I was musing the other day on what it is to know someone well. To have a friend or close family member.
Why is it we rely on elaborate systems of politeness and 'normal' responses when we don't know each other and then slowly bit by bit, as we get more comfortable we are able to share more of 'ourselves'?
Well here's my theory on this subject:
We are all somehow, due to our vast and incredible brains (and the even more vast and layered reality we are here to perceive) able to interpret this world uniquely. Considering there are over 6 billion humans out there this is pretty incredible, and yes there are demographics and patterns that seem to disprove this statement. But while we are subject to larger patterns and influences for various reasons, deep down within our own personal world i'm almost certain we are all doing something noone else is.
For one we all are blessed with an imagination, where nothing is limited unless we accept the limitation. Within an imagination the exact same information can be bent and reformed into truly endless shapes. Infact I will go so far as to say we are not just unique we are quite possibly totally alien to each other.
Think back to any argument that you've had when you suddenly realised that the person you were arguing with doesn’t hold ANY of the same beliefs or thought patterns that you do. That moment when you run out of ways to explain or share your point of view and just realise that no matter the words and concepts the other person just can't think/feel like you and visa versa.
In one way or another we are in a sense isolated in our own worlds. And this isolation leaves us worried that if we were to just be ourselves we'd be at best mis-understood and at worst shunned or looked at as if we were insane.
So for the most part we all naturally build fronts and 'personalities' that are acceptable or understandable at least to those we regularly interact with, or for the environment we find ourselves. Hence certain jobs or cultures produce certain recognised 'types' of people.
But when we start to make a friend it's just not possible to deepen the relationship without slowly revealing more and more about the unique world we each live in. For one the 'fronts' are complex and a bit flimsy so mistakes and inconsistencies mean that the closer you get to someone and the more they see of you the less a 'constructed you' will stand up to cross examination. And two as you get to know someone and they get to know you the safe zone for just how much uniqueness or oddness can be shown starts to expand.
Close family members can stand a good chance of seeing the uncut version of each other, but it can also go the other way since the vast amount of time spent on family relationships can also give the potential for fearsomely complex fronts to be built that are enforced by history and tradition so it's not a sure thing that all family members know each other completely.
But with friends where you have started often from an adult age and well after you've settled on your usual 'front' you have perhaps the best chance to reach a nice balance where finally you can just be yourself with no fear (or at least trust in tolerance) with someone else. Inside jokes and just being able to be 'silly' with friends is an expression of the freedom we gain by reaching this level of trust. There might not be any other person or place we can truly express our unique world with or to without someone to share it with.
And this is also why betrayal or the ending of friendships can be so hard and wounding. Because it's not just the person you are losing, it's a part of you, it's the ability to be free and un-edited without fear. And if that trust is suddenly broken then it once again throws up all the questions and worries that limit interaction with 'strangers'.
Sitting as we are in these mind blowingly complex bodies and minds surrounded by an endless and beautiful universe, the very idea that somehow we can find others who are just as vast and share a little of our personal worlds is fascinating to me. One person can create so much it can fill volumes but if you can add just one more mind let alone several the multiplication is astronomical.