Narcissus & Goldmund: The Illusion Of Completness

Have you ever felt like there are two souls inside you? The sun and the moon; the sea and the land. But there’s still only one world and nature needs its opposite to follow its cycle.

“It’s the mind and the heart arguing inside the one beautiful body,” he said once provocatively.

But then why couldn’t we be one? I thought. We shared the laughs, the bed, thoughts, books and experiences, but there was something missing, something didn’t feel right.

Perhaps it’s because, as James Redfield once wrote, we are all walking around like a circle half complete, like the letter C. We are all wandering through life waiting for a person, some other circle half complete, to join us in our emptiness and giving us a burst of love and energy along with an illusion of completeness. This one whole person though, this O, we think we have reached has two heads, two hearts and too much ego to survive. It’s a power struggle, it’s a beautiful obsession, it’s a fairy tale with no happy ending.

“Who would want to settle these days anyway?” I said out loud lying in a whisper.

We shutter at life’s instability and we escape into lust or platonic relationships. Some types of romantic encounters have a way of attaching themselves, but they are not to be taken seriously. So we find another way to run away and we set out in journeys around the world searching for treasures and answers because this is what makes life interesting: searching for meaning hoping to make one dream last.

So we escape. Right. But do we ever really come back?

Hernann Hesse tells the story of two characters, Narcissus and Goldmund, with opposite personalities whose lives are interdependent. Narcissus is a scholar who searches for meaning in abstractions, whereas Goldmund is a sensualist who seeks meaning in the world of the senses.

“We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land.” says Narcissus to Goldmund. “It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.”  

Do you believe in the other half? He asked interrupping my thoughts.

I hesitated. I was intended to stay still feeling the grass, the warm sun, inhaling the fresh breeze while listening to the waving sound of the river. I recognized all of them. See, you don’t always have to choose: make a circle on your own and go find another circle to share life with.

“No,” I replied noticing he was lying on the grass beside me with his eyes fixed in the sky.

I smiled and remained still. Then I simply reached for his hand.

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