Daily Reflections - A World in A Flower - Soli


A World in A Flower   -    Solitude and Relationship

A scene that moved Goethe to tears and a paragraph that describes the scene that made my hairs stand:

“But the motive behind such singing [of the wives waiting at seashore for their fisherman husbands to return] is so human and genuine that it makes the mere notes of the melody, over which scholars have racked their brains in vain, come to life. It is the cry of some lonely human being sent out into the wide world till it reaches the ears of another lonely human being who is moved to answer it.”







How lonely each of us is! No matter how close we are to each other, we’re still A Heart-beat Away. Some would argue against such a claim by invoking the belief that man and woman would become united as one in orgasm. In that precise moment, they are not alone. I’m not sure how true it is. Even if it’s true, it is only ephemeral. We will find times we have words coming to our mouths but a second later being swallowed back. We will find times we simply can’t find the right person to confide in. We will find times even when we do share, we are not being understood. Out of our own vanity, fear and selfishness, and out of others’ too. We are deemed lonely no matter how accompanied we are.

The scene depicted above brought me to think of many modern analogies. The dolphins make unusually high-pitched whistles to call out to the same species in the “vicinity”, which can be a whole lot distance away, under water. The Chinese IT giant, Tencent, created an application called Drift Bottle, which allows its users to send messages to strangers. We Mankind as a whole send voice and music records to the outer space to reach out for other lives in the universe. If not lonely, why bother?

Then again it is not a bad thing at all. It’s part of us being human. We need solitude to pause, reflect and look inward; to make an internal adjustment if necessary so as to better live the outward life.

We will for sure feel lonely at some points of our life. The question is how we utilize such moments.

On the other end of the spectrum is relationship. It is not so much as opposed to solitude but rather the two of them are being in each other.

What I’ve been thinking lately is what do I want from a relationship? The first two things that come to my mind is I want someone who accepts me for who I am and someone who can grow with me. Insofar, I have not yet find anything else that qualifies to enter the list.

Does not having common interests matter? Does having too much in common matter? Does look matter? Does height matter? Does weight matter? Does teeth matter? Does intelligence matter? Does ambition matter? …

Parents often look at the contender’s family background. Whether his/her family is well-to-do enough to give their child “happiness ever after”. Whether he/she is caring enough. Whether he/she is filial enough to his/her parents. It could go as far as your dating goes or even beyond, say your marriage.

So many criteria! What a complex optimization problem! We are desperate for expert opinions. We turn to our gut feeling. We pray to God.

After all, it is a leap of faith.

Who says? A contract at most. Just that it’s not in black and white. Huh.




Author: Yang Bowen
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore





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