symbiosis. [sim-bee-oh-sis], -noun, plural
- biology: the living together of two dissimilar organisms; a close and usually obligatory association of two organisms of different species that live together, often to their mutual benefit.
- psychiatry: a relationship between two people in which each person is dependent upon and receives reinforcement from the other. a relationship of mutual benefit or dependence.
i discovered this word in its scientific form while doing a reading, and was taken aback. it described two species which operated in settings that were the polar opposite of each other, but when put together, achieved an excellent relationship. each depended on and provided for the other, in a completely equal sense. i remember thinking that it was the perfect description for what some of my friendships are, and what i wish others would be. the antithesis of symbiotic relationships in the animal kingdom are parasitic ones, where one organism is the sole beneficiary in a relationship with another, and essentially drains the other creature of all it is capable of giving. needless to say, i pondered that for quite some time, and used it to make some assessments.
as i researched symbiosis further, i was surprised to find that there was a psychiatric denotation of the word, used to describe human interaction. the symbiosis that i find most desirable, however, and in some friendships actually possess, is a mixture of the scientific and psychiatric definitions. beyond the common thread of mutually beneficial relationships, i like the idea of “dissimilar organisms” within the scientific description. though i share similarities with the people i’m closest to, they are in many ways completely different from me, which is what makes us fit so well. i also like the idea that the scientific definition includes “obligatory”, because i know that there are people that i need in my life, that i couldn’t do without.
i love all my opposite “organisms”, and the symbiotic relationships we’ve been able to foster. as someone who’s experienced their fair share of sycophants, i’m more than grateful for the good people in my life.