This weekend while I was reflecting, I realized I don't know anyone.
I look at others and I meet them of course. I interact with them and most of the time you'd call that 'getting to know them.' Yet it struck me that I only know them via my thoughts about them. I literally experience my thinking, not them. And so I create my experience of them.
But only 100% of the time.
Now if you really want to bake your noodle on this, not only do I really not know anyone, but in a very strange sense, they don't even exist. They are standing there, but my experience of them is coming from me.
Which means that on one level, there is no 'other' at all.
Now, I do realize that saying other people don't exist sounds a bit odd. (Just a bit). But if it's true that we are thinking beings, thinking our way through life and that the only experience we are ever having is the experience of what is in our own mind, then it follows that we can't see anyone outside of our thinking about them. I mean, how could we?
So the only person I've ever met is a bunch of my own thoughts about them.
You know, isn't it true that time after time we are shocked when we find out that so-and-so had a secret lover, or was embezzling or actually hates chocolate? Have you never had the experience of talking about someone only to find out that others don't see them the way you do? Aren't we often deeply surprised when someone very close to us reveals a secret dream or longing, or a deep desire that we had no idea about? Don't we mainly assume people are basically like us and find it strange when they are not?
In fact, we are just walking around, looking at people, and making them up as we go.
We are self-contained, self-referenced, meaning-makers. Except that we also assume that what we are making is true and real.
So, I guess there is no real like your own real.
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