This concept is related to the other persons’ superego and self definition. This perfectly ties in to the way they interpret you. The diagram below shows the perception filter. It is still a big simplification, but it is a good aid for imagination.
Lets say this represents your own image of yourself.
Each slider could represent
- How you see an aspect/concept of yourself
- The importance you give to something. Now the scale for each one could be infinite
Now there could be infinite such sliders. Each one could have infinite scales. You may consider yourself a musician if you make a play and create a certain quality of tunes. But who defines quality? Its society.
If you meet a new person who says “You’re no good. Its nowhere close to the level of Jimi Hendrix or Mozart” many different reactions can arise depending on how you perceive the other person.
- If he is really extraordinary, then the question is can he help you achieve a higher level? If yes, then you would respond favorably because although he has increased the scale of the musician slider, he can take you higher.
- If he is as good as you but has set astronomical standards for himself and has greatly increased the scale of your slider. His being hard on himself also imposes some hardness on you.
- But you take on some level of discomfort if he is willing to include you in his striving (Assuming he wishes to strive)
- If his interests are in different areas, and he is personally not interested in advancing himself in this area then you just interpret him as being a bit harsh and develop a bit of repulsion.
- Last case is when, he is no good in that area, is not interested in pursuing anything, but still has set astronomical standards and belittles everyone, then the guy is interpreted as a total kill joy, jerk and a high degree of repulsion ensues. He not only belittles your position by greatly increasing the scale of the slider but also has no interest in that area itself and does not consider that important. He is simply denying/depriving you the pleasure of feeling special. Its like he has hit your self image from being outside it like shooting an arrow into a person from a castle window vantage point. The usual reaction after this is to get preoccupied with some way of paying this person back his insult.
That’s why finding like minded people who give importance to the same things provide a lot of security. The would try to improve in the same areas, would be eager to share a more mutually helping relationship, a win-win situation. Even here sometimes, the person is good at something that even you are but hates that side of himself and that can again take it into the opposite direction. So what matters, both of you give importance to the same things. Even here its complex. The importance you give changes with time which is based on your changing circumstances and influences. So is there really a bedrock? Generally the bedrock is early childhood experiences. Only mystics and explorers of that mind would look into such things consciously. If that is similar (which is difficult for you to gauge unless the person is very willing and articulate in expression), then you may be apparently different but that would be more of a veil. When you uncover that thin veil, you would discover that you can be great friends with that person.
Now, lets take it to the next level. This thing happens in every interaction warping the sliders in scale and choice. The blue bars on sliders show that they have been selected. The gray ones are the inactive ones. Interacting with another person may open up a new set of sliders and scales. The overall patterns uncovered after interacting with varied people for a long period of time imprints itself as a self image in our subconscious memory.
So interacting with each person is a different world. However, we give importance to certain worlds because they been tuned to synchronize with our self image integrated by early childhood experiences.
Early childhood is like a blank slate where entire survival programs (physical, social, mental) are written which forms the bedrock of our personality. After which we get an identity established and our whole lives are spent in furthering this identity and finding synchronicity in others.
The concept of a an ultimate friend or soul-mate would be if their bedrock perfectly synchronizes with ours. According to me, opposites attract is a myth. When I say synchronizes well it means their importance frameworks are a perfect match. She is everything you give the most importance to and you are everything she gives the most importance to.
But even here, the bedrock can be transformed if you can see through it. Very few people would dare to really look at it head on. In-fact we are not scared of death of the physical body, we are REALLY scared about death of this bedrock. Without that bedrock, we do not exist as we know it. A child is born almost as a blank slate with certain genes that determine its predilections etc. But this has nothing to do with the child’s self image. Everything that matters to YOU is independent of your genes etc. What the child feels once he/she is an adult depends on society’s response to what the child is which is what creates the Ego. The Ego is a social phenomenon. For example: Say the child is good at music. If this is greatly encouraged by the society as a whole and rewarded, then the child will develop an excellent self opinion. But if music is given tertiary importance, and things like fitting into society like a cog in the job market is rewarded the most, then the artistic child would have a weaker ego.
There is still a lot of room for further exploration. This is still a simplification of what happens in reality. Reality is a fractal firstly. Secondly we have not considered the impacts of memory fading or forgetting. Also, we haven’t looked into the power of living with someone for a long time and how it may change us fundamentally into loving this person or including them in our self definition.
A rigid person is someone who keeps his sliders and scale fixed. We say such a person cannot be influenced and his confidence about the sliders fools us into thinking he may hold the truth or right view because “We don’t know ourselves”. We start believing and adopt their beliefs as truth. If you do not hold on to any filter or belief or keep changing them unconsciously then we would fall in the category of being ‘easily influenced’. So either way is not ideal. The best is to see through this matrix.
So back to the main point, since this whole thing is like a game, you have the power to drop it all and be unaffected. In that case, what each person tells you is about his perception filters, biases, how hard he is on himself, how open is he to see the good in others, how exploration friendly he is, how good is he self esteem, how harshly does he judge etc. He would be judging himself by the same standards usually. If he has double standards, then he is just purely fooling himself which is a childish attempt by the ego to protect itself. So how he interprets you is more about him than you in essence.
Self proclaimed vs claimed by Others
We inherently favor collective judgement over singular and assume that’s more accurate. Wisdom of crowds? For example: 100 people tell you you are a great dancer, should we trust that more than 1 person telling us? Should we trust this feedback more than what we think we are? Well here is the catch. Your definition from self is totally intertwined with others. If you examine your self separately for the purpose of finding something true, you’ll realize you have lost your frame of reference and you have nothing to catch.
You can hold on to concepts like a good dancer should have symmetry, balance and grace etc. and make your definition independent of others’ opinions. We also call them principles at times. But this conceptual grouping “Good dancer – best balance, symmetry and grace” is nothing inherent. Now what is best? The limit of your imagination at the highest level? This imagination limit is also variable based on what you see in real life. Sometimes we see a performance that was beyond our imagination, so we tweak our imagination to this next level. It is a game because, it is thought dependent. If I don’t think about it, it does not exist, therefore not inherently real.
We create definitions and live up to them. If they have large social appeal, you get social praise too as a reward. But then if you get too much of this reward its balanced by people who will hate you too just for the fact that you have what they don’t have. Another way this duality could act is that since you have got so much reward from your actions a lot of your energy will be directed towards this goal and you too are pursuing in the same way as a cocaine addict. You may say ‘Oh, but I am doing something non-risky, which is good for society(moral crap)’. Excluding the moral crap, even the non-risky part removes the experience of the adrenaline rush of excitement for doing something forbidden. So it is not possible to have everything at the same time. Every experience is equal in the absolute sense. A scientist would say everything is just vibrations. So in a way duality acts on everyone equally no matter who you are. Its like a law of nature which applies to everyone.
Underemphasis and Overemphasis play
In Actual reality there are no filters, everything just is. We can balance our ego whenever we want by overemphasizing or giving special attention to what we under-emphasize.