Friday, July 06, 2007

What was I talkin' about?

The last blog entry I wrote was about love at first sight and whether it can actually exist. Well, I went back and read it again and it reads much like a melting slurpee. It has no form and it just seems like a slushy mess, so I'm writing this blog to, hopefully, clear some of it up.

What do I think of love? There are different types of loves, obviously, but only one word in the English language, so it becomes confusing to talk about. I'm talking about "romantic" love (or eros, or whatever you'd like to call it). In my mind there are two different aspects of this love. On the one hand there is the decision to love someone and then on the other there is the passionate emotion.

In the movies they often display love as complete passionate emotion. It's what they call the "spark", "chemistry", "lightning striking", "falling in love", etc... Movies very rarely show the other side, the decision to love or an aged love. In my last blog I was romantically speaking of love as if it were this mysterious and powerful force, but that's not the whole truth. I want to believe that there can be such a thing as an instant spark bewteen people, but that doesn't mean that is all I want or hope for from love. I look forward to a day when I'm an old man sitting beside a woman I've decided to spend my life with. This is a love that is very real and lasting.

It's hard to find good examples of love like this nowadays because so many people aren't willing to stick it out. They want happiness and fulfillment, but they fail to realize that the decision to love someone requires committment and hard work too (not just the fluffy stuff).

My last blog was about love at first sight and it's this type of love that I would associate with the passionate emotion of love. This isn't a mental decision, but rather a stirring of emotion. I realize this passion can develop in different ways and in varying amounts of time, but who's to say how much time it takes to develop? Is it not possible that this connection could form immediately? I'm not saying this is where it ends, but it may be a jump start to something better.

The connection I tried to make in my last entry between quality and love is this... We often talk about things as being beautiful or creative meaning they are of quality. However, when we try to say what properties make an object have quality, we can't. We know quality when we see it, but we can't define criteria for scientifically measuring quality. Often when we try to create this criteria, the rules end up eroding the quality itself (limiting the creativity in art or writing, as an example).

Love is the same. When you ask someone how they know their in love they say, "I don't know how, I just know." Love is something that is very hard to describe, but you somehow intuitively know when you're experiencing it. It's this ambiguity in defining love that makes it difficult to decide what is an appropriate time frame for "falling in love"... Is it 5 minutes, 10 minutes, half a day, a week, 3 years, a decade? What is enough time? There is no answer. It's a matter of when you decide to make a choice in your heart to love someone and follow it with every fiber of your being. I admire the person that has enough guts to make that decision at the instant they meet someone special.

I'll leave you with a line from the movie Moulin Rouge...

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. "


Blogger Koheleth said...

I rather appreciate your recent posts, as they are in the style of C. S. Lewis's meditations in "The Four Loves." Your post made me wonder if love at first sight might be the sort of thing that can only develop within a Christian context. What I mean is this: It would seem that most of the great examples of love at first sight developed either amid, or in the wake of, a Christian milieu e. g. Romeo and Juliet, Beatrice and Dante, Heloise and Abelard etc. And even most of the writings of the 18th century Romantic poets emerged from a buildup of 17 centuries of Christian theology. This theology promoted an ideal of marriage in which commitment was foremost, and romance was secondary. I wonder if the existence of such commitment as a norm ensured that love at first sight could work, because it was treated as the fruit of the tree, rather than the tree itself. The Medievals and Early Moderns could afford to flirt with love at first sight because they knew that, beneath all its caprices, a socially and spiritually instilled sense of commitment ensured that lovers maintained a sacrificial kind of love. This would then explain the reason that our contemporaries sneer at the idea of love at first sight. The sense of commitment, which undergirded the love of the ancients, has departed from our society. Therefore, moderns are left with mere love at first sight, which is not anchored by anything, and it makes sense that it should quickly become hollow, fragmentary, and ironic; the branch has been cut off from the olive tree, and is fit only for flames. This would also explain why Christian circles, or circles that strongly promote marital faithfulness, are often the only places in our society that seem to paradoxically preserve a sense of romance less affected by irony than that of our jaded peers.

1:18 a.m.  
Blogger Lee said...


Thanks for your comment! I like your insights. I'm a huge C.S.Lewis fan, but I haven't read the Four Loves. I think it may be on my bookshelf waiting.

I like the idea of a love based on commitment rather than romance. I like the idea that committment is the tree and romance is simply fruit of this tree.

It is such a delicate balance this dance between romance and committment. I find myself thinking that it would be beautiful to meet someone you automatically connect with and want to commit to be with, but realize I'm now speaking romantically abuot committment. Kind of paradoxical.

This could be off track with what you were saying, but it seems that love is a really tricky and delicate thing these days. If what you're saying is true, then it used to be the case (in Christianity at least) that everyone was aiming for the same goal in relationships, namely a committed marriage grounded on sacrificial love. At present it seems that the goals of love are unclear. We burden ourselves with questions like "where will this love lead me?" or "what is the other person's intentions?", etc. It's almost over before it begins in many cases.

Anyway, you have some great ideas and insights. Thank you

8:04 p.m.  

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