I was walking around the pond this morning when I saw another guy approaching. “Don’t I know you?” I asked the guy, but then I corrected myself: “No, I guess I don’t.” “No, I guess not,” the guy agreed. This was all a little joke: he was wearing a t-shirt that read “You Don’t Know Me.”
If I spent some time “getting to know” this guy, would it be a futile undertaking inasmuch we can never really know anyone? Even if he took great pains to reveal things about himself to me, and even if I concentrated intently on understanding him, would our efforts be for naught because his true self would always retreat from interaction into unassailable hermetic isolation? If I were to enter into a relationship with this guy, would I come to know only his relational properties in our little dyad, with those properties bearing possibly no connection with his properties as an individual or as dyadic participant with someone else?