Self Reflection for Fostering Interpersonal Skills

I’ve been thinking through an idea. It would involve HR deployment of a feedback tool, employees of an org would be asked to give anonymous feedback for other employees regarding their personality traits and physical appearance. Each employee would then have a reflection of themselves that serves as an accurate representation of how they’re perceived by others.

This deeply personal view would, ideally, encourage growth and relational skill development by reducing the uncertainty of how we as individuals are perceived through the eyes of our community. As input sources become more robust, avatar resolution gets more granular.

BIG PHILOSOPHICAL idea being a shift from individualism to more collectivism. Being able to know the software version of ourselves that’s running on the minds of our cohort would allow us to update it accordingly, or, in some cases, uninstall and reinstall it through one-on-one conversation. The avatars are not built from our own ideas of self but from our peers’.

Maybe just a crazy idea. Thoughts?

May A Billion Flowers Bloom

Perceptions of others is only valuable to a degree. I don’t think it would form an accurate workable reflection, and the emotional impact on a group may negatively outweigh the benefit.

If the data was more scientific, such as physiological changes related to facial recognition (everyones blood pressure changes when they see Donald Trump ) then the data regarding perceptions of others may be partially useful, but we pretty much have that now. If we were to closely scrutinize each other to the point of full examination, currently, the psychological impact on the group would be negative.

However, if we collectively assess, using hard data, it could be beneficial. It would also be monetized and abused nearly instantly. Marketers and actuaries and PR departments already do this.

Self reflection or self examination has long been the pathway to self improvement. There are several tools for this, but honesty to the self, overriding physical concerns, is the major blockage.

The construct of avatars, “from peers” would not be accurate, but using information related to birth time and location would be. I’m not suggesting astrology, but rather hard data derived from calendrical studies. This removes the personal ideology, and replaces it with science.

Periodic energies that are cyclical in nature and permeate the human mind, are the primary source of ideas and provide a scale to assess likelihood of success. Studying those cycles and their components would provide a reflection of the self on a continuous basis, and also increase group awareness.

An interesting and simple study is the 20 day cycle of the Maya and Chinese. An example would be Joe Rogan. Each podcast begins with an image of a monkey. He is born on the day which is symbolized by the monkey. He has success using the attributes contained in the descriptors.
Every artist and scientist does the same thing. Tesla was born on the precise day which is the only one to mention electricity and lightening. The union of polarities. Freud and Jung share a common precise point in that cycle also.

The human reaction to this information is generally dismissive. In an economy where ideas are property and can be exchanged for profit, it is an unwelcome set of data. Privately however, it is used to certain degree.

I explained this to a rather successful artist. He was outraged at the notion that his product could be predicted by using his date of birth. It is the perception of personal attack and the loss of ownership over ideas, that prevents self reflection to any large degree. It is rejected, even if the proof is instantaneous, as was the case with the artist.

A great test is to match the computer avatars of people to their date of birth. All things are derived from a slice of pie in time, and the point of real free will lies just beyond that basic knowledge.
In the process of self reflection, it can be threatening for some, and a relief for others.

Either way, the examination of human behavior related to all external stimuli has been ongoing for millenia. The difference between an actual 'free will choice", and an idea, is not normally found in the public knowledge data base.

We are attracted to , and find success in , connecting to the point in time of given cycles, that are closely related to or precisely on our time of birth. Familiar cyclical energies.The cycles and their descriptors have been in every culture for thousands of years and they all match. Once that basic point of awareness is widely considered basic knowledge, then perceptions of others would be more valuable.

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” - Tesla

In all of the entire worlds scientific prowess, a single virus has humbled the species of human, and the deeper knowledge would have an even more drastic effect. Our species will not advance until we cure our lust for power and addiction to ownership. We are firmly on a plateau without basic self knowledge and situational awareness. Our “perceptions” of others, are not valuable at this time.

Thanks for your thoughts! I hear you but I think that as we’re perceived by others is the only meaningful way to evaluate self. We reflect on our interactions with others, and guess at what they’re thinking. Social behavior, good or bad, changes when we see (think about, reflect on…) how it affects others. I see something like this as a step toward curing a “lust for power and addiction to ownership.” Seeing an accurate representation of ourselves amalgamated from the various versions of us running on our peers brains seems like the shortest, most traversable path toward true self-awareness. What we have today, as far as what we reflect towards others, is not the public’s perception of our true selves, but images of traits and features that we think are most likely to have us accepted by a larger group. Perception is reality…maybe.

