Some truths of inner self dawn upon us all a little later than they should. It was just a couple of years ago now that I found myself sitting in a meeting of technical professionals discussing some lofty software vision or planned improvement for the forever leaking bucket of logical or administrative and bureaucratic extensibility; my eyes drifted across the table and found their resting place upon another’s thoughtful face. For some reason it was at that singular moment that it struck me that what I saw of this person, their presence and behaviour, their personality and all those subtle microexpressions that leave so much more of an impression than the words people ever utter – none of these things ever really showed me who they really were, what mysteries and hopes or secrets and shames might dwell there in that lonely carvern that housed their mind.
Of course, we never really ever know another person, barring the extrasensory affections of unverifiable mystical or spiritual connection that we all perhaps experience in some way but rarely feel secure or comfortable enough to share with the world. I wonder, too, just how much we ever really know ourselves; just what hidden energies or motivations and unknown, unconscious mechanisms or unacknowledged and entirely autonomous organic compulsions underlie our own behaviours and shared passions.
Notice, too, that while we all find ourselves slowly but surely drifting into a world of compound superficialities, of only ever living or knowing ourselves as that through which some other might know or see and measure us (as so many data points in cultural and corporate algorithms we barely understand), that we are coming to only be able to understand ourselves as this surface, this mask and social or technologically-mediated presentation layer. We have worn these masks so long that we are barely able to recognise such simply-mirrored labyrinths of social media self are only this – masks, and that if we are ever to sincerely connect again, we really need to drop the bullshit and look once again, inside, with open minds and an endlessly creative living, loving introspection.