On Being Compatible

ying & yang
ying & yang
Ying & Yang
A lot of folks love to talk about certain singles, but also couples, being compatible with each other or not. They may be parents and relatives, or matchmakers, or bloggers and writers at media outlets, etc. Talk is cheap, and most everyone is happy to chime in on the issue. Compatibility between two singles is, was, and will be forever a quintessential topic, yet few folks examine it with a sound and critical mind.

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is an ancient concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

Male & Female
This conception is then simply extended to the binary genders of male and female.

In the larger context of living beings, are men and women then complementary, interconnected, and interdependent? Yes, reasonably so. Are they so for their own sake? Perhaps not in the first place. It must be acknowledged that they are so in the first place for the sake of their offspring. Their intimacy is for their own sake only second.

Superstition and the Occult

Humans seem to have a tendency for the occult and superstition. Chaldean numerology, astrology, or just simply reading tea leafs, etc., is still popular. People watching for signs of God by all means and in all circumstances. A faint remembrance of a momentuous dream can change history. Didn’t Charlemagne have a vision of the Cross and won a battle, and then made Christianity the dominant religion?

What is left to our imagination if superstition and the occult are to be shunned? Cold-hearted science? Are we nothing but biological robots? Well, I think that the mind does not have to amplify it’s conjurations to these extremes do manage the living. Common sense and sensibilities will do just fine.

Someone is using his or her intuition in matching, but it is no magic involved. There is mystery, and we like it that way as we do not want to know the naked truth about life (Thomas Hobbes’ assessment of life is not inspiring, as in “…the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”). My motto in life is: “Believe that life is worth living, and live a worthy life.” No, I am a believer in the naked truth as exposed by Hobbes. Life, as opposed to living, is brutish and short. That is, life is still worth living because – as humans – we have the mental capacities to make a decent living. So, I distinguish between life and living. Just a mental trick? Perhaps, but it helps.

Why is life brutish? Well, because we are not derived out of the plant system but the animal system. Plants are fairly peaceful creatures, they take water and nutriments out of the soil and use photosynthesis to power their growth. Not so us humans. We are not really vegetarians, we kill to eat and then some. That is an unpleasant truth, is it not.

What then is being compatible? What then is being complementary?

Personality Assessments

Personality assessments, like the Myers-Briggs or the Enneagram, are certainly fairly popular. The Myers-Briggs is described as an introspective self-report questionnaires with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions. The Enneagram is described as a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.

There are other personality assessments, too many to note here.. In any case, I believe that these personality assessments provide a lot of useful insights into the human psyche. They have helped me to understand myself better and others a bit better. But they really make no claim about whether any person is “compatible” with another or not.

Now, some lay folks go so far as to conjure that one particular type of personality is perhaps compatible with another, just like ying being compatible with yang. These folks are to be avoided in my opinion as they are delusional. Listening to them will get you into trouble, and not out of. I have met plenty of happy couples who defy any concept of who is compatible with whom based on naive stereotypes.

Mind and Body

During puberty, the body gets set sooner than later; while the mind stays plastic for longer and thus can be “conditioned” and and is able to adapt until well into the upper twenties or so.

The difference between the conscious and the unconscious mind is enormous. Hobbes: reason is the slave of passions.

Hannah Arendt on natality. Every newborn is a fresh start.

High-functioning versus low-functioning living, levels of intentionality.

Cognitive control versus instinct.

Imagination and speech are perhaps the defining features of humans over other living creatures on earth. Article… It leads to fantasy and delusions, though.

It is like trying on a new shoe at a store. Many shoes will not fit. Others may. Among them, there is hardly a perfect fit, but perhaps a good-enough fit. Many a shoe will need to be walked-in, that is they will form around the foot in a short while and begin to feel better. Will these shoes last forever? Will the foot last forever? Well, hope you’ll get the point.

Bell Curve
Bell Curve
Arguably, “average” people might have it easier to find a match.

Life’s a method?
come on

I believe that most everyone feels kind of weird about sex at some point. What a strange thing sex is, especially for humans who have the capacity to be so high-minded in and about life. Compatibility, if there is anything to that, speaks to the case that each one of the couple is capable to make the other feel better about sex. If they cannot do that for each other, or simply won’t, there will probably not be a lasting, fully functional relationship. Sure, there are other factors to that. But without that compatibility? I just do not have much confidence in that subsequent relationship.


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