Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Love

I was so disheartened by yesterday's election that I decided to pass on the pleasure and pain of a post-election posting (at least that's my story so far). I decided instead to take on a totally unrelated subject. While part of this had to do with my despondency over the fact that I was unable to change the direction of the misguided choices that my fellow voters made. The rest was just was just my typically perverse nature, and desire to change the subject for no other reason than that I can. I therefore present the following completely unrelated, but equally mystifying topic for your edification: 

One of the few things that I have given up trying to understand about Life is Love. (There are a lot of other ones, but if I told you all of them now, what would I post about in the future?) This is not to say that I am unacquainted with the subject. I have what I hope are loving relationships with my family, my children, and my grandchildren. I even think that I have been lucky enough to have "been in love" a couple of times in my life. 

Even when I was in the midst of a situation where I thought that I was in love however, I have to say that I found myself completely confused most of the time. In this, I do not feel that I have been alone. As I am a voracious reader, I often seek the wisdom of those of a literary point of view on such weighty subjects. 

Many of the best writers in history have attempted to say something on the subject and have done well, but invariably I find myself going back to a science-fiction book called "When Harley Was One" by David Gerrold (most fans of SF know him as the man who wrote the Star Trek episode 'The Trouble With Tribbles'). To paraphrase, he described it as a process with three stages:  

1. The physical attraction between two people 

2. The bond that grows, emotionally and sexually as they learn more about each other 

3. The true loving relationship I also remember another line from the novel (which I have just discovered to my chagrin in writing this, that I have misplaced in process of my recent relocation), where the author talked about love being about "placing another person's welfare above your own".  

On the other hand, Robert Frost used an equally apt, but somewhat selfish description, calling it: "...an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired". Now before we pull out the box of tissues, make a hot cup of tea, and curl up in a blanket; let me also point out that this emotional state has contributed more to silly, ridiculous, and socially suicidal behavior than anything else in the course of human history. 

Here I can speak with some knowledge and experience. In the course of my life, I like many, have probably committed some incredibly idiotic, horribly embarrassing, and potentially fatal acts in the name of this emotion (and I've led a pretty sheltered life). No "Candid Camera" reel or "America's Funniest Home Video" episode could hope to capture the range of demented behavior that I and my fellow man daily commit in order to win the hearts of the ones they love, so I will certainly not try. 

I could probably cite a few of the numerous specific examples from my own past as proof, but I'm not sure if the statute of limitations has run out on all of them, and therefore feel that it might be better if I don't. I will simply say that if this is what Evolution has determined that the male of the species should go through in order to cement the bond required for the mating and reproductive process, we may be on our way out.  

As for what women do and have done, being neither a woman nor the gay friend of one, such information has never been shared with me. The limited information that I have gleaned on this particular subject from overheard conversations however, is terrifying to me on an almost Biblical scale.  

My only conclusion is that maybe in the end, we aren't supposed to be able to figure such things out. Maybe love is a mystery that we are supposed to embrace, rather than solve. Maybe the terror and confusion are an essential part of the joy and excitement that we experience when in love. On the other hand, one has to wonder if there is some lemming DNA hiding in our genetic background and love is simply the cliff that we line up to leap from. (Could this be where the term lover's leap actually came from, maybe?

6 comments:

Lisa Renee said...

Very will written Tim, I don't think we are mean to understand all there is about love. To get to analytical about it seems to make those feelings diminish. One of my favorite quotes on love:

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.

Friedrich Nietzsche

:-)

Tim Higgins said...

Thanks Lisa. It's nice to know that women may be as confused about this as men are. This could mean that I can end the analysis paralysis going on in my life and move on.

What a relief! On with the madness!

Maggie Thurber said...

I gave up on the confusion and trying to figure it out so long ago that I can barely remember those emotions. Since that time, I've just enjoyed it - relishing in the fact that the one I love more than anything feels the same way about me.

Additionally, we entered this with little expectation other than being together for the rest of our lives, making all the goods and bads that came along something to live through together.

Perhaps that's why we've been happily married for 16-1/2 years now...???

Tim Higgins said...

Oh sure Maggie, rub it in. I'm not depressed enough about the election results and now I have to put up with your happiness. (just kidding, of course)

The ability to sustain a relationship is a true gift. Those that can are lucky indeed.

Chad said...

I join you in the confusion..lol. Married just shy of 12 years, it's a daily learing process. I think falling in love is the easy part, it's the "relationship" end that can get tough.

One thing I've noticed is that the evolution of individuals means the same for couples. People may not change, but nearly everything about them often does. As we grow, learn, live, laugh, cry and stumble through, it changes our actions and mindset some.

It's easy to love someone during easy times, times of prosperity and for the initial period of of the relationship. It's when you get into it a while, challenges come along, and life happens, where you learn what the depth of that love really is.

Love is a many splendored thing, even the Bible says much on love, "patient, kind, forgiving...etc. But nobody ever said love is easy, not even God.

Tim Higgins said...

Chad,

As comments come in and I continue to analyze something which I obviously should have stopped analyzing long ago, I have come to a couple of additional conclusions:

1. "Falling in Love" is a truly accurate description for the out of control journey that we make when experiencing this emotion.

2. Men are genetically pre-disposed to confusion. I think that it has something to do with the "Y" chromosome.