Can anyone know what it’s like to be you?

The idea of subjectivity is one which has been contemplated upon for much time, and a common idea is that we should ‘put ourselves in another person’s shoes’. Yet to what extent is this really possible? We can attempt to imagine what it might be like being another person, but we can’t adequately experience what it means to be another person. We are, however much we like it, penned in by our subjectivity-something we cannot escape. Thomas Nagel writes about this in The Absurd, saying that our attempts to view things objectively conflicts with our subjectivity and that it is this very conflict which makes life absurd. There does seem to be a difficulty in the attempt to view someone’s else life through their perspective-it’s something that we just cannot do, and it seems that our state is inescapable. It is possible to imagine how another person must be feeling, yet this imagining is only based on our own interpretation of what that person is like, as well as our own feelings as to how we would react if certain events had happened to us rather than others. Fundamentally, it is not possible to satisfactorily know what it’s like to be another person. Only you can truly know what it’s like to be you, it seems, and this matter of subjectivity is a concept which has been, and will be, deliberated upon for much time.

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