It is true that the world appears exactly as it is. There is no denying this because there is no other way for it to appear. However, it appears to each of us differently, and radically so. For while in fact everything might appear very similar to each of us, there is no way of qualifying the difference. Therefore, the world might as well be something vastly unique seen through the eyes of vastly unique things and at great distances from one another.
But this is not so profound a thought. One cannot even disagree. My world simply is very different from a dog’s, regardless of my “special capacity for perceiving”. What I perceive nevertheless appears true to me: If I perceive that I am unhappy, then I am unhappy. If I perceive that I am doomed, then I am doomed. If I perceive that truth exists or does not exist then it will or it will not. Likewise, if I perceive that I am Napoleon then I am him. And further, a dog afraid of being beat acts like a coward. The way I perceive the world shapes the person I am.
Let us look again: Perception is paradoxically both of the self and of the other. It is of the self because the self is projected onto others, and it is of the other because they have great influence on one’s self-perception. The relationships between these two aspects of perception are indiscernible; they are in fact the same; their influence is simultaneous, and neither ever has more of one thing than the other. In short, they are unified—a single, fluid stream of consciousness: As soon as we make an impression on someone, they are immediately impressed upon us. We might see them only in passing and project but the tiniest fragment of some concern upon them, but this tiny impression helps to articulate, in some unfathomable way, said concern and we all become more alike.
The more intimate the relationship becomes the more mutual influence is shared. Projections take the shape of barley understood, but deeply moving ideas, and one’s world is then changed. One also wants to please them and so changes one’s world. Or one wants to struggle with the other, or make them angry. This relationship is dynamic and persistent; we are ourselves only because we ourselves are each a little of the other.