An artist for instance, generally is told to find what is their deepest heart place, and put that on canvas. In this endeavor, it is actually quite harmful to the process to be concerned or allow consideration of perceptions of others. They accumulate knowledge and exploration of the self, as much as any profession. Solitude and self reflection are considered integral to the process.

Right. I’m just curious to know what you think one is reflecting on during such self-reflection. The heart doesn’t think, it doesn’t contribute to the making of art. The mind processes environmental stimuli and our unique subjective experience shapes the information from such stimuli into a new thing. Art is the scaffolding between multiple images, concepts, ideas, smells, reactions, interactions, sounds, etc. Beyond the artist, art, or any creative expression, only has meaning when observed. Like it or not, art is begotten from the interpretation one develops from his or her interactions with the environment, including peers. Never has long-term isolation produced better humans.

I don’t doubt that harm comes from being overly critical of what others think, but the lack of self-awareness wrought from personal interaction and introspection has proven quite damaging as well, and perhaps more dangerous to society as a whole. Fun conversation, for sure!

He art. The heart is the only place art can come from. The brain just helps with the mechanics of the production.

They always ask the artist, where they got the idea. Usually the artist goes about explaining their individual process of gaining inspiration and maybe some associations with influences that generally affect technique.

But, if you study time, and shape, it becomes obvious that shape and presentation and the very idea is predictable. The key is, self reflection and the heart. The process is one of self examination during which awareness is expanded with the amount of consideration.

One could say, capacity expands with integrity. The image is the core of the heart. In this venture, the perceptions of others is only considered as a holistic aspect, but not the source.

Create, but draw from within the deepest part of the self.

It is actually quite easy to spot art that has drawn on others perceptions or influenced by it.
nope nope

That is not to say, that some art is created from the collective, but the inspiration process is not reliant on perceptions of others, but rather a collective pool of imagery, shared by others for reasons , themselves an aspect of exploration. This is an example

There is a common set of elements that have existed for thousands of years in art that considers the collective. Mandalas, and other forms as well.

Cool cool. Thanks for your input. I’mma use my heart to ponder this for a bit. :wink:


I don’t know. I worry acquiring comments on the personality traits and physical appearance of others would be too similar to gossip. Literary theorists have pondered the differences between biography and autobiography, - I’m sure there are some books on this issue, I’d like to read about more. I’ve done work in documentary film making and felt uncomfortable at times with the tension between how people photograph themselves and how outsiders want to photograph them.

I worry the result of this appearance and personally capture might be like a horrific to observe, being mocked or impersonated can be very painful to see. But I wonder if would be easer to look at such a cartoon if it came from discreetly from a machine that was personally owned. lIke a selfie. Apple’s face avatar creator is customizable, even though the features of one’s face could be acquired though the FaceTime camera with machine vision.

People need to observe each other and construct models of each other in their own heads to get along. I’ve heard people in the AI field insist that it is very important to have smart AI agents observe people and thoroughly model a wide range of people’s preferences they before they are given tasks. Otherwise these AI agents might accidentally fill our coffee cups with coffee beans or turn the earth into a giant paperclip.

But what happens with with these models of attention, preference and behavior? They can’t be perfect. Inaccuracies in the models could be considered stereotypes and that is a dire social issue today.

What you are talking about is not futurism.
The advertising industry models our attention, desires and behavior right now. If I met the model of me collected from my click streams, demographics, product reviews, credit scores, and IoT gizmos I wonder what I would see. A compressive mirror of one’s analytic profiles is proprietary and fragmented and cannot be seen.

*I want to get in the habit of siting books and papers when I post about stuff like this. But I’m too lazy to do it this time. Feel free to call me out if you want some stuff to read.

I hear you. To be clear. Software like this would come after some pretty heavy social engineering, a reckoning that’s coming sooner, I think, than later. The biggest challenge is getting society to not overly index on the importance of personal identity.

