Humans were not meant to be self sufficient. That is why there are so damn many of us. That is why we are able to recreate with (relative) ease. However, even the process of pro-creation is hardly self-sufficient. Yes, the female bears much of the responsibility but she still requires a partner for pro-creation.
In an age of science, the necessity of a human partner in pro-creation is much less necessary. There are sperm banks which enable and for some, are perceived to empower single person procreation. Minimal relations required and none of the intimate variety. Though in my humble opinion having someone stick anything up there is still intimate to some degree. But I digress.
Now, I won’t stoop to spouting intelligent design theories or creationism, but there is something to be said for the evolutionary design. That is, historically, being surrounded by other humans maximized survival potential. To stay alive, we literally needed others, and so we evolved into complex groupings, societies, families, partnerships even—all intended for our maximal individual survival.
Individual, individual, individual. I wonder how many times I can say the word before it turns into, translates into, or magically becomes synonymous with independence, a prized brag-worthy characteristic. A characteristic so valued that it has even become something to be graded, a “learning skill” monitored in school.
“X has the ability to work independently.”
“X lacks the ability to adequately work independently of others.”
One of those statements is not like the other. That is, one is bad and one is good. One is celebrated and one is debased. One signals a parent’s worst fear, that their child is co-dependent, the kind of human not suited to our modern times. But why? Why are they not suited to our time?
After all, our time is a time so ridden with anxiety and stress. Our time is riddled with the inability to create meaningful relationships wit others and consequently lacks such all too-necessary relationships.
SO, in the year 2016, when countries and individuals still can’t manage peace, still suffer self-imposed yet still detrimental isolation, why is co-dependence so bad? Don’t we need each other more than ever?
I think so. Then, who am I to declare this?
Well, I am a girl who’s made a recent discovery. I love someone. I love them more than I knew you could love someone. They are infused into my pores, into the very breathing being thing that I am. They are so much a part of me that I know that I’ll never rid myself of those parts even should I rid myself of them. Then, this is true of most parts of myself. I am made of others.
I am made of the things I have said to them and done to them. I am made of the things said and done to me. I am their expressions; the phrases they regularly use. I am pieces of people whose names I don’t remember and of some whose name I never even knew.
Before you let you mind drift to the gutter, I don’t mean to say I’ve had sexual relations with these “people,” I just mean I live in the world, in a society. I go to restaurants and talks to waiters, I walk to the parking lot and smile at an old man sitting by the street. I have dinner at a family friends, or slip a few dollars in a fireman’s helmet. I live in the world, I can’t escape these people, just like they can’t help their interactions with me.
Sometimes I hate this. People are dangerous, they can hurt you, maim you, kill you, and/or worst of all, they can break your heart. Sometimes, without even knowing your name.
On days I can’t bear to deal with people, I do what most of us do now a-days. I order in. I go through the drive through. I text instead of call. On these days I wonder if I am suffering from something. I wonder if it is a symptom of something to so actively avoid the minimal interactions of daily life. It might be. But then, if these interactions are what are meant to be most natural, what should make me feel human, why do some of them go beyond social convention and into the realm of mechanical?
How did we ever let this happen? Was it the celebration of independence? Or was that symptomatic of our waning group-centric humanity?
Can we even call ourselves human as anymore, as we strive and sometimes even achieve independence? Or then, are we fooling ourselves with the idea true independence from others is something we could even achieve?
Personally, I hope it isn’t achievable.
I know I have days where I aim for it. Where I do my best to keep my contact with others minimal, but on these days, unless I spend them entirely lost in my own mind I never come close to achieving it. Actually, even lost in my own mind, I don’t think I could achieve it. There are too many other humans swirling around in there. My thoughts are such that I’d never be truly alone.
Speaking to this mechanical-ness of modern interaction, however, when one thinks about it, it seems without authentic human companionship we seek to replicate it. We need someone to replace it, and do so in a way that at least feels authentic. Consider movies or television entertainment. We give prestigious awards to people who can best “act,” who can best be authentic.
I hope that sounds strange when you think of it. I hope you realize the oddness of that in an age of human independence.
I guess what it comes down to is we need other humans. We are made of them, literally (ha ha), and in every other possible way. We build ourselves from them, even the replications of them. We identify ourselves with our heroes (real or mythical), with our favourite actors, and with our favorite characters. We can’t help it. It’s evolution.
We pass on things about ourselves, we manifest in other people, and let other people manifest in us. We give parts, we take parts and we take parts on. We are not born alone, we do not live alone, and we do not die alone. We become through others, and we go on through others.
We are human, even in 2016, we are human, we are co-dependent, we need each other. I think most of us just forget how very much.