Forgive me for going off on a bit of a tangent but, trust me, it's relevant. I've realized that the greatest intimacy with another person comes when you take a step back from them. It sounds counter-intuitive, but bear with me as I explain. As infants, we viewed the world as an extension of ourselves. We couldn't comprehend that our perception of the world wasn't the world or that the people we met weren't simply a part of us. As we grew older, we began to divide the world into I and Not-I. Of course, this division has never been perfect and often we fall back into bad habits with people we are most familiar with.
How often have you made assumptions based off your own belief systems when dealing with someone else, even when that assumption doesn't fit anything else you know about that person? While you doubtless know on a literal level that other people are distinct organisms, wholly separate from us, and yet relating to us on a number of levels, how often do you actually acknowledge it with the people you're close to?
Sometimes consciously looking at another person and really acknowledging their complete and utter separation from us as thinking, feeling organisms in their own right, can really help you see them in a new light. Cutting through those assumptions, taking a step back, and going 'Wow, you are you' can really assist a person in understanding someone else better.
I think this is important to consider for writers on a number of levels. So:
First of all, I believe that all writers are philosophers and psychologists. We try to understand the human condition. What better way to do that then to learn more techniques on recognizing and understanding differences.
Secondly, it's an important point to note when writing your character's perspective. So often we make assumptions based on our own core beliefs, even when those core beliefs are not shared by the person in question. This is something that should happen with out POVs. They shouldn't be able to accurately guess everyone's motivation all the time. There should be a sense that the image being received (and shown to us) is a biased one.
Hopefully some of my rant made some sense. I'm new to trying to put philosophy into words.
Also, apologies to people who dislike the term 'organism'.