There’s an old philosophical problem concerning numbers, can’t remember its author, that goes like this, “Go out and collect five things and bring them back, doesn’t matter what they are, just get five”. Pretty easy you say. Now the author says, “Go out and collect zero things and bring them back”. You say, huh, it’s not possible. Why not the author says, five and zero are just numbers or quantities aren’t they?
See how numbers can get you into a philosophical problem.
If you see two people sitting together and laughing, you probably don’t think anything of it. You might think that they are just happy friends. But if you see just one person sitting and laughing you probably think they are mad and lonely, and steer clear of them.
That one laughing person may be completely sane and normal. So is it just your view of that person that shapes your thoughts or is it their actions?
Regardless of what you think, there’s one thing that is most obvious, humans need other humans. That’s why most of the world is partnered up. That’s why most work in groups. That’s how we learn, grow, maintain our sanity and create a balance in our lives.
Writers may live alone, whether it’s in the minds or in their lives. But they know people. They dissect and emulate people. They copy people, their actions, thought, feelings and emotions. They create people.
A book with just one character needs to be the best book ever written to maintain its readability. But the moment you start adding characters, you start increasing interest, diversion and usually, empathy.
There are many stats that show people who are coupled not only live longer, but have a better, happier life. The importance of interaction between humans is possibly, the most important, and sometimes, the most dangerous action there is. Simply for your health, it’s necessary for humans to interact with each other on many levels, and we have to learn to take the good with the bad.
For the lonely person, simply watching people in groups can make them happy, and feel less alone. The lonely person has only their thoughts to drive them; people need other ideas, other emotions to help build their own complete world.
The sheer desperate loneliness of the homeless person is more than obvious. Look into their eyes, and for most you will see a void. You might see the friends, relatives, jobs, houses and money they don’t have anymore, but what you won’t see is a connection to the wider world.
Take other people away from your surroundings, and you will be left with a void. Your world will not be complete or fulfilled and you won’t find out just how joyful life can be. Jean-Paul Sartre, that great existentialist said, “Hell is other people”. Life is other people too. Love is other people. Connection, comfort and understanding can be found in other people. And other people, are all around us.