in cognition and consciousness, weve been discussing nagels paper, what is it like to be a bat, about how you can never know what it is like to be something else and furthermore what it is like to be someone else. its very interesting, because as people we constantly operate under the assumption that we can connect with others and that there are certain universals (be it language, gestures, concepts) that allow us to communicate and believe that these things mean the same thing to each of us. but this just isnt true and its kindof blowing my mind right now, because how many times a day do you notice that you say something and it doesnt compute the same way for the other person? how many times do you find yourself adjusting your language to find just the right connotation to convey exactly what you mean? the thing is, you can think you understand a person and their experiences but you will only ever understand them in the context of you. the only thing its possible for them to communicate to you is the clumsy words they think will mean exactly what they are trying to tell you, and once you hear them, they are then perceived according to your own experience. i finally watched waking life all the way through yesterday for the first time, and all this aside the movies just amazing, but one quote from the movie that id constantly seen even before id watched it is this:
What is “frustration”? Or what is “anger” or “love”? When I say “love” the sound comes out of my mouth and it hits the other person’s ear, travels through this byzantine conduit in their brain through their memories of love or lack of love. And they register what I’m saying and they say yes they understand, but how do I know? Because words are inert. They’re just symbols. They’re dead. You know? And so much of our experience is intangible. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed. It’s unspeakable. And yet, you know, when we communicate with one another and we feel that we have connected and we think we’re understood I think we have a feeling of almost spiritual communion. And that feeling may be transient, but I think it’s what we live for.”
we do live for connection, but ultimately, we can never know how real it is. that is not to say we shouldnt try for it, because that feeling of connection is important for a lot of reasons. all im saying is, there is never any way to know anyone elses experiences but our own, because the second we try to make someone else understand it becomes filtered through everything they have experienced. our experiences are the filter through which we see the world and so it all comes down to that pestering thought i often have about how truly connected people can be. reality is subjective and that makes reality our own. we can say we belong to the same reality, but does anyone see the world exactly the way you do? you dont know, and theres no way to find out, so your reality is only yours. so i think the hardest part about communicating properly is coming close to having the other person understand what you truly mean, and this is where, i think, most people go wrong. we communicate to get a point across and not to have our point understood. we want to be understood, but ive noticed, what i do differently from a lot of people when trying to make a point, is fit my language to how i think it will best be recieved as truest to my original communicative intent, and not truest to what i mean. i think its essential to communicate for the other person and not yourself.