Symbiotic Relationships-4

In this last blog, of this topic, we will cover commensalism (+/0). This differs from mutualism (previous week) in that one member gains while the other is unaffected.

Have you ever driven through the countryside and noticed those white birds flocking around cattle? Perhaps some of them are hitching a ride on the cattle’s back. Those my friends are cattle egrets. They snatch up the insects stirred by the bovine movements.

I do not have an example of a complete commensalism marriage. However, there are times we exhibit this relationship momentarily. Suppose a storm rolls in and the thunder and lightning have us jittery. Our friend/spouse/dog/cat/iguana seems unmoved by the rain, so we chose to set in the same room as them to gain comfort. This comfort comes from knowing we are not alone. Loneliness during a stressful time is very taxing. We acquire the support while our companion gains nothing.

As stated earlier, I cannot think of any long term intimate relationship between two people that would survive in a commensalism state. At some point, the two would need to develop a mutualistic relationship. Both parties need to gain something at some point. Seriously folks, all work, and no play make for some outraged workers.

End the end, the critical thing to remember is we all need to gain something mentally, physically, and spiritually from each other. Wisdom would go a long way here if we ensure we are returning similar benefits. With that said, I will keep this blog on the short.
Until the next blog, live life, be happy and find life’s happiness.

Steve Curtis

2 thoughts on “Symbiotic Relationships-4

  1. I think you are minimally correct that there are few human to human relationships in which there is not mutual enrichment of some sort. But the claim that “we all need to gain something” seems too strong. We do gain something, but in some cases it is accidental to the relationship and not a necessary feature. This seems true the greater the hierarchy in the relationship.
    First, father (or mother) and child. Or teacher student (barring Plato’s MENO). I gain immensely from my children but it is not by that fact definitive of our relationship. My responsibilities, duties and governing activities are determined by my role as father and not by whether the child meets my needs or how I feel.
    You were likely staying within the realm of the human in your analysis, but given the widespread belief in the existence and relational possibility of a divine I will at least offer the divine/human relationship as paradigmatic of your notion of commensal. The divine, conceived as complete, needs nothing. I benefit wholly assuming the relationship is real (big assumption).
    Something similar may be present in human relations. The higher I climb in virtue the less my activity is defined by need and the more the activity is defined by calling (read Epictetus).
    Enjoying your writing. Keep at it.

    Liked by 1 person

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