When can you say that you ‘know’ somebody?

People. The manner in which our lives unfold is largely based on people just like the bases of a tree are entrusted into its roots, which if set in the right soil give rise to an incomparable and illustrative specimen. Its blossoming is impossible without those little underground ties with existence, and they present it with the possibility to evolve-no roots, no tree. Now of course how these roots are interwoven differs from individual to individual, and not having two identical sets is what renders us all unique. In other words, our relations with people ultimately play a crucial role in the development of our personalities- be it through enmity, friendship,love and the like (regardless of the type of connection two individuals have, they still largely impact each other’s spiritual growth).

treeOfLife_kudryashka

Yet it is not seldom that people seem to misunderstand the role they play in somebody’s evolution, which is understandable given our inability to be aware of what others think. All in all this is part of the reason why life is so outstandingly beautiful, for what would it be without mystery, uncertainty and misunderstandings (as people as early as Heraclitus sagely asserted)? Nevertheless, I’ve noticed people tend to make use of the phrase “I know you/who you are.”  too lavishly. Is “knowing” an individual merely a matter of time, or does it involve much, much more consideration and attention?

And is not that very phrase in most cases just a shortened version of  “I know your tastes/interests/habits etc.”? It seems that we deem these things to be predominant in the definition of a person or another, but aren’t these disposable after all? Tastes may change, interest vary…So when are we close enough to be allowed to utter such hasty words about somebody since all these could change any day? By going to the core, to the basis of their thinking and considerations. I suppose that my view on it is perfectly expressed by this very short poem I once wrote:

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You know my habits,

                      my interests

                       my passions.

But you do not know me.

 

Who I am transcends a mere name,

                                             some preferences or opinions.

Alas (?), you cannot see past that,

You cannot stretch as far as

Up here.

Or down there?

Do I even know who I am?

 

So again, is it enough to know one’s preferences to know who they are? Is it enough to know their name, their address, their job…? Fortunately (?), the number of people who pay enough attention (as much as possible) to the essence of another being is extraordinarily scant. And does that bother you?

Since the whole goal of this blog was never to give you answers, but merely to inspire you to find them yourselves, I shall end this post with another question: Do we actually want people to know who we are? Is the desire to be understood effaced once one attains it? What do you think? Are we more comfortable when they don’t see behind our masks, or do we need a person or two to be able to gaze deep in there so we could ascertain our inner value?

Venice_Carnival_-_Masked_Lovers_(2010)

Do we even know ourselves that well?

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3 responses to “When can you say that you ‘know’ somebody?

  1. ” our relations with people ultimately play a crucial role in the development of our personalities- be it through enmity, friendship,love and the like (regardless of the type of connection two individuals have, they still largely impact each other’s spiritual growth). ” I definitely agree with this.

    I can philosophize all day with you on the great questions you presented in your post, so for now I will just give my opinion on a couple of them.

    ” do we need a person or two to be able to gaze deep in there so we could ascertain our inner value? ”
    Sharing in the wisdom of others is a great way to help point you in the right direction of your inner value, but ultimately it has to be decided by you because no matter how wise a person is they do no walk in your shoes and live your life, so in the end it is your decision on your inner value.

    ” is it enough to know one’s preferences to know who they are? ”
    Knowing ones preferences is only face value. Really knowing someone and who they really are goes much much deeper than that, and with really knowing someone takes time. Circumstances change and so do preferences, but the core of your true self deep inside never changes. So if you think you really know someone because of their preferences at the time, you really don’t know them at all. If you decide one day that you want your hair short because you prefer it that way for the time being, then the person who said they know you sees you with short hair when they thought you preferred long hair. How much do they really know about you then besides your preference? Whereas a person who really knows your core isn’t surprised by it because this is who you are because of the time they spent really getting to know your likes, dislikes, loves etc… Hope this makes sense. I am starting to ramble so I am going to stop now. Great post!

    • Thank you for your response! Well I was thinking, since as you said, it takes time to get to know one’s core, that even this is relative. You can know a person for many years and still not have any idea who they are, and (though indeed rather rare) you can figure out some things about an individual that some do not in years. I personally had that experience once, one lengthy conversation being enough for us to get as close to the other’s essence as one could get given we shall always rest on the outside. Also, I do agree with what you said that it is you who has to acknowledge your inner value. In this respect It could happen for others to merely give us another perspective on facts, which even if not accurate helps us have a larger overview of it all. Seeing other opinions and perceiving how another mind works might give you valuable insight into your own, despite them being totally different (or maybe just because of that).
      I personally think we have that unconscious desire to be understood, to feel that there is someone who understands our worth, but at the same time if everybody can understand who you are it can be overburdening, depending on the case. Sometimes I feel rather dejected because important people in my life (such as my parents) have no idea who I am, but at the same time I acknowledge the fact that it makes my relationships with those who do all the more special…

  2. ” You can know a person for many years and still not have any idea who they are, and (though indeed rather rare) you can figure out some things about an individual that some do not in years. ” Now that I have some time to reflect on this. Your statement is true, there is a certain connectivity that some people have with one another that by only talking with them for a short amount of time they really truly get and understand who you really are without much explaining. While the person you may have known for years still does not understand the essence of your being. I share the same sentiment about my parents not knowing who I am either. Your absolutely right in saying that we have that unconscious desire to be understood, especially by those we really care about.

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