Sunday, February 27, 2011


I think about perception a lot. It's probably just because I'm a self-conscious teenager or whatever, but the point remains the same.

So I think we can all agree that we don't perceive others the same way they perceive themselves, and we aren't perceived by them in the same way that we perceive ourselves (which I think is a rather terrifying thought if it's kept in the front of the mind).
And most, if not all, of us either consciously or subconsciously act differently depending on who we're with. Whether it's because our great-grandmother doesn't want us using that word, or just because Person A uses a given phrase often, so we pick it up when we're around him/her.

(N.B. Person A really truly is a fictional construct. If  at any time while reading this you think Person A is you, the similarity was not intentional.)

I, for instance, am more likely to talk about video games and science when with some people, but will probably talk more about books with others.

And if I'm hanging out with Person A and his/her given phrase, do I become a "different" person? Does Person A change me, or bring out a different "being"? 
I'm inclined to think that our personalities are a lot like quantum wave functions-- there's a certain area where we're likely to be, but every now and then those electrons jump somewhere else. We have the potential to be an awful lot of different things, and different people and different situations bring out different aspects of that potential within us.

What if I'm friends with Person A just because Person A brings out the facets of person-potential that is a good fit for Person A? Does that mean I shouldn't be friends with Person A, because the person I am while around him/her isn't truly me, or does it not matter because when I am interacting with him/her, that really is who I am? (I vote for the latter. It's not so much  a question that I'm actually wondering, but something that simply occurred to me.)

Which one of those perceptions or interpretations of my person-potential is "real"? Which ones are more valid than the others? 

1 comment:

  1. I think that "who we are" is indicated by the traits brought out by the people with whom we choose to associate. So, if we hang out with priests all the time it indicates that we truly desire to be righteous, or something... And if we hang around with a "bad crowd" we cannot blame our behavior on their "bad influence," we must acknowledge that it was our own choice that put us in contact with that influence to begin with. Admittedly this is overly simplistic, environmental factors and past choices play quite a role in who we hang out with, so it isn't a perfectly free choice, but I want to go to sleep soon, so I'm being simplistic. I just wanted to argue that hanging out with someone cannot bring out a trait that is not, in some sense, ourself, and that if we want to change ourself, we may need to change with whom we associate.


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