I went to a talk at the noon Library class on Thursday, given by my friend Sean. (He teaches Irish Studies at St. Mary’s University and he is very eloquent in his speech.) It’s been an interesting class on Irish poetry. This was the last class, unfortunately. I will miss it.
Anyway, he mentioned that he didn’t feel he knew anyone really. Or himself. Since what we see in someone else is from our own point of view, and therefore a projection of what we think we see about them , then who are they really and, since we don’t really know, do we really know ourselves. Maybe we are a projection of what we think about ourselves.
I read an article a few years back about a study in a workplace in which they asked people to say who they think they are, how they think people see them. 73% described themselves diametrically opposite to what their co-workers thought about them. So possibly how well we know ourselves is questionable; how well we know others is even more questionable, and we don’t even seem to know how others perceive us. It’s easier, and probably more fun, to make assumptions.
I once named a series of paintings I Am; You Are. I was thinking, at the time I was painting about these ideas, thinking I am what I am and you are what you are and that’s that. To me, the paintings were just that, what they were, or are. So often I am surprised by what people see in my work. If they see faces or boats or trees, I am uncomfortable, want to paint that part out. If they see reflections of thoughts, ideas, feelings, then it feels right to me. But, as I said, you are what you are, or maybe, you see what you are.