Tuesday, March 24, 2009

it has been suggested...

by a friend of mine that we need more words to express the varied concepts and feelings we call "love". here are some of her ideas. what do you think?

love for one's own child
love for family members
love for a close friend (philos)
love for pets (no, not like that. don't be nasty.)
love (empathy) for other people, like foster children, homeless people (philos/agape)
affection mixed with lust (eros)
love of nature, art, aesthetically pleasing things
love of our favorite hobbies/activities, and the feelings they invoke
love of the moment (starry skies, making love, sounds of music)
love that makes us want to commit to a relationship

Sunday, March 15, 2009

your mileage may vary

sometimes when people drink, they think they're way funnier than they actually are.
the following are things that a close friend of mine has said over the last few years while his heart was merry with wine...:

"Damn, you're BIG mother****er, aren't you?"

"Dude, you're gay. How did I miss that?"

"Irish, are you? Well, try not to let it bother you..."

"Are you with him? Hmm. And are you happy with that?"

"Dude, you're rocking some major sideburns there. Did somebody tell you that looked good?"

"You know you've been dying to kiss me since I walked in. Admit it."

"It's okay if you're retarded; I'll talk slow, you try to keep up."

With slight lisp, to homophobic young man: "Sweetie, I would SO turn you off of women..."

They should make a T-shirt that says "Help, I'm drinking and I can't shut up..."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Eros. Philos. Agape. Whatever.

Do you believe in love? How about Love? What is it? Does romantic love (ie, as in “being in love”) exist as an actual condition that’s either present or not? Or is that just a word/phrase we use to describe a specific cluster of pretty ordinary and non-mysterious feelings?

I think it’s the second thing. I think a combination of physical desire, emotional compatibility*, social programming, and propinquity sometimes results in a condition where we invest emotionally in another person. Their concerns become important to us; their corresponding concern for us feeds our natural narcissism, and the resulting increase in serotonin, oxytocin, and who-knows-what-else creates in us a condition called “being in love.” We become addicted to that rush of chemicals, and assume it has to do with the qualities of the other person, when in reality it’s mostly about our internal processes.

“Ah,” I hear you say, “you’re just cynical because you’ve never actually *been* in love. Whatever you’ve felt in the past, that wasn’t Love, because if it were you would know it’s a feeling beyond explanation and analysis.”

Possibly so. And I don’t want to be all sour grapes about it. I think if someone feels something powerful and wonderful, they should feel free to call it whatever they want, and rejoice in it. And we can be happy for them.

But you could say the same thing about LSD.

And it’s just that so many people attach such mystique to love, as if feeling something intense and overwhelming (and perhaps unexpected, or unique in their experience) automatically means it’s too mysterious, inexplicable, or cosmically-inspired to be understood. In reality, it just means it was intense and overwhelming, and perhaps unexpected and unique in your experience.

And it’s especially un-useful to attach a special phrase to the experience, create a vast social construct around it, shrouded in romance & mystery, and then when it (or something like it – say, intense lust) happens to you, to invoke the special phrase to excuse all sorts of ridiculous or hurtful behaviour. That’s lame.

*emotional compatibility might be healthy or not; i see it as resulting from personality, formative family experience, and acquired tastes and beliefs.