The Interesting People

November 27, 2007 at 6:07 am | Posted in Life as I See It | Leave a comment
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I don’t really meet people whom I would call ‘interesting’ as often as I’d like.

It’s a pity, really, because I am very fond of stydying people and cultures. I think everyone is, to a certain extent, drawn to this hobby of studying people, unless they’re the type who barricade themselves in the country, to never emerge again.

People who study other people, often have no trouble sizing people up in the first meeting itself. Their first impressions about people are rarely wrong. It is an art to some extent, because you have to discern the motives behind what they say, the meanings behind their expressions, and the causes as well as the consequences of their acts. There are some traits that you recognise straightaway, some views on which you disagree or some characteristics you identify with. But there is something about every person, every individual, speaks out directly to you.

Based on your generalisations you will try to classify people and try to fit them into pre-outlined boxes of categories. Honest, funny, smart, rude, timid – the classification is limitless. But for all their own pros and cons, they all can be narrowed down to two different types. One is the interesting people, and the other – not the uninteresing people, but uninterested people.

Relativity again, what?

Well, I don’t suppose everybody will agree on what’s interesting and what’s not, so you can have intersting people, but no uninteresting ones, even if you go by majority.

Right, then, what makes a person interesting?

I can’t work out the answer to that one by going along the lines of stereotypes. Honestly, the best way to judge a thing is to view it against its projected, pre-defined image. OK, so if I were to draw up a generalisation as to what and whom I’d call interesting, I think my answer would lie in difference. As in, in what particular aspects you differ from a particular person. So the people who seem most interesting to me are the ones who are the most different to me. People often try to go by what they share in common. But, as I said, judging-by-contrast is a far better option.

But what many folks don’t understand is that differences and similarities are often related. The funniest thing is that these differences are often superficial – beneath the surface lies what may hold common to you both. I hate the fact that so many people are intolerant of others who are seemingly different from themselves, or those who have different opinions, culutures or whatever. There is beauty in difference, and people should learn to appreciate it.

Another thing that is most striking about TIP is their individuality. There again, a very thin line exists between difference and individuality, but here it’s individuality in the sense that it is something that comfortably confirms the person in a standard of their own. Uniqueness is perhaps the appropriate word for it.

Now comes the easier part, the things that we admire in ourselves and others – the things we share in common. Perhaps it is talent, honesty, or a liking for hardwork. This is the second half of TIP and is of course varying from one person to another. It’s something that you have to have in yourself to recognise and acknowledge it in others.

So, what would I share in common with TIP? Hmm…

1) a love for books and science, 2) a sense of humour, 3) an obsession with history, 4) a concern for justice, 5) a yearning for peace, 6) a tendency for quirks, 7) a winning streak, 8 ) an enthusiasm for life, 9) an element of mystery, and 10) a liking for the arts.

Oh, and there’s yet another face of TIP, a third one. But I won’t try to emulate this one, because I don’t know it myself. It’s something that can’t be evaluated, but it’s just there, that really decides whether a person (to you) is interesting or not. For example, on the flight yesterday, this bloke sat next to me who loved science and was doing some course in a German university. We talked of many things and touched on a number of topics. I thought he was quite impressive, OK, but at the end of it all, no, not interesting.

There are an enormous number of human traits and literally infinite combinations. Isn’t it funny that people seem to ignore it altogether, without even thiking about it, as if by default? People read heavy volumes of books and not the living books themselves. It’s a pity when human beings, or other creatures, even unanimated things, are the real books, and the world itself is the greatest story ever told.

(Btw, the bloke on the plane thought me quite interesting, though… until he asked me if I had seen one particular film, to which my answer was that I don’t watch films. His expression suggested a bit of a shock, but when he recovered he said that I look just like the actress in the film. Funny, eh?)

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