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Head-to-Head: soulmates DON’T exist

Brian Keim
World Editor Tate Farinacci ’25 discusses why he does not believe in soulmates

This article is part of a Head-to-Head series. Read the counterargument by Alissa Van Dress.

*For the purposes of this head-to-head, the definition of soulmates is as follows, provided by ChatGPT: soulmates are brought together by fate or destiny and their connection transcends the physical realm, reflecting a deep spiritual harmony and purpose. It is as if their souls are intertwined or have a special resonance.

Soulmates do not exist as it is statistically improbable to meet one’s soulmate, there’s no empirical measurement that allows us to know we’ve met our soulmate, people have changing preferences and the concept can create pressure in relationships.

Simplifying the idea of a soulmate down to statistics demonstrates the improbability of anyone finding one. There are approximately 8.1 billion people on Earth at any given time, and if we assume a person interacts with about 80,000 people (roughly three per day) in their lifetime, then they will only meet 1/10,000 of the world’s population. If a person’s soulmate is one of 8.1 billion people, then the chances of actually meeting one’s soulmate are next to zero.

Therefore, soulmates do not exist as the statistical probability of finding one is too small to suggest that a reasonable person could find their soulmate in one lifetime. Moreover, if one does not find their soulmate, how can they assume they existed in the first place?

If one does get lucky and meet their soulmate, there is no way to know if they actually met their true soulmate. If a soulmate is one in 8.1 billion, then how do you know you met ‘the one’?

The short answer is that they cannot know as human preferences and subjectivity—which is the basis of the concept of a soulmate— change as we age and gain wisdom. If a soulmate exists, then we must find some objective way to know to prove the existence of soulmates.

Most humans have had multiple compatible partners. Relationships starting and ending are a common narrative for most people. If we have one true soulmate, then should we be able to have other compatible partners? Or are multiple relationships doomed to fail merely because those individuals are not soulmates?

Preferences change. The idea of a soulmate does not account for the possibility that someone’s ideal partner may change as they grow and develop as an individual. This evolution of self can cause shifts in values, interests, and desires, and therefore, change one’s notion of a soulmate.

Furthermore, the soulmate narrative discredits the basic foundation of any healthy relationship: effort. I contend that humans, in a way, learn to love. Our conceptions and preconceived notions of love are shaped by where we grow up, our family, our friends, etc. But in a relationship, effort is fuel to the flame of the lantern that is love. People do not magically have perfect relationships because they are soulmates; rather, they put significant effort into making that relationship work.

Most importantly, the notion of a soulmate may sow seeds of discontent in relationships. The great stoic philosopher Epictetus reminds us that we need “…not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not,” and we must “remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

If people cannot find happiness and fulfillment in their current relationships and keep seeking their soulmate, then they will continue to spoil what they have in search of what they desire—a relentless cycle of self-destruction.

Another stoic philosopher, Seneca, also reminds us that, “True happiness is to enjoy the present.” We should live “…without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have…” [link] These great thinkers remind us that we can be happy with less and that sentiment extends to relationships.

In essence, the concept of soulmates is fraught with challenges and limitations. Statistically, the odds of encountering one soulmate in a world of billions are minuscule. The lack of empirical evidence and the fluidity of human preferences make it difficult to establish the existence of a single, predetermined soulmate. Additionally, the idea may undermine the significance of effort in sustaining relationships and lead to discontent.

While the notion of soulmates may be appealing, it faces considerable skepticism when examined closely.

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About the Contributors
Tate Farinacci
Tate Farinacci, Managing Editor
Tate Farinacci is the Managing Editor for The Carroll News, from Chardon, Ohio. He is currently a junior at John Carroll University, pursuing a major in Political Science with a concentration in Legal Studies, along with minors in Philosophy, Communication and Peace, Justice, and Human Rights. Beyond his involvement with The Carroll News, Tate is a member of the John Carroll Speech and Debate Team and the new Mock Trial Team. He also serves as a peer learning facilitator for the Political Science department and works as a campus tour guide for the Office of Admissions. Tate maintains an active lifestyle by going to the gym, running and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He's an ardent reader, appreciates journaling, and loves to cook in his free time.
Brian Keim
Brian Keim, Campus Editor
Brian Keim is the Campus Editor for The Carroll News, hailing from Medina, Ohio. He is a sophomore at John Carroll University, majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in communications with a concentration in digital media.
Often referred to as a “person” who “exists,” Brian is also involved in the JCU Improv Troupe and Blue Streaks on the Run. In his free time he allegedly considers film-watching and book-reading to be two activities that are enjoyable as well as life-changing, if you know where to look.
To request biased film opinions, haphazard Academy Award predictions, or otherwise contact Brian Keim, he can be reached at [email protected]

Comments (1)

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    Alissa Van DressOct 25, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    Well-crafted argument, Tate! I expected nothing less.