For those of you who read this blog, I’ll be honest and say that I’m not sure why you really do, at least when it comes to choice in topics. That being said, I’m guessing that you don’t come to read my perspective on love.
Luckily for everyone it is not a topic I really touch upon, largely because I don’t really know anything about it. I’ve been in love once, or at least infatuated (but what is infatuation but love that you cannot justify in hindsight?) but don’t profess to have any profound philosophical truth to lay down. In fact, I do not expect nor really hope to say anything profound to you about love–that is like doing a book review of the bible and giving it “two thumbs up.” No, I write only because I’ve been thinking about the subject of love quite a bit lately (ah! how fall provokes in me such churlish sentimentality), and so I seek to excise it here.
I think (again I’m not the first). that a lot of maturation has to do with disabusing onself of the sense of immortality. As young children, we are simply not aware of the concept of mortality. As we grow older we understand mortality but not necessarily in relationship to our own eventual annihilation. As we continue to think about this concept we eventually come to recognize–with less and less abstraction–our own mortality.
Many of us react with the desire to become famous. My life will not last forever, but my actions will, we seem to say. Eventually, we have to face not only our own death, but our own mediocrity, that we will not be a name that endures throughout the ages, we will, eventually (and quickly) be completely dead, memory and all.
So then the question becomes, not how do I live forever, but how do I find meaning in my life? How do I deal, as your average mortal, how do I deal with my life? How do I still feel that there is purpose, that I have impact?
To me, the answer is love. And not just hot monkey love, and not just true love, all of those things yes, of course of course, but love for friends. And not just loving them in the sense of intense sentimentality, no to be, as a spanish writer once wrote “travelers in the memories of our friends, explorers of their experiences”.
I recognize, at least for me, that the real meaning I find in my day to day life, with that shadow of my own existential reality sort of looming (I was a very morbid child) is. I find joy in learning from other people, or seeing something and wanting to share it with others. Loving someone else and being loved is probably most rewarding and self-illuminating thing we have managed to invent.
So that is all, I believe in love–both the true, romantic kind–and the more general platonic kind, because to love others is to love other people’s lives, experiences and to realize the value of those experiences, to love and value life itself, and really, that’s all we’ve got.