If 思われる is "its own verb," meaning "to seem; to appear," and is independent of the separate verb 思う, meaning "to think," is there a conceptual relation between the two? I ask because I initially thought 思われる to be the passive form of 思う. Would it be wrong to think of 思われる meaning "it is thought" rather than "it seems"?
意外に思われるかもしれません。 This may surprise you.
このことは、私たちにはとても不思議に思われる。 This appears very strange to us.
そのようなプロジェクトを経た後では、すべてがはるかにたやすいように思われる。 Having come from something like the project, it seems like everything is a lot easier.
それは私には奇妙に思われる。 It seems strange to me.
彼女はとても年をとっているように思われる。 She seems (to me) (to be) a very old woman.