I think Apple’s avatars are an example of our gradual expectance of a system like this. Where our outward-facing selves are amalgamations of what others (brands and people) say we are, like it or not. It’s just not useful or productive to have an identity that neglects to take into account the feelings of others.

Observing others to build social skills is one way to slice it. BUT, it clearly doesn’t work equally well for everyone. Having an objective model of the way you’re perceived could reduce the barriers between the way you think you’re being thought of and your valuable, first-person perspective. The quiet person with brilliant ideas now speaks his/her mind freely because the uncertainty around how they’re seen by their peers has been reduced (a very romantic idea, for sure).

My kids (10, 8, 5) each have avatars, some multiple. Especially in the COVID era, the adornments that they select for their characters is the most self-expression around peers that they’re getting. Their generation will have to grapple the most with two distinct identities that come from merging physical and digital lives.

I’ve been noodling on an essay (I know, I know…) about the trappings of personal identity and brand. I’ve been in advertising for the last 15 years and I’ve just come to realize how destructive the curation and cultivation of brand can be.

One aspect of this idea, is the change that occurred in humanity regarding names. People used to carry names, that identified them by location or specialty in the economic exchange of goods and services. The Milks family kept cows, the woodsman were named the Woodhills, etc.
The deeper and more thoughtful expression of this was the naming of individuals intuitively taking into consideration many things, and often waiting to see the person develop before adopting a full name.
If someone is named Bob Jones, it is a very limited personal identity, and actually just indicates patriarchal lineage. English language and customs actually significantly reduced personal identity.

This intuitive desire to be individualistic while also being integrated into the whole, is most clearly displayed by the clash of cultures of the Indigenous Americans and European settlers where the settlers realized the process of naming people in their culture was dry and meaningless, and thus sought to get 'Their Indian name". In this process, the name of the individual is based on the holistic view of the combined observers within the community, in line with traits and skills associated with the entire natural economy.
So, the views of others did play a role in that process, but it also involved multiple avenues of perspective and a period of contemplation leading to a name that was both derived from community, and acceptable and meaningful to the individual.

Names like Running Bear or Sitting Bull, have deep and meaningful implications not only for personal identity, but also place and belonging in the community. When they are understood in proper context, from the historical viewpoint, one can see the essence of the person, without attachment to parental origin or locations, as the main components. A very ancient and widespread practice.

Ownership, a foreign concept in ancient and many modern cultures, is what led to branding children by heredity. A concept which is attached to Monarchy.

So, I guess what I am saying, is that the intuition of using accumulated human perspectives to derive identity for individuals within a community is not new, but more information is needed, outside of human preference, and should be holistic with consideration of the individuals place in the world economy and ecosystem.
When properly done, it is an undertaking that combines many fields of study and observation.
In this way, individuality is not overly indexed, but at the same time a unique presence and belonging in the large picture is attained. It is a specialty that certain individuals are gifted for just like the clothing designer or the carpenter.
It doesn’t need to be reinvented, it needs to be brought back and become a thoughtful exercise. Again, religions and overly indexed heredity based thought processes are the major blockage to this and many other aspects of human understanding and perspective. We view these ancient practices with respect, but make no effort to understand or integrate them as a society.

How might the needs of a HR feedback tool differ from the tools that aggregate social media comments?

Social media comments can be tough to decipher. If most posts have six smile emojis what dose a post with only one smile emoji mean? Dose a hart emoji mean ‘you make a good argument’ or ‘you look sexy’?

Comments in office environments can be obtuse in their own dialect. HR departments do need to evaluate people, and that is tough work. I don’t know if I’d feel more socially confident if I got a message from a black box telling me ‘everyone says you’re a nice guy but your shirt is dirty.’ Or ‘everyone thinks you’re bad guy with a nice shirt’ fort that matter. However I can’t knock your idea, such a translation system could be very helpful to those on the autism spectrum.

On the business of personal identity, I suspect the plight of many social media influencers is like living in a trade show booth. I hope people have the freedom to be in control of the features of their avatars.

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Yes. THe problem with most social platforms is that people’s words have equal weighting. Users on the internet can say anything about anyone and others will assume it’s credible.

A system like this would be subject to only a local network of peers and friends. The feedback from peers that have the most interaction influences the attributes of your avatar the most. I guess it’s kind of like adding a digital face to a crowd-sourced linkedin profile.