Is There Such a Thing as a Soul Mate?
Of course there’s no such thing as soul mates. For someone to believe there is just one person in the world who is meant for him and that there is a statistical probability of finding that mate such that our species can continue to populate, that someone would have to believe in at least one of a variety of farfetched scenarios. Some people refuse to accept that if they didn’t marry their current spouse, they would have instead simply married someone else and not felt any sense of loss (as their present lives never would have gotten a chance to play out). People will believe anything that makes them feel better even if it requires that they throw reason out the window. It feels good to say your mate is the only one for you. It feels good to wake up in the morning next to someone you believe was designed especially for you; it makes you feel special. But, it’s not the truth. The truth is that you and your spouse love each other; and, with any luck, you’ll spend the rest of your lives together loving each other. Why is that not enough? Why do we (humans) feel the need to make the additional, and irrelevant, declaration that we not only love our spouse but that we couldn’t possibly, in any other galaxy, love anybody else?
Fate—The Belief that you Don’t Control your Own Life:
Fate does not exist. How do we know it doesn’t exist? Because the events of our lives are held in isolation. We have nothing to compare them to; only one scenario can play out at a time. If you say, “My wife and I were fated to be together.” How can you test that assertion unless you had some control against which you could compare your current life with a parallel, yet exclusive, alternate version of your life? It’s like looking at a beautiful mountain and saying, “God must have created that because it’s so beautiful.” Have you ever experienced any other reality in which that mountain doesn’t exist and where you knew nothing of mountains or anything else that makes our reality ours? Don’t you think, if this reality didn’t exist, that you’d say the same thing about an alternate reality that did exist, “Oh, that frapglar is so beautiful. God must have created it.” This world is the only thing you know; it’s reality. Of course it’s beautiful. Schrodinger’s Cat is always a good paradox in these situations. Two realities can coexist—until they’re observed; then one of them goes “poof!” and you’re stuck with just the one. As you’re looking at it, the cat can only be alive or dead, not both.
Furthermore, if I hit myself in the head with a hammer, is that fate? Or is it just stupid? Did I decide to go to Mexico 14 years ago (where I met Mely) or did some invisible hand, for which there is no evidence, do it? I think I’m the one who saw the flier on the wall of the University of Oklahoma language lab announcing a summer program in Mexico. Those were my eyeballs. If an invisible hand put me and Mely together then why didn’t it just pick me up and put me in Mexico—then control every movement I made until I found her—then told me what to say—then… . You get the point. What would be the purpose of living in that case? In either case? If I don’t control my own actions then life has no meaning. It’s as simple as that. Mely and I were responsible for finding each other, not anybody else. Helpfully placed clues is a children’s game, not dignified enough for the invisible hand of fate (or God or whatever you want to call it).
Assuming there is no fate (because what other assumption is there?), now you have to believe that, through your own human efforts, you will find your soul mate. There are 6 billion people in the world. If you meet, at a staggering rate, 50 people per day, it could take you 120 million days to find who you’re looking for. And, that’s considering that all 6 billion visits didn’t require travel time to reach. Actually, did you know, if everyone in the world stood shoulder to shoulder, they’d be able to fit into the city of Los Angeles? Let’s put them there. Now you can peruse, at the rate of one person per minute (speed dating) 1,440 people per day. Now it could potentially take you 4 million days to find your soul mate—without stopping to be productive or eat–or sleep. What is the probability that of those 6 billion people (I’m assuming homosexual relationships are equally valid), you’ll be fortunate enough to only have to sift through 100 or so before finding the right person? In my case, I only knew 3 girls in which I had any interest before I met Mely. I wasn’t even trying that hard. But, I met Mely and I said to myself “This is pretty good, I’d better cash out before I start losing.” That’s not bad; it’s just smart.
So there. There’s no such thing as soul mates. But does that diminish the relationship you have now? Not at all. It doesn’t matter to me if Mely is the only person in the world I could have married and with whom I could have had a great life. It doesn’t matter because I don’t switch realities. There’s no machine (yet) that can transport me from one alternate reality to another. Besides, if I went to an alternate reality, I’d probably be a third wheel in someone else’s perfect life.