Sunday 11 July 2021

We are social beings

Companionship always matters

I was watching a nature programme some years ago where a silverback gorilla had been fought and defeated that he had to leave his troop of gorillas. Within weeks the condition and state of the silverback had deteriorated, he was emaciated not because he was not eating, but because the loss of company, companionship, interaction, grooming and society had a radically detrimental effect on him, he was depressed and could most likely die soon after.

Then, I remember an event where some members of my family piled on me for not keeping in communication, all with the inkling that I was getting on with my life with no concern for them. Nothing could be further from the truth, I was alone and lonely whilst being expected to shoulder issues that should and could be resolved between people who see each other daily at home, but the mistaken belief that from abroad I could manage things was to absent themselves from the power of power and importance of human proximity.

The hard distant circumstances

Much as we can be social beings, we can also be hermits by choice or through circumstances beyond our control. We all need intimacy of a sort that is not available to all, but we cope with the situation we are in until opportunities come. I find that it strange that people still make no effective use of human interaction where the proximity exists. Invariably, we find scope for ignoring that benefit which for others is a luxury.

We treat those near with contempt because we feel those who are distant can fill in for that sense of community forgetting that many of those far away do not have that resource. We may not deteriorate like the silverback gorilla, but the need for companionship and intimacy cannot be insignificant.

Use proximity better

If only some of us did not have to be alone and find some social setting to feel just simply human, for we are not boundless in strength and capacity even if we appear to be so. We are vulnerable and sometimes envious of the community that others fail to appreciate.

It goes without saying that those who have friends and family around to see, to touch, to interact with and to find that social animal expression should exploit it better, if they can. If with proximity you cannot find your best humanity, how really can you do much more at a distance? In the same vein, have in mind that many do not have that situation, do not stress them with demands they can hardly meet.

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