A relationship between any two entities can be curious indeed. You have the point of interface, interaction and connection, and then you have what the two entities involved make of that interaction. This seldom occurs in a vacuum, so that wider networks of interaction and involvement impact on how any two things get along. This applies to human relationships, to our relationship with land, ancestors, wildlife in general, and all other things, seen and unseen.
All I see of my multitudinous relationships, is my side of the equation. I may not even notice the other side. I may, with empathy and imagination, try to figure out how things are on the other side of relating to me, but at best I am guessing. I may very easily bring fantasy, need and even delusion into that equation – in fact I think most of us do sooner or later. Our shared relationship with the earth is a fine case in point. We treat as infinite resource something that is finite, precious and desperately in need of our care. If that isn’t delusional… I’m not sure what is!
We are more connected to everything and everyone else than our little primate brains are ever going to be able to meaningfully contemplate. Of necessity, we can’t think about all of it all of the time. We make choices about what to pay attention to, which relationships to prioritise and which ones to ignore. Those choices may or may not be conscious.
Most of us want to be thought well of by others. Whether we seek to earn that through our good and reasonable actions, force it by taking power over others, or cheat and delude them into liking us goes a long way to defining the sort of person we actually are. In our heads we may all be romantic heroes, wise and poplar leaders, respected members of our communities. In our heads, we may be beloved of the gods and favoured by the fates. It’s not much measure of anything, given that in our heads, we can be anything at all.
What defines us is not who we think we are. It’s not who other people think we are, either. Our truth, our authenticity, lies in what we do in each and every relationship we have, recognised and unrecognised. The odds are this truth exists invisible, unseeable, unknown – unless you postulate score-keeping deities with omniscient oversight (which mostly I don’t). That truth of relationship underpins the reality we are all engaged in creating. It manifests in the world, even if it is beyond us to fully understand it.