Aristotle claimed love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. Many people grow up hoping to find their soul mate, the other half of their being, but I’m afraid that’s just a romantic notion. We’re all isolated souls. We are singular beings surrounded by a vast infinite multiverse. When we walk down the street, we feel the illusion of being a point-of-view several feet above the ground. All of reality is what comes through our five senses. When we meet another person, they are part of that outside reality. The old saying that people are ships passing in the night is a beautiful analogy. We’re lonely points of consciousness that occasionally collide, and we each live in a solitary universe of self-awareness. My question is: How close can we get to another person?
The biological urge to procreate drives us to get physically close, but even when we’re having sex, just how close are we to each other? Sex implies zero physical distance, or even a negative distance if you count penetration, but is that the closest we can get to each other? Getting naked might bring intimacy, but I’m not sure if it brings closeness of souls. The old saying opposites attract has some merit. It’s quite possible for two people to have passionate sex lives and not have anything in common emotionally or intellectually.
And how many aspects of our personality allow us to get close to another person? The obvious, is we’re physical, emotional and intellectual beings, but is there more to consider? The Autism Spectrum suggests we have a social awareness. Is empathy different from social awareness? That makes five ways. How many more ways can we get close?
Sexual desire is a powerful force, like gravity, that pulls us together, but is the chemistry of love, the hormones of attraction, all that makes us want to get close? Our modern society seems to be moving towards more and more isolation. Does the intellect and ambition push us away from each other? There are some people who get emotionally upset if they aren’t close to other people, and other people who need to spend most of their time alone. Obviously the urge to be close is a spectrum. But if we didn’t have a sex drive, would the urge to get close to another person be that strong?
What brings us closer together that’s not related to sex? How powerful is common interests at bonding us? Work brings people close. Strangely enough, so does war. Sports is a powerful social glue. Art, music and literature link us in endless ways. Science is an activity that twines us by learning the truth about reality. Common causes and charity united people. If you think about all of these factors, the overlapping element is focusing on something outside of ourselves brings us closer together.
Isn’t that odd? The thing that brings us closest are the things outside of ourselves.
Which makes me ask: Is there anything inside our souls that we share? Or is everything we desire, need and want, outside? If two people are having sex, rubbing their genitals together, isn’t that also external, even though it feels so intimate and internal? Sex has an illusion of being closer than any other activity, but is it?
Or, are you closer to another person when sharing a favorite TV show, or talking about growing up, or just fixing dinner?
JWH – 4/10/14