As I switch channels there it is, red hearts floating across the screen. It is that time of the year, Valentine's day is approaching. The day that is marked for the celebration of the spirit of love.My mind goes on a spin, and it begins to twirl the idea of Love. A reinventive ambition, if you will.
What should love feel like? The wise say it the heavenly world we see when in love, somesay it is a form of madness. I believe eons ago Socratessuggestedwhen you love in the right way, you're really loving the good itself. And that 'good'makes one feel complete.
Well, in that case, love between a man and a woman is not selfless, it is conditional, it is egoistic.Along this line of reasoning Jean-Paul Sartre, the ladies' man,assertedthat the desire to know oneselfmakes it difficult to acknowledge love. Besides, as individualshave the freedom to choose relationships there can hardly be love for only the one.
For him the strategy of falling in love is to become the other,to possess their consciousness. The value of this exhilarating experience is simply a means to self-discovery, to understand oneself objectively.While Simone de Beauvoir, his lifelong partner, who let him be free to love others, believed in selfless love. To love is to let go, in other words, acceptance of the other as he or she might be without the control element.
This leads me to think of Nietzsche who saidthere is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness. Could it be that he was reflecting on the idea of love as a deadly war between the sexes?Love is a power game?Well, if I agree with his terse remark about human nature which heso elegantly stated, you have your way, I have my way.
As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist, then I must acknowledge the folly of existential love. Is it not supposed to be a two-way streak? That does it, the skeptic in me wonderswhether Ishould let thesocially accepted concept of love go out the window!
Then again, let me confess,I may not receive chocolate or flowers or diamonds, but I do like the idea of the pining of heart; the idea of someone addressing me as Soulmate.Why not? Love is that bohemian oracle that makes life beautiful when in someone there is some signal of sensitivity and empathy, when someone understands, when in someone a listener appears. Perhaps, love does change the configuration of life.
I also think the concept of love to be an ideal, in pursuit of knowledge. But again, that knowledge must be relative to somethingmore tangible, in a sense that two individuals can laugh together, can embrace each other without intimacy; can feel the intensity of each other's presence, can live on the edge of desire and memory.
For me, love has no precise story to begin with. For those who love,the meaning of life is beyond fixed notions, it is to come alive in the unstable existence of freedom. It is for them to become aware of life in its totality of beauty and pain.
My motive to write about love is because it exists in the makeup of everyone's consciousness, which is the desire to persevere. Love is indeed of consequence. As an ascetic who denounces everything material in search of nirvana, I too look for it in love. In its absence,however, I hunger for a clearer answer.
As I sign off I brood over this quote:"If existence is absurd, then it makes sense that in the absence of anything else, lovers choose to make each other the reason for their existence."
Happy Valentine's Day.
Ainon N writes from the US
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