“It ain’t wise to need someone”


Why must humans fall in love?  Don’t ask me – I don’t.  But it fascinates me, perhaps in the way childhood must have fascinated Adam:  It is an essential part of life to everyone else, but I was not created that way.  (OK, it is generally accepted that Adam was not a historical person.  Then again, not everyone believes that I am who I am, either…)

I woke up to the clock radio this morning again. It played a song by Bonnie Tyler, It’s a heartache.  Personally I am more familiar with heartburn, but the lady sure put her soul into it. I happen to recognize the name because I already had a song by her in my Love Song Collection. It is called Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Yes, she seems to have a particular ability to perform songs of despair.  Perhaps she should look into a career in politics, preferably on the Left.

All this is later reflections, though. At the time, while deciding whether or not to wake up, I heard Bonnie Tyler singing “It ain’t wise to need someone” and I was like “Amen, Sister!”. Admittedly she modified it after drawing a much needed breath.  “It ain’t wise to need  someone / as much as I depended on / you.”  But my libertarian little soul wants to put a period after the someone.  One should not depend on others and not be depended on by others, is how I feel.

That’s not very realistic, of course.  Something Ryuho Okawa repeatedly points out in his later books is that we are all born with nothing.  We would not even be able to survive without receiving unconditional love to some degree at the start.  Everything we have at the present, we have because of other people.  They may not particularly have helped us out of pure ego-less love:  For instance, our teachers probably got paid for teaching us, and our employers expect us to bring in more money than we take.  But still, we would be in a bad spot without them.

You may feel alone in your car, but numerous people have worked on making it (and making the machines that make it, and mining the ore and so on).  Numerous others are involved in making sure you have gas to fill your tank, from  the geologists planning where to test drill for oil, all the way to the gas station attendant.  In a way, you are never alone in the car: The help of a thousand souls are with you, even though very few of them intended it.

In truth, we mostly live in a world of mirrors: Each of us more or less give back what we receive.  There are very few original thoughts, and most people don’t even try, and are in fact skeptical of anything not already accepted by the masses.  We neither resist the culture around us, nor make an effort to improve it.  Even though the people who eat with chopsticks and the people who eat with forks have known about each other’s habit for generations now, there is still no agreement that one of them is clearly superior.  Well, the fork seems to be making a little progress, but overall people do what they saw their parents do when they were small.  People whose parents were swearing tend to swear; people whose parents were praying tend to pray, and mostly to the same gods.

So we are connected to other people whether we know it or not. In fact, we are interwoven with them. Day by day we depend for the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the words we speak and most of the thoughts we think. And we don’t even notice. Independence, in its radical form, is impossible, even unimaginable. That is not what I think of when I say “It ain’t wise to need someone.”  What I mean is, it is not wise to depend on someone special to provide our happiness, or our meaning with life. Well, unless someone special is God, I guess, and even then it is right only in a certain sense.

But romance has become a false religion. Instead of finding our heart in another, our culture makes us hope that we can avoid finding our heart at all, and just depend on the heart of another.  That won’t work.  You can’t substitute anyone for your soul.  You cannot let anyone replace your conscience.  And you can’t go hand in hand into eternity, poetic as that might have been.

There are limits to how individual we can be, but also there are limits to how much of ourselves we can give up.  These limits vary from person to person.  Very few humans can be as individual as I am, so free to be themselves and think their own thoughts.  And yet most of those who can’t, are convinced that they are almost completely independent, relying only a little on others.  While I realize that I am a more colorful thread in a large tapestry.  I have a little wiggle room, whereas they who move not at all feel no resistance.

But then something happens, and the things we took for granted are suddenly no longer there. And we think: “It wasn’t wise to need someone that much.”  No it wasn’t, but a greater foolishness was to not realize that we needed them when they were still there.