What fuses us together

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Words: Jessica Wood (She/Her)

Fusion is an essential part of life. Bonds between humans are the reason we’re all here today and the reason we have the world as we know it. A powerful emotional connection of affection could just as easily be a deep hatred, a grudge bonding the holder to whomever wronged them.This connection could be as a physical one between lovers or a practical arrangement between people bound by mutual dependence – take the legally sanctioned ‘fusion’ that is marriage: a true expression of love or a purely functional union created by the beautiful sanctity of two names on a bit of paper with the same surname. 

We have developed from the primal need to bond for survival – whether that be the primal urge to procreate bringing people together in a purely physical way or a ‘Here look man I see you’re making fire; will you show me how so I can eat and stay alive’ from one caveman to another (I presume that was the gist of how those conversations went).

To look at modern day society in a horrendously clinical light (and indeed to put it how many social theorists have), our world is a transactional one, built of impersonal interactions where we see others purely as a means for gain, and ourselves as individuals seeking only our own ends. But one upside to this egocentric mindset makes the bonds that we do form more meaningful. I’m not exactly cut out for hunting and gathering. I don’t need my fellow tribesmen to help me take down the deer we’re all going to eat for dinner. In the twenty-first century, I’m getting my dinner from Lidl – and I can do that all by myself because I’m a strong, independent woman who knows exactly where to find the non-organic cheap broccoli. But that doesn’t mean my shopping trip won’t be made far more pleasant when I unexpectedly meet my flatmate by the bananas (a fortuitous encounter; we were mere moments away from an excessive amount of bananas in the flat).

When I was wee, I told my mum that I knew exactly when I loved someone. It was when I could sit in comfortable silence with them. An irresistible fusion can be as simple as companionship, a feeling of comfort in someone else’s presence, whether this derives from the all-consuming love we might feel for a partner, the deep-rooted love we might feel for a parent, or the platonic love for a friend. Even then, it’s not just love – in whatever form it takes – that fuses together; we feel it in our shared goals, our senses of humour; maybe the questions we have fuse us to those who give us answers. In an age away from Darwinism and the pack mentality, we get to choose who we have in our lives, not because we rely upon them, but because they bring us joy, enlightenment, laughter. We can only hope to do the same for them.

But before I get too carried away with the meaning of life and why we’re all here, I want to talk about my dog. His name is Oscar, and he’s fantastic. He’s so silly that I didn’t think such a daft creature could ever exist. Those caveman ancestors of ours had wolves who hunted and died beside them. Now I’ve got a greyhound who likes to grab porridge oats off the kitchen counter and make a little breadcrumb trail through the house as he runs about and spills them everywhere. I don’t think there’s a single thing going on in his head most of the time. I look into Oscar’s eyes and absolutely nothing looks back. But My God, am I bound to him. This ridiculous, completely reliant hound who barely knows who I am is one of the most vital aspects of my life. He is something that I will always be bound to. How could it be common goals or stimulating conversation that fuses us together when mine and Oscar’s only similarity is our enjoyment of a walk around the park (in which sense I would gladly liken myself and Oscar to Victorian ladies off for their daily constitutionals), and I think claiming that we exchange any particularly loaded and thought-provoking discussion would be a little bit of a stretch.

We don’t just have to be fused to people with whom we make connections. We’re fused to our pets, to the things that give us our sense of self. We are fused with that painting we saw, years ago, that made a profound impact on us, with that song we played on repeat for days, or with that book we took on holiday and just couldn’t put down. Our fusion within ourselves is just as important as the fusion we feel to others. These are the things that make myself, or you, different to any other person we might meet by the bananas in Lidl. Without this sense of self, this fusion between my thoughts, and the body that I get to cut about in, I wouldn’t be in any position to go about fusing myself to others.

Fusions in our lives may be strong ones, intimate ones, passionate ones, ones that last mere hours but stay with us for years or they may be to our dogs, the broccoli we’re cooking for dinner. We feel this through our hearts compelling us to seek out love, our curiosity compelling us to seek out answers, the empty space between our arms compelling us to seek out a hug. It’s not just those impersonal structures of society that hold us together, but the desire for some sense of purpose to make each day bearable, and it’s these days built up of millions of fusions, tiny little interactions or life-changing events which form a life with a sense of meaning.

And who knows, maybe we’ll catch each other in Partick Lidl and our lives will become forever and irrevocably intertwined over at the bakery.


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