Wednesday, April 25, 2012
This meme has been doing the rounds of facebook, lately. And it connects, at least slightly, with something I've been thinking on. Especially the bit about "Creating the rainbow". I find it fascinating, that the whole universe of our experience as conscious beings is produced by neurons in our heads. In actual fact, we each experience our own "virtual reality", played on the screen of our mind. How much does this equate to "actual" reality? That's quite a question!!
And if even our perceptions of measurable, physical phenomena are subjective and limited (reading the above, I think it is miraculous we have any sense of coherence and continuity at all) - this makes the fact that we are social beings, forming bonds and relationships, even more wondrous. I mean, think about it! Not only do we form mental representations of what people look like and how they act - we are driven to share one another's internal worlds. That's like creating a virtual reality of a virtual reality of a virtual... alright. I'll stop there - but can you see what I'm seeing??
To me, relationships - any kind of relationships - are most satisfying when there is a sense that we "understand each other". That my internal world is seen and comprehended by another, and that I also can see and comprehend theirs.
What makes them most UNsatisfying, is when I feel that another person is relating, not to me, but to their own virtual idea of me. Does that make sense? A recent example (which sticks in my mind as it was rather startling), was when the young fellow at the corner store here propositioned me recently (yikes!) Apart from being quite inappropriate, and a bit of an embarrassing shock, it showed a HUUUGE disjoint between his perceptions of me, and my own. He was placing me in some kind of strange fantasy role (not at all in keeping with my age, appearance, or actual life-roles - let alone my real desires and preferences) I have no idea what he was seeing - but it sure as heck wasn't "me"!! (It really was most bizarre!!)
Of course, that was just a random awkward moment, in an interaction with an almost complete stranger. It was embarrassing - but when people closer to us in our lives push us into "roles" the disconnect is far more painful. Perhaps the wife who expects her husband to always be strong and affirming; the husband who expects endless nurturing from his wife; the friend who wants others to play a particular social game in order to feel good... there are as many variations as there are relationships. And the truth is, when we do this to another, we are simply using them for our own agenda. Perhaps to meet our emotional needs, bolster our confidence, or simply confirm our "convenient fictions" about ourselves.
The saddest aspect of this, is that every person is, just like Dr. Who's Tardis, so much bigger on the inside!! Why limit your perception of another human being, simply to what you "want" them to be??