What do we really see when we look at someone?

This is my first real post on wordpress. It seems a bit long, but give it a read if you’d like. I hope you find it interesting, world.

Today I was walking in Manhattan; it was a wet, chilly day, garbage on the floor, advertisements at eye-level. Advertisements with models caught my eye, and I recalled an idea that I think about from time to time.

The idea that we often make opinions on people based on their physical appearance. We do it with strangers, with first impressions, even with people we know well. We analyze their body, their clothes, their hair, their makeup, their features, their skin, their footwear, their posture. Sometimes we do this consciously and sometimes the adaptive unconscious does it for us. We often subconsciously sum people up, based on a combination of a million different little things that we notice about them, that make us feel a certain way about them, all in the space of a few seconds.

And I wonder, is it inaccurate to judge people on appearance? Is it misleading to think a certain way about someone because of their physical attributes, because of their closeness to societys-or our individual-idea of being attractive? And I wonder, why do people approach strangers when they think they are attractive? What does their physical appearance have to do with whether or not you will have anything in common or be compatible in any way? It seems like total foolishness. You fit my description of attractiveness, and so I approach you. Is that not very shallow? Is that not random and unusual? I often have these thoughts, and today I had a new one, continuing on this idea.

I recently read a book called “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz. In this book, there was a part that discussed everyones search for what makes up their identity. What am I? Am I my body? Am I my mind? Am I my heart or my soul? The book says that we are not any of those things. We are a force. We are a force passing through this body that we occupy. That is what all people and living things are. (Personally, I expand this to include inanimate things, because they are made of energy! Everything is made of energy. And what is now a rock or the table we rest our hand on, may become part of a person’s fingernail or the bark of a tree or the fluff of a plants seed in time. Our body is inanimate anyway, without our force occupying it, and it is still energy, particles, force). In any case, remembering the thought that what we ARE is a force, I thought perhaps we find people attractive, because of who they really are-a combination of the physical and the force.

Because if you think about it, the force in everyone shines through their body. It comes out in the glint or the dullness in their eyes. It’s expressed with all of their movements, gestures and expressions. So perhaps it’s not totally shallow, perhaps we do see more to a person, when we see their physical body. At least we can say that for when you see somebody in person, or perhaps in a movie or commercial. And one might go even futher to say that it is true of pictures, stills, as well. A picture of someone can almost catch the essence, the force, being expressed through their physical body.

And as I thought these things, I thought, this must most certainly be true. We are not attracted to solely the physical. If we were, we would find corpses, mannequins and masks attractive. But as it is, most people do not. Most people find that thought revolting.

Additionally, we find revolting the person whose force repels us. The person whose movements, words, expressions and morality disagree with us as individuals, no matter how “attractive” they may be considered by others. And the reverse is true as well, we often find people attractive that are not necessarily thought of as so by society. Because it’s not just about legs or eyes or height, it really isn’t the physical observation that we make the judgment on.

So while it comes into play, I think the truth is that physical attributes are not the sole thing your opinion of others is based on when you analyze their looks-whether you realize it or not. Thought for the day.