Since the early stages of history there are a consensus that appearances can be deceiving. Aesop warned us that “appearances often are deceiving” and he was not alone. It seems that this statement is part of a general knowledge and still it seems as well we fail to interiorize it.
I try to go over the first impression we have when we meet someone for the first time, not to categorize the people by their looks or studies, clothes or economical situation because I truly believe these things don’t make a person. They are just circumstances that might influence but never determine the person itself. I’m trying to run away being inserted in a group, nationality, education… whatever thing is susceptible of create a group and, when at last I feel comfortable with this “not belonging” I try to go to the next stage, the most difficult one, to not make people belong.
Right now it’s all about breaking the stablished rules and see what happens, see what goes with me, what I feel comfortable with.
“Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.” Charles R. Swindoll
So, that’s why I feel so at unease right now. I’m trying not to categorize people and the people approaches me labeling themselves. This morning I had the last experience that made me write this post. As I was having an iced green tea in a coffee shop a very good looking guy approaches me to ask me my name, nationality, if I’am a tourist… a regular beginning of conversation. He seemed nice so I invited him to take a seat at my table. I didn’t know his name yet, I was about asking him when the first thing he blurted out about him was “I’m a lawyer, can I have your telephone number?”. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I think in terms of introductions the first thing one says about oneself is the name, which it’s probably most useful when we are talking about calling each other… What is he going to say when he calls me: “Hey, I’m the lawyer”? Wouldn’t it be easier to give me his name?
The thing is that he’s not the only one that introduced himself by the professional group he belongs too. Since I arrived here I have been receiving regular invitation to have coffees and dinners and the thing that amazed me the most is that all these guys introduce themselves by the status they belong to, whether the profession or studies. The pictures of all these guys are very artificial, like they are wearing their best clothes, they are posing, those pictures seem to me being very far from natural.
Although appearances might be deceiving, they can be revealing too. And that’s true too. You can learn a lot about the appearance of someone, about what he/she wants to show.
Don’t judge the others by the appearance
The main point is to find a balance trying to collect useful information without fall into creating false conclusions when we lack of knowledge and experience about the circumstances of others as well as their culture. And now I’m addressing mainly to myself because I found myself drawing assumptions about the society and people I’m surrounded now after a week of stay, which is clearly nonsensical, reason why I’m determined to control my hasty conclusions by dedicate more time to an educated and thoughtful rationalization.
“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.” Herman Melville.
Before ending this post, I can’t but ponder about this concern about appearances. Sometimes, people are more interested in correcting their image than they are in correcting themselves. What is it that we want? To seem or to be? Socrates did give us the answer: “The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world, is to be in reality what we would appear to be.”