Have you ever met someone at a social event or in the course of your professional endeavors, started chatting with that individual, gotten to like (or dislike) him (or her) before learning his name and then upon learning his full name, saying, “Oh, so, you’re so and so!” You’d heard all about him from someone else. But, the impression you get on meeting him is the exact opposite of the image you had created of him.
This thought comes to mind (and not for the first time) for a variety of reasons, first, speculating about meeting one of our critics at a non-political event where we talk movies or history or whatever before finding out that we sit on opposite side of the political fence and second, thinking that there must be a movie which addresses this topic.
As I thought about this, I realized, the idea is much bigger than just a question of how we often create images of other people in our minds (based upon what others have said about them — or our own impressions of people in a group to which they belong — or who hold the creed they do). And then, there are the times, when, we fret over what we wear or what we say, fearing we offended somebody in some way. It’s not that we offended them, it’s that we fear we offended them.
(Or that if we do this or that thing, you know, like jumping in the pool less than an hour after eating, it will cause this or that adverse result.)
It’s all inside our heads.
There is more to this notion than this and I may to build upon it in a future post, but want to keep this one brief to get you thinking. Sometimes we do become victims of our imagination, seeing things as far different (and perhaps far worse) than things actually are entirely because of how we imagine them to be.