that they can't 'really' know themselves or another person?
 

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