I was talking to Aunt Peanuts last weekend, and she asked how I pictured someone in my mind’s eye. It’s an interesting question.
I tend to associate people with feelings and memory, not their appearance. In my memory, there is a softening. I see people tinged with memory. My former step father is a not bad looking man, but after years of his behaviour, I see him as a malignant and evil looking man. I actually ran into him last week, and I was surprised by how old and ordinary he looked. I look at Mr. Spit through the lens of almost 14 years of married life – the history our lives together. I see him as he is, true, but I also see all of my memories with him. I see the feelings before the facts.
It always interests me, this business of how we classify people. One of the ways I have come to do it is based upon whether you think facts or feelings are more important. Neither is a moral absolute, for the record. In the end, I think how people feel will colour more of your interactions with them than the facts about the interaction ever would.
I’ve been asking people how they see others when they picture them in their mind’s eye. I don’t think Aunt Peanuts and I are particularly unique – I think our version of “seeing” people simply reflects who we are.
So, I’m curious. When you picture someone you haven’t seen in a while, do you see them as they were the last time you saw them, or do you see them in some other way?