A sudden and untimely death of a dear friend made me once again reflect deeply on contemporary family and social relationships. This unfortunate event put heavy breaks on the daily grind and compelled me to fact check on spectrum of relationships in our life and their intrinsic value, validity and experience.
As a domesticated social animal, human beings operate in a matrix of complex social structures built over a period of time. The purpose is to tame and standardise the otherwise individualistic and erratic behaviors, which might upset the colonial co-existence of this superior species of the animal kingdom.
Execution of their relationships is in the natural course with only emotion as a binding factor. Their relationships are based purely on their instinctual expression and not through regulated behavior driven out of structured plan of give and take.
The primary difference between the human species and the rest of the animals in the animal kingdom is that, we are far superior thinking species, and they are far superior feeling species.
As humans evolved, they out grew their emotional sense and acquired unparalleled cognitive sense which drove the human right to the top of the food pyramid, while the rest of the animal kingdom continued on their instinctual and emotional path despite centuries of evolution.
There’s no doubt that human relations are distinctly different in comparison. With increased cognitive and thinking capability, human relationships are not just very well defined, but also evolved to be quite complex.
Once relationships are well defined, there’s more thought to it, than feelings. Thoughts drive defined actions, sometimes even pre-defined. No wonder most of our relationships come with many riders, strings, expectations and even rules. They are all manmade and not natural.
Those who defy these structures and systems will be declared outlaws. And even those who follow these holy norms of pre-defined relationship expectations are not 100% secure from dooming. Either you follow or not follow these social stereotypes and relationship models, one is certainly doomed. Such are the relationship expectations and outcomes in the world we live today.
Real relationships are purely emotionally bonded and not through complex web of thoughts. They don’t drive structured responsibilities, material expectations and returns. They are neither forced, nor enforced.
Real relationships are natural to the core and they are mostly emotional exchanges, expressions and experiences. They are not what you wear on the sleeve or splash on social networking sites; they are not for public consumption or exhibition. Real relationships are instinctual, private, experiential and genuine.
They are based on emotional reciprocity for emotional fulfillment and continuation of the bond. Relationships which are gender biased, role biased, wealth biased, and creed biased are manipulated, twisted, faked, masked, calibrated, exhibited are unreal. Relationships which are need based, material based, rights based, equality based, and identity based, success based are false relationships.
Most of the relationships we struggle to keep up are unworthy of keeping up. Very few of the relationships which are heartwarming, emotionally satiating, pleasuring, effort less, pain less and are naturally progressive are the real treasures. These kinds of relationships are quite rare and are currently endangered.
In relationships like spousal, parent to children, siblings, friends, extended family, colleagues or any others we are in now, deeper reflection of the continuity pattern of these relationships exposes the fallacy, brittleness and shallowness of relationships of our time.
The basis of many relationships seems to be increasingly founded purely on material reciprocity. Inability or incompetence to provide material fulfillment can immediately impact any of the above relationships instantly, not even in the long run. This is no generalisation; there are inarguable factual instances and experiences in everyone’s life to back this understanding.
Such is the speed at which degeneration of real relationships is progressing. What today we are left with mostly are not ‘real relationships’, at the most they are ‘working relationships’. There’s an evident ‘zero emotional bond' relationships on the rise. It’s quite scary to know, where we are headed.
Real relationships are hard to find in the world we live in, even from those in the blood lineage. No wonder, there is a perceptive emptiness in almost all the relationships surrounding us. Pretending that ‘all is well’ is a band-aid tactic.
There’s nothing wrong with this method of solace, as long as it works to keep one happy at least temporarily. It’s natural that most of us do just that, as we cannot possibly reverse the selfish human endeavor of material fulfillment overriding emotional fulfillment.
There is a clear emotional disconnect with those around us, no wonder despite immense material success, many are falling prey to substance abuse, isolation and depression. There is certainly a huge gap in the natural emotional expectation and lack of fulfillment from relationships around us. In fact, there is even a huge lack of emotional experiences in relationships in the mad rush for material acquisition and ill-defined success.
Exhibitionism and gender based competition is the order of the day and it has even breached into the most sacrosanct relationships. Excessive need for identity and success and constant competition with each other in relationships are causing havoc to the emotional component and relegating the relationships completely lifeless and customary.
It’s not possible to redirect or reverse the entire human enterprise which is today driven towards material pursuit, leaving the emotional pursuit behind. But individuals can at least stop and take stock of what they are missing out as an emotional being in this rush. How are we treating our relationships and what are we basing our relationships on?
What are we giving and what are we seeking in return? How emotionally satiating are the relationships around and how much of emotional fulfillment are we able to give and receive? These are powerful questions to ask.
At the end of the rat race, one is still a rat. We all know, at the end of one’s life one carries nothing and leave behind just pure emotional foot prints, contributions and memories. It’s time to salvage real relationships. It’s about time we invoke the emotional dimension of our life, which is far enduring and precious for fostering relationships, than the material dimension we are pointlessly pursuing.