in

100: Soulmates

rt=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=7&share=&direct_url=t4%3B%2Csoulmates%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bsoulmates%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BSoulmates%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BSOULMATES%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BSoulMates%3B%2Cc0″>Soulmates (Google Books NGram Viewer)
Soulmate (Wikilove)
Soul Mate (Dictionary.com Blog)


Full episode text

The idea of a soulmate – an individual who is ideally suited as either a romantic or personal partner – is an idea that feels like it’s been around forever. But track usage of the word over history, and it was barely in existence before 1920, and only began truly spiking around the 1960s, with a precipitous rise from the 1980s to 2000s.

One philosophical basis often given for the idea of soulmates is the Greek story of androgynous individuals being split in half as punishment from the gods.

It was in an 1822 writing where the modern usage of the term first appeared, in the quote, “To be happy in Married Life… you must have a Soul-mate.”

There seems to be two separate paths of thought when it comes to modern soulmates. One is that the idea of a “soulmate” is the perfect individual for you, a “destined” partner that you should be friends, lovers, or partners with. This kind of predestination seems to be one of the arguments made in trying to justify monogamy, or justifying divorcing one partner for another in serial monogamy.

The other idea is that a “soulmate” is an individual whom you “should” know or would benefit from knowing, who you have some kind of partnership with that’s a lifelong bond.

Jewish tradition speaks closely to the idea of soulmate, with some Rabbinical tradition outlining that 40 days before a baby is born, its destined partner is determined.

Soulmates are a powerful idea, and the feeling that you are destined to know the individuals that have come into your life is strong. Is it destiny, luck, random chance, or something else entirely? It depends a lot on what you believe about predestination.