Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What is Love?

I love this question (excuse the pun). Just to be clear I'm referring to romantic love. The type of love that most movies are about... the kind of love that seems to transcend space and time. It reaches beyond circumstance and overcomes overwhelming odds. Does this exist? I don't know if it does, but it seems like everyone is an expert on love even though it would seem very hard to give a solid definition (especially in English).

The question on my mind right now is if there is such a thing as "love at first sight"? When I was very young my answer would have been a resounding "YES"!!! However, as I grew older my answer changed to "there is such thing as lust at first sight, but not love at first sight". As I think about this question now, I don't know what my answer would be. I can tell you why I'm afraid to say there is such a thing and why I really hope there is such a thing both at the same time.

I'm no expert by any means, but here are my thoughts on this... Love is about vulnerability. It's about putting yourself "out there" without knowing if what you feel will be returned. Love is when two people recognize the quality in each other and act accordingly. It's a committment, a stirring of the heart, a clearing of the senses, and a loosening of rules all at once.

The magic is that two people recognize a quality in each other, but also know that the other has flaws. The flaws aren't ignored, but can be overlooked because of something that's bigger than the sum of its parts.

In a world where everthing is weighed and measured, it has become necessary to define quality, but it seems to be undefinable. Try to explain what quality is... It's a tough thing to define. We can't define it, but we know it when we see it. It makes people nervous to know that there are things which seem to have quality without being able to describe the quality of the thing itself. When talking about "love at first sight", you're talking about one person recognizing the quality in another before they really "know" each other. Scientifically speaking, "love at first sight" might sound absurd, but it isn't as crazy as it might seem.

Most people who are looking to fall in love aren't looking for a certain person per se, what they're looking for is a deep and meaningful connection. They want to share something with another person which will transcend space and time, something lasting. We sometimes refer to this undefinable instant connection as "chemistry". This "chemistry" represents some feeling of quality in human connection, yet it's undefinable itself. What is it to have chemistry with someone? I have no idea, but I know it when I experience it.

I can see why it may seem scary to believe in love at first sight. If you believe this, then you believe that somehow two people can see the quality in each other as soon their eyes meet. This is not an easy idea to swallow in a society so empirically based, but is it really that hard to believe? There is something mysterious and beautiful about this concept of "love at first sight". All at once I'm deathly afraid, yet over-joyed about the possible ramifications of this being a reality. This is something, whether it exists or not, I want to believe it's real! It fills me with a sense of wonder and makes me believe that there may still be some magic in this world.

I'd leave you with a quote, but all I can think of at the moment is Romeo and Juliet, and it seems too cheesy or unfitting at the moment. Maybe I'll come back and add something later.


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