Friday 11 May 2012

The Phantom Stranger

Isn't it strange how easy it is to read into what strangers are doing and how they are feeling at any given time, and yet how hard it can be to understand your own feelings or figure out what to do in a situation that you're personally involved in?  I wish I could look at my own life with the same emotional detachment and neutrality with which I would view a stranger's.  I think a lot could be learned!

Just picture, say, a pill you took or a sci-fi brain helmet or something, with which you could forget completely who you are for X amount of time.  You could then tour your own life like a phantom stranger and basically actually see how you look through someone else's eyes!  Wouldn't that be valuable?  I think everyone could learn something about themselves in this way.  Find out what makes you look impressive and what makes you look foolish...what relationships are helping you and what ones are maybe holding you back...what areas of your life could be vastly improved with just a little more effort...just be able to look at everything with new eyes.

Unfortunately I know of no magic technology that will truly allow me to view my life through the eyes of a stranger.  However, I can try to pretend.  I tried walking through my apartment the other night as if it were the apartment of someone I'd never met.  I was trying to decide what the various items contained within the place said about their owner.  There were lots of areas I thought could be improved with just a little work.  I also question the need for "whoever lives in this apartment" to have so many little plastic effigies to what?  Something...a strange fascination with duality....heroes and villains...cats and dogs...good and evil...all set amongst mismatched furniture and an unusual contradiction of very old and very modern things...

And that's just the living room.  This was an interesting activity but I don't know that it helped me really learn anything.  It's a wonder anyone ever understands even why they themselves do the things they do.  And if this is the case, how are we ever going to understand each other?

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