“Hey bro. I’m bored. Let’s go check out a movie.”
It’s one of the most common lines you’d probably hear if you live amongst a group of youngsters. It does not look much at a first glance, but it offers an insight into a very basic aspect of human beings.
The concept of loneliness has been one of the most argued topics in philosophy. Many philosophers have pondered over this inherent need of company in human beings and the ways to satiate it. Many metaphors and allegories are strewn around in various mythologies and folklore which talk of loneliness, and all offer more or less the same solution.
The Greeks talk of loneliness, love and homosexuality
Take Greeks for instance. In The Symposium, soulmates are discussed by Plato & Aristophanes. In it, Aristophanes describes about how a human was made up of two components, one male/female and the other male/female. This meant three pairs; man-woman, man-man & woman-woman (yes, homosexual pairs were allowed. Go figure). One day God decided to cut these two halves into separate entities, effectively separating two parts of a whole. Ever since that day, each part is looking for its lost other half.
It’s a beautiful story with a lot of content to discuss, but the one we should be interested in right now is the moral that all humans are born alone. This inherent loneliness, according to Greeks, can only be fixed by the other half, which incidentally tends to be one of our life missions.
In search of the void left by our other half, we fill in other people. People who can momentarily make us forget about the void gnawing us from the inside. It has its upsides, sure. We get to see the world from a different perspective and learn new things which we can usually never even think of learning.
I got friends bro, what do you have?
Everyone must have met a lot of people who claim to be fine because they have their bros on their side. Life however takes a little peculiar road, where it sheds many of these relations just like that. People once important fade away into the obscurities of time, and relations thicker than blood dissolve into the stream of life.
Most of the people in our lives are just walls, erected to wade off what we perceive as an external threat; loneliness. We go to movies with a buddy, we hang out with them, and we wake them up at midnight, all just to forget. What they don’t realize is that the void is inside them, and the walls they erect are just palisades. One spark of realization, and all will burn down, leaving nothing, not even the ashes.
The void is not filled by accumulating hoards of people in your life. It is filled by those few souls who can see and understand that void. The Greeks’ story isn’t some physical reality or a romantic tale, it’s a metaphor. We are born alone, and only those who are like us and can understand us can fill the emptiness inside us. Loneliness does not go away when there are accumulations of hoards of people. It goes away when there’s that one person who accepts us.
All this might sound a bit too fantastical or outright fictitious. True, the kind of understanding is a rarity, and many do not encounter it in their whole life. But believe it or not, it exists, and something as beautiful as this is worth pursuing. Sometimes, life isn’t just about escaping, it’s also about chasing.
That’s what Aristophanes said anyway. Kinda.