Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thoughts on Love --

Just hours ago I finished reading this sprawling 900-pager.
Oh, such a tremendously worthwhile novel.
Definitely one of the best reads of the past year for me, perhaps the best.
But at the end, so unbearably sad at certain parts that I very nearly wanted to hurl it at the [Starbucks] wall!
The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michel Faber.

It took him 20 years to write it, and nearly as long for me to read it, but seriously, trust me friends… if you love great Victorian-era fiction, this one has a money-back guarantee!
So many of its main themes, not the least of which is the idea of “rescue”… so many ideas of the book have not only resonated within me at a deep level, but also have accompanied me in my mind, as I walked home tonight along Sussex Street in the cool autumn air.
It is a real thought-provoker.
The book makes me think about love. The mechanics of it. What is it?

Not the kind of love we have for our pets, or for our country, or our friends, family members and parents, etc. No.
I mean that kind of exclusive love we reserve for another person. The kind that leads to all of the best kind of intercourses, and I don’t mean just of the sexual nature.
The love we mean when we say to someone, “I am in love with you.”

Nothing of what I am about to say is meant to be pontificating on the topic.
Nothing ex cathedra.
Fact is, what the hell do I really know about it? Love, I mean.
But I am convinced that we very often get whatever it is -- wrong.
And that concerns me, and should concern everyone.

I feel that very often the error lies in a misinterpretation of The Displacement of Loneliness.
We find ourselves in the presence of another, and loneliness seems to evaporate.
Is this the criteria by which we measure the depth of our exclusive love?
Or rather…. hopefully not.
This feeling of foundness and belonging is one aspect of a healthy love relationship, but it is not what love is.

I anticipate that what I am about to say will not set well with a lot of readers, but I will say it just the same If we say to another “I am in love with you” I would seriously hope that what we are meaning is something greater than “I am less lonely when I am with you.”

I don’t know about you, but I myself personally would feel quite cheapened and maybe even duped, were I to find that this was the greatest extent of what my lover meant when they declared such a thing to me.
Secondly, never would I myself say those words to another, if that were the greatest extent of what I meant by them. Because it would cheapen their [the beloved’s] worth.
I am convinced, as I walk down the lamplit street tonight, that part of the problem [the seedbed of misconstrusion] lies in that initial perception of loneliness in the first place!
Loneliness is good at inventing many things. And one of those things, is “love”.

“Are you lonely?”
“Yes. At times, very much so.”
“Does being with this other person make you feel less lonely?”
“Yes. At times, very much so.”
“Do you believe this to mean that you are in love with them?”

I would seriously counsel the above Thrice-Responding “Yes”-Person to consider the degree of stock they are placing in their experience of the alleviation of this disconnected feeling we call “being lonely.”
Is there something worse than being lonely?
My answer would be “Yes, → believing that someone else can ultimately relieve you of it.”
The argument to this response is [in my opinion] the great lie of the ages.
We all have heard the rhetoric on this – “Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”
But there is one thing that is for sure better.
And that is to love and win.
And I believe that our best shot at doing such a thing is to deal with our “loneliness” issues before we are tempted to abandon them with the next flash of cute eyelashes we encounter, be they male or female.
Let’s deal with our loneliness issues before they deal with us.
Then, perhaps we can be part of the following scenario, instead of the former one:

“Are you lonely?”
“Does being with this other person allow you to continue feeling as good about your identity as you do when you are without them?”
“Yes. At times, better.”
“Do you believe this to mean that you are in love with them?”
“Not necessarily, but it’s an encouraging sign. My concept of love is not directly linked to how someone else makes me think about myself.”

For further reading, an old poem of mine may be in order [CLICKEROO]
-- Cip



Matt said...

"We find ourselves in the presence of another, and loneliness seems to evaporate."

To a certain extent, this is true and reflects of how I feel about relationship. This loneliness is not the same kind of loneliness that I find myself in, say, when I'm eating alone at a fine-dining restaurant. (Which I did, twice last week!)

My friend used to tell me that she wants to date just so she doesn't have to eat alone.

I know I'm in love with someone when the person is always on my mind, regardless of the distance and separation. I know I'm in love when I always think about what the person would do in a situation before I do.

Matt said...

I got carried away about myself without commenting on the book.

No, I haven't it. I have shied away from it from day one.

I should give it a try thanks to you!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Matt.

Always on my mind...that's the deal. Always...with me. Sort of embedded.
Messing with my head.
Knowing what I am doing would be even more fun if he were here to share in it.
My Other.

cipriano said...

Good points, all.
Love as predomination.
I think this is very valid, one of the best signs of something beyond mere "like" or "compatibility."
Thinking of them.
Always, always, always.... yes.
This has got to count for something!