What is this all about? Maybe you should read the READ ME READ ME.
may 30, 1996: true love
Today I want to talk about my weekend in Milwaukee, which I still have not had time to discuss. Or I want to talk about how fucking busy I have been lately; how it seems like everything is happening at once, and what I really want to do is get some sleep. But I hate the thought of sleeping and wasting all that time. So instead I will answer someone's question about love.
Why the hell not?.
What's your opinion on true love?
I gather from your page that you are immmensely intelligent (or at least intensely analytical, which is probably better).
1) what is it?
2) how do you go about finding it?
3) what do you do when you find it?
4) what if you're wrong?
5) how bad do you want it?
or vice-versa if you think it's a sham.
write back and i'll tell ya what *I* think.
Why do you think that "immensely intelligent" and "intensely analytical" are mutually exclusive? And why does one have to be better than another? And what does it mean to be "intelligent"? Regardless, thanks.
Because flattery goes a long with me, I will bother to answer your questions.
But first off, let me make it clear that hearing your opinion on love was hardly sufficient reward to convince me to respond to you. Hell, I hear people's opinions on love all the time. I mean, I watch TV and stuff. I have friends who get married, and who invite me to their weddings, and who tell me how happy they are, and how neato love is and shit. Like I really want to hear more of this? Nah.
And, as to the question regarding whether I might think this is a sham, well, of course I think it is a sham. Your relationship with me is a sham. The web is a sham. And, as I will explain below, love is a sham.
So, on we go to the heart of your letter (sure, sure, pun intended).
What is love? Well, logically speaking, it seems that, because any definition of love is impossible, it must be concluded that there is no such thing as love. I mean, think about it. Everyone who believes in love seems to have their own definition of it. And they discuss it with other people, who possess their own definitions of it. Since everyone's definitions differ, true communication between people regarding love is impossible and even meaningless.
Nonetheless, if we futilely chose to endeavor to create a definition that would be understood by most people, my reigning theory these days is that love, as experienced by most people, is a combination of very good friendship, and very good sex, plus possibly loyalty and/or trust. And addiction. But I am not sure about the latter factors. The friendship and sex thing seem pretty clear, at least when people talk about "romantic" love.
A friend of mine from a long time back used to theorize that men fall in love with women after they sleep with them because they become addicted to pleasure. I am not so sure of that. Fear is sometimes a stronger drive in men than the quest for pleasure. Such distinguishes men from rats, who, in lab studies, starve themselves by consistently choosing pleasure over food, and therefore die.
Most men I know remember to eat, and then they masturbate.
The "friendship" aspect seems pretty obvious to me. The very few times that I had myself convinced that I was in some sort of state of "love," it was always with the person who was my very best friend at the time. My parents strike me as being that way as well.
Hal Hartley seems to define love as "Trust." I don't get it. If I am too trusting of others; does that make me too loving as well?
Loyalty seems more accurate to me. If you love someone, you want to be loyal to them, and you trust that they are loyal to you. You know, you get each other's backs, so to speak.
Addiction seems to fit in here, but I am not sure how. I do feel confident, however, that addiction in the obsessive sense is not love as it should be defined. Obsession seems just so one-sided and empty.
What I don't get is why people claim to love people whom they do not even know, or who treat them like shit, or who do not appreciate them, or who do not like best about them the things that they like best about themselves.
In these cases, which I have actually seen happen too many times to count, it seems to me that those people do not love the person that they think they love. Rather, they love the idea of the person whom they think they love, which rarely has much to do with the actual person, or they love the idea of love itself, or they are trying not to think about the things in their life that are harder to deal with than whether or not they have a so-called love life.
Why do people do that? I guess it is because most people are stupid, and because they believe all of the stupid social myths that are shoved down their throats, like the one that says that someday we will all fall in love and "settle down" and buy a house and have babies and live happily ever after.
Without that social myth, perhaps we would have a completely different type of social structure, where people would relate to each other in ways that did not cause them so much heartache, and make them complain so much.
I "love" my family. I "love" Judy Garland's voice. I "love" the movie "Harold and Maude." I "love" taking baths. I "love" my cat Edward. I "love" spicy Indian food. I "love" a swanky lounge. I "love" the feeling of writing something that I am proud of. I "love" it when I solve a particularly difficult problem in an efficient and elegant manner. I "love" it when someone I respect respects me back.
Thus, to me, love seems to me to be a relationship with one's own self, rather than with other people. (And please, do not Whitney-Houston me here!)
Accordingly, it seems to me that, with some baseline level of self-satisfaction and knowledge, plus a few truly close friends, and some pretty good sex, and a bit of trust and loyalty, a person can live a pretty damn fulfilled life, without having to deal with love in its mythological sense at all.
Well, Yod, I hope that helped you as much as it helped me.
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Copyright 1996 Rebecca Eisenberg firstname.lastname@example.org