Saturday, April 07, 2012

On Soulmate(s)

There are many views on soulmates. Plato, in the Symposium, told the story of how Zeus, fearing the power of humans, split them in two - making them spend their entire lives searching for the other half. In Abrahamic religions, soulmates are generally believed to be predestined, one for each, and kept by building marriages to maintain order and fairness. Postmodern views on soulmates break them into several people; releasing love from institutional binds and allowing law to protect the vulnerable.

All the while Hollywood cashes in on our insecurities and dreams of finding the perfect person. Titanic grossed $1,851,561,750. I rest my case.

But I refuse to reduce the concept of soulmates into one person. The definition of mate is 'one of a matched pair'. It assumes that a soul has a form. I do not see souls, by definition an 'immaterial essence', as something that can be matched. Wong ngga ada bentuknya, gimana caranya ada pasangannya.

I cannot seem to stop citing on Erich Fromm's Having and Being; that in a post-industrial society we are designed to see people as objects. We forget that life is about experiencing and learning, not about possessing. By this assumption, soulmates are not to be attained, but to be experienced.

And what is experience if not present in various entities. I define soulmate(s) then as a soul's companion or entities through which we find meaningful experiences.

It may come through objects, like being inspired by a painting.
It may come from activities, like praying or hugging.
It may come from places, like when we take a deep breath after seeing a breathtaking view.
It may come from life periods, defining moments in our lives - a childhood memory.
And it may come from people. From our children, partners, meaningful friendships, and a genuine moment with a stranger.

They may be simultaneous, isolated, individual, collective, separate, intact; but they have one thing in common. In their meaningfulness, they contribute to our wholeness. And in that, they accompany our souls in the only way I relate to: that they are not ours to possess.

But a means to realise that we are living.