Monday, September 15, 2008

A Sea of Lonely Creatures

So my last blog post was about monogamous relationships and the battle individuals sometimes face when committing to each other.

We live in a society today where it is ideal to find a partner of the opposite sex to commit to and eventually start a family. It is also ideal for us to learn to be independent as we reach adulthood. When we are young and grow up going to school everyday, being social, and living in some sort of family unit we are constantly exposed to ideas about finding love, being independent, understanding our sexuality, and belonging to a group. We experience different emotions that help to mold our personalities and build our knowledge and understanding about things. We ultimately grow up in an environment that encourages us to be free about our thoughts within the realm of laws, rights, and freedoms.

We learn that general education of math, science, and language (arts) are necessary for us to understand the world and that we must be able to take care of ourselves when we reach adulthood. What comes next? For most of us, we leave our families and our home and we enter into the real world which feels like a sea of lonely creatures. Someone who was raised in a small town may feel disoriented and need more time to gain a strong foothold in society. Although it may take longer for some, most individuals will gain independence by being on their own and learning to take care of themselves. Finding a flexible routine in personal and work life can help a person become more independent and organized.

Where can family and love fit into the picture? It is true that once a person leaves home they do not detach themselves from their family, but focus on maintaining a relationship with them within their personal life. This is because we feel a strong sense of altruism towards our family members, something that we learned when we grew up around them. In other words, we maintain an emotional connection to them even though we are independent. This can help an independent person to find new love towards another person of no genetic relation in order to build a new family unit for them. This is a big part of independence in our society, loneliness is not. We desire close emotional connections with other people because human beings as well as many other species live in groups.

In today's society it is not always easy to find love and build a partnership within a new family unit. We are encouraged to leave home and further our careers in order to prosper and be independent. But, we are not always certain about how to build a new emotional connection with another person whom we do not know. People do not want to live alone forever, but want to share their love and altruistic nature with someone else. It is useful to channel these feelings to a group of people such as friends, colleagues, mentors, etc. but the end desire for most individuals is to find one person who can channel their similar feelings back onto them. This way both individuals can discover an emotional connection to one another and build a committed partnership from that. Unfortunately, many people today have trouble finding this type of connection. They live independently for years, alone or with roommates, and decide that the best option for them is to focus on their careers and on their own livelihood.

What happens to their emotional connections? Of course, many people maintain their connections with their families, but feel that they could never go back to living with their loved ones. It would hinder their lifestyle of privacy and independence. They would much rather be alone to do as they please instead of having to cater to someone's feelings, even if that someone is a mother or brother. They begin to like to live alone and regard loneliness as just another part of life. In a sense it is a good strategy to combat the lack of an emotional connection, but it may not be a good long-term strategy. A person who has lived alone for a long time eventually may feel that finding love for someone else is a waste of time or that it is alien to them. They, in turn, change their own social nature in order to accept loneliness. They overcome their lack of emotional connections by pampering themselves and spending time with friends of the same sex. This way they can always feel stimulated by material things or a good conversation without having to be in a emotional relationship.

But, what about love? Love is transformed into something else. It becomes a desire that is very hard to reach because it has not been achieved for so long. Many people do not bother with it because it has caused them physical and emotional trauma in the past. People place it on the sidelines or on a pedestal and choose not to bother with it because it is too high of an aspiration to reach. In the end loneliness wins and so there is no need for an emotional connection. The monogamous relationship does not seem so great when we can live on our own terms and stimulate ourselves in other ways. In a fast growing society of people the best option may not be to have more children, but instead it can be to learn more about ourselves and find other means to create happiness in our lives. However, there are limits to this and it is evident in our society today that people have taken this route at the cost of their mental and physical health and financial well-being. A good tip today can be that for those who are alone it can be worthwhile to channel their love to those who need it most, the poor.

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