The need to belong

Essay by GirlOwaR April 2004

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Strange is the fact that we insistently look for things that unite us, that are common. But we are so similar! And at the same time absolutely different. Maybe, that's one of the paradoxes in human life. Close, and yet, in continuous feverish search for facts that confirm this closeness. It's striking how strong this aspiration of man for company, for union and oneness is, how permanent is our instinct for escape from loneliness. On this very need, the need to belong, is based society. Everyone has experienced it - the loneliness, this overwhelming feeling of being cast out, misunderstood or discriminated. Everybody has either been forced or has forced others (consciously or not) to accept the prevailing opinion in company, to make compromises. Otherwise one runs the risk of staying alone. These are the most important features in human relationships - to be flexible, tolerant and able to make compromise.

They are also the basis of a society with the aspiration for union. Without these features there would be no society. But in us, as an unconscious reassurance prevails, the trend to attune the others to our manner, to impose our stereotypes on them as if trying to equalize the difference (if it is possible) exists. It is said "Loneliness kills". In fact, what aren't we ready to do for the sake of our relationships in society? We can find expressions of the need to belong everywhere around us, just look around. In the words for almost every object, occasion, creature we find either the description or the origin of the named "thing". Take even our names. The forename identifies the individual and his/her surname - the family, the group of people to which this person belongs. Let's take an example: David Johnson is an American writer, he was...