My senior year in high school, one of my classmates gave a presentation about monkeyspheres. A monkeysphere is a theoretical maximum number of stable relationships we can have at the same time. It is estimated to be around 150. That’s why we don’t know half the people we are friends with on Facebook, and we only care to read about a fifth of the things on our news feed. Think about all the bonds we’ve made and broken in just the past few years: that guy down the hall from you in college freshman year that you chatted with every now and then but now hardly see him and it’s too inconvenient to catch up with him, the kid that sat next to you in class last semester, but isn’t in any of your classes this semester.
As someone that has moved a lot growing up and likes to dabble in lots of different interests, I’ve seen the population of my monkeysphere change quite drastically. And with graduation coming up, oh boy, my monkeysphere will be getting a serious overhaul in the next few months whether I like it or not.
So what if we found our 150 favorite people in the world just a few days after we were born, and kept them permanently in our monkeysphere? We don’t need anybody else right?
Okay, here’s my tie-in to art:
An art type in Japan called kintsukuroi involves taking a shattered piece of art such as a ceramic bowl or large vase that has plummeted to untimely destruction, and repairing it using gold and other precious metals as an adhesive. It is a way of saying that the repaired piece is even more beautiful than the original for having been broken. The breakage makes for an interesting story contributes to the history of the piece. Rather than being cleverly disguised, it is illuminated so that it can be embraced for the flaws, imperfection, and past that define its character and personality. The effect really makes you think twice before throwing away that favorite coffee mug you dropped as you were reading surprising news in the morning paper.
Now to tie-out of art:
So maybe keeping our original 150 people in our monkeysphere is perfect, but maybe perfect isn’t all that great. Maybe after we pick up the pieces of a severed relationship, we use them to make something better. Maybe that’s why How I met your Mother ended the way it ended (I’ll stop here because I don’t want to give any spoilers :)).