One philosophy that lingers in my mind is one that explains the frail relationships particular to modern times. Hordes of individual leave small impressions in our minds almost every day, but soon many simply vanish, with only the traces of encounter and a sense of emptiness left inside us. Such is the time in which we live; deep emotional commune and exchanges are, if present, ever so brief and slight. The mere hands that wave goodbye become the main exchange. The philosopher finds the reason in the “invisible shells” that modern people form to protect themselves from disastrously numerous yet frail interactions but that in turn further alienate them from others.
I have felt the unseen distance myself. When almost identical, ghostly figures quietly slid by, I was left feeling uneasy. The breeze that sneaks behind to tickle my ears seemed to be my only permanent company.
At first, I felt defeated. I could not reach out, because I did not want to be hurt by forming fleeting relationships that seemed to be of no use. One day, however, I noticed two Saint Bernards charging toward me outside my house. I hesitated to talk to the owner, with whom I assumed would not build any substantial relationship with. But just as I nearly passed them, she greeted me with soft, amiable voice. The conversation that I expected to be of trivial, artificial content, turned out to be one that old friends might have. We chatted for nearly 10 minutes and since then we became close friends. The moment she reached out made the close relationship we have today. Reaching out to others never seemed so powerful until then.
We have no control over who we encounter. What we do have control over, however, is what kind of person we are: accepting the reality that emotionally and physically frail relationships are inevitable in many cases, yet still actively interested in others and courageous to break the invisible shells to reach out.
People will move in and out of our lives. But each one touches us in a special way that forever changes us, if ever so slightly. I hope that all people in the world can embrace people they encounter with the subtleties underlying this complex relationship.
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