What others know about us

It’s good that people don’t know how you perceive them, or we’d end up jumping at each other’s throat.

Karl wrote:

Il n’est pas toujours sain de savoir ce que les autres connaissent à propos de vous.

Rough translation: It’s not always very healthy to know what others know about you.

I was in a game shop in the centre of Paris, looking for something to play with my kids, and I said I liked Mr So-and-so, the man who is well known in the community for creating fun and interesting games. The salesperson who was listening to me and was supposed to give me advice replied: You like So-and-so, the person, or you like the games by So-and-so?.

I think he stepped out of his designated role a little and should have stuck to it in retrospect, of course. I said I didn’t know him personally but I liked his games. The salesperson then pushed me towards other games, and fortunately I also chose a game by So-and-so that we enjoyed playing.

I understand that he knew the man and didn’t like him. It ended up changing the way he looked at the games So-and-so made.

It’s always so hard to separate the person from their work. There’s a debate at the moment, with all the abuse in Hollywood, as there was in other times in history for other questions – for instance, could one still read Céline’s anti-war Journey to the End of the Night when one knows Céline was pro-Nazi in World War Two? Can you obfuscate one part of a person to enjoy the rest of them?

Every time a question like this arises, I wonder what we don’t know about some artists, writers, musicians, etc., that history did not document, and that would make them fall from benefactors of humanity to sick people, from genius to trash.

What do people really know about us, how do they really perceive us? I can’t remember in which funny science fiction story people on a planet became telepaths all of a sudden, and killed each other. We’re lucky that we’re not telepaths (or in Karl’s article, that we don’t have access to all the digital data each one of us has collected about themselves), so we can have a social life and lie by omission if we so wish.

Addendum: food for thought shared by Anthony (video on Youtube, subtitled).

Comments

  • Coralie Mercier (1 December 2017)

    You are right that for most, it’s challenging to separate a person from their work, and that what you know of a person has an influence. But I think it goes both ways. There’s a tremendous advantage for someone who is likable due to their actions or/and who they are.

    So given most people won’t take a lot into consideration and will likely conflate who an individual is and what they do, it behooves us to be the best we can. Then, we no longer need to worry too much about what people really know about us, or how they really perceive us.

    Reply to Coralie Mercier

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