We each have our identity reflecting our preferences and circumstances. While we would like to believe that we humans are fundamentally alike and designed to live in harmony (as a norm), the reality is quite the opposite. We are different from one another and finding our harmony is a major challenge. The myth of human likeness was invented by cultures that required group thinking and cooperation in order to survive physically or economically. The result was the creation of a number of structures such as localism, family, religion,
morality, nationalism etc that would keep people on the proper tracks. With “progress“ enabling individual survival and liberties, these structures are endangered species and the reality of our differences has now come to the fore.
My current personal interest is centered on interpersonal, one-on-one relationships. The complex organisms that we are come with our own set of priority, skills and circumstances inherited or acquired. Sharing with others i.e. communicating,
and loving, is in fact actually as difficult as conn ecting two needles by their sharp ends. Or as two sea urchins mating. (I always wondered how they do it, but have chosen not to google it, leaving the mystery intact ! Feel free to find out, but don’t tell me !). If we define each other as a digital set, a succession of digits or letters, I believe it would take a minimum string of 30 characters and our own odds of existing as we are would be less than one in a trillion. So, how do we practically achieve closeness, sociability and convergence? These miracles require work, luck and an incredible amount of empathy, sensitivity and flexibility. First we choose close partners (lovers, friends) based on a convergence of priorities generally described as likeness, likeability. We then convert the sensory signals emitted by the partner into an imaginary other as we wish he or she to be. We create a virtual idea of the partner. We start by integrating all the pluses. Then, later, we convert the negative differences into acceptable traits most often by ignoring them, giving them a minor weight or miraculously transforming them into positives. Simultaneously, we silence ourselves in the areas of divergence, pushing the mute button to ignore and refrain from objections.
The simplification of the other into a compatible attractive partner is of course purely mental and affective. Yet it has the merit of enabling attraction of various intensity. The more powerful the bond, the more extrapolation or simplification of the other is required. In my opinion there is clearly substantial merit in amplifying the positivies and reducing the negatives, as long as the result stays sufficiently close to the reality of both and does not venture excessively into fantasy. I do believe in the necessity of fantasy in order to sustain a high degree of personal energy.
Alas, often comes the time to reject excessive fantasy and return to our mutual realityies. Bridges can be built to reconstruct wanted connections. These bridges require creativity, flexibility, a fair amount of contrarian thinking: contrarian against our centrifugal self. They also require transparency in order to minimize doubts and questions and instead, focus on constructing reliable solutions.
If there is a will, there’s a way. Sea urchins have proven it !