Porridge and People

December 4, 2013


I live in the biggest city of this country. People everywhere. We are traveling in the same subway. We are running in the same stairwells. We are standing in the same queue. Still, we are lonely.

We don’t need to have anything to do with anyone. No friction. Some people would say it is perfect when there’s no friction. It’s easy. But to be able to live a life free from friction it can’t include interaction of any meaningful amount. It’s empty.

The subtitle from a scene in the movie Together

Birger: It’s not so often someone comes to visit. So I have to confess… I actually unscrewed that. I unscrewed it so you’d come here to fix it and we could talk some more. Maybe it was silly. Are you angry?

Rolf: No, but unscrewing it… Are you nuts?

Birger: Do you want a beer?

Rolf: No, a cup of coffee would be good?

Birger: I’ll put it on.

Rolf: Bloody fool.


Birger: A lot have improved, that’s true. I don’t have to eat porridge every day. If I want to I just have to go down and buy a pork cutlet.

Rolf: mmhm

Birger: I wonder if it wasn’t more fun then. We had each other. I think that loneliness is the most awful thing in the world.

Rolf: Yes, probably.

Birger: Rather eat porridge together than a pork cutlet alone.

We have to interact to fulfill our life. My home. A home for us. Where you can find everything. A home for me. A home for you. Private and common. Individual and shared. The individual is found in the shared. The shared is found in the individual. We share the individual. We share the shared. We join the individual. We join the shared. We don’t share everything. Mine is mine. A place which is my own can also be your own. A place which is our own can also be your own. Simultaneously or not simultaneously. Where I am. That’s mine. Where you are. That’s yours.

The subtitle from another scene in the movie Together

Göran: We are like oat flakes. At first we are alone and dry. But then we’re cooked with the other oat flakes and become soft. We join so that one flake can’t be told apart from another. We’re almost dissolved. Together we become a big porridge that’s warm, tasty and nutritious. And yes, quite beautiful too. So we are no longer small and isolated, but have become warm, soft and joined together. We’re part of something bigger than ourselves. Sometimes life feels like an enormous porridge, don’t you think? Sorry, I’m standing around dreaming. Do you want some porridge?

Göran is making a lovely comparison but there is one important detail that’s making it untrue; we are still unique individuals. It’s easier to discount something. The world we live in discounts things. We are making it easy for some people to fulfill their life. We all have to fulfill our life. It isn’t easy. I don’t know if it ever will come true. Why? Because it need to be free from hierarchy and it need to be full with specific opinions.

/elsa Jannborg

Lukas Moodysson (director, writer). (2000) Together [movie]. Sweden: Memfis Film AB

in thoughts:
Peg Rawes, ‘Introduction’; ‘Touching and Sensing’ in Peg Rawes, Irigaray for Architects, London: Routledge, 2007.


2 Responses to “Porridge and People”

  1. aisacson Says:

    Nice post! I’ve heard somewhere that a household consisting of only one individual is our most common way of living. I enjoy solitude, but not to live alone. Apparently a lot of people do though. But what about the elderly? A hundred years ago, a family of three or even four generations could live together in the same house, for better or worse. Today we barely know our grandparents. Guess we are a bit too busy with the future to care about the past.


  2. nicoleguo Says:

    “Rather eat porridge together than a pork cutlet alone.”People are always struggling between the individual life and common life, isn’t it? The fact is, no one wants to be isolated, but solitude could make a person really grow up. Through the solitude we could see ourselves clearer. That’s the matter of life, to ensure our existence.


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