(N)ever-lasting (L)love

Two made one are never one.

Arguing the same we disagree.

Singing together we compete.

We choose each other

to be one, and from the one

both soon diverge.

Heraclitus — “Fragments”

I have within deep strains of romanticism and naiveté.  Several decades ago I enjoyed a myth on the subject of Love described within Plato’s Symposium.  Simply put, the myth basically assumed that human individuals were once whole and powerful and in a position to challenge the status of the Gods.  As such, Zeus used his bolts of lightning to sever each whole human being into halves.  Love is therefore merely the search for your other perfect half in which upon finding it, you and the other being become whole and powerful.  I like to think about Love through that myth.  Perhaps I would add some variations to the idea of two becoming one for I do believe each individual in a perfect union should also enjoy the freedom to develop as individuals.  But again, we are talking about an ideal union which may or may not exist in reality.

But, based on my own practical experience and employing my limited lens of observation, I have yet to experience or observe true and ever-lasting Love.  I am not saying such a prize can’t be achieved, but I am questioning the existence there of.  Heraclitus was obviously a sage who lived 2,500 years before Einstein.  Most of his surviving fragments deal with nature and some argue that his thoughts were a prelude to Einstein’s theory on matter and energy.  His above fragment may not have been referring to Love or individuals, rather it could in fact be referring to the properties of matter or a myriad of other ideas.  But the fragment contains incredible content and could in fact be applying the concept of natural laws to that of two individuals and provides ample means to contemplate the idea of ever-lasting Love or a perfect and enduring union.

I believe that I have Loved more than once, but I also have experienced its ethereal characteristics.  There seems to be a cycle that occurs.  First, there is physical attraction which may come about merely through the eyes and loins, but this base attraction can be compounded exponentially by the contents of the other being.  I would also argue that based on experience the reverse could occur, in which the individual became more attractive after learning about the contents of the individual.  The second phase involves courting and exploration as to whether or not those initial impressions and attractions can endure or expand beyond the first phase.   The first and second phases seem to come with an immense amount of excitement, energy, passion and romance.  Clearly at this point the atoms are bouncing back and forth with great energy and excitement longing to transfuse into and with one another.  These first two phases align with my idea of Love.  You float among the clouds.  The ocean and wind seem to be in tune with your inner being.  In fact, the entire Universe starts to make sense or it is of no concern as beauty and purpose seems to exist within.     

The third phase may include a proposal to marry or move in together or both.  This phase reveals much about the strength of the bond formed in phases one and two as the two individuals now confront the daily grind of living.  Perhaps both have long commutes to work, or long stressful hours, or money is tight, or old private habits or idiosyncrasies not discovered during the first two phases slowly reveal themselves and create some forms of friction.  Perhaps one individual doesn’t meet the expectation of the other individual and conflict arises repetitively on the same subject resulting in no change.  The examples here of course are endless.  Let me simply say that in phase three two individuals are tested once exposed to the elements of life created by the couple and the external human environment which is forced upon or inherited by them.      

Based on my experience and observations, the fractures or cracks that seem to occur during phase three often result in the Immaculate Conception — phase four or the birth of a child or children.  A child or children is or are beautiful things, but they require an enormous expense of energy and resources.  Indeed a child or children can increase the commitment between the two individuals which created the new being or beings, but there is no doubt that energy once spent on each other is now significantly diverted to the needs and wants of the new being or beings.  The bond they enjoyed in phases one and two is now re-organized into a three-way bond including the child (or more depending on the number of children).  One could even hypothesize that the two individual bonds are separated and then re-attach at the opposite ends of each other with the child or children attaching to both via the middle position.  In some instances perhaps the two individuals remain attached and add additional attachments to the child or children.  The later is clearly more desirable than the former and perhaps more rare.        

Over time, which I refer to as the fifth stage, the relationship appears to evolve into more of a partnership, a friendship, a sort of co-existence.  Phases one and two become merely a distant memory.  Now the relationship is built upon a promise and bond made back during the third phase based primarily on the bond developed during the first two phases — in reality the first two phases no longer exist in the present.  In essence, the atoms have split apart and orbit in the same general area but the initial strong bond has been clearly severed by the elements and the additions to the union.  Now we have to contemplate whether ever-lasting love is defined as a partnership, a friendship, trust, a mutual co-existence, a matter of comfort and practicality, or whether the idea of ever-lasting Love is more of an ideal where phases one and two endure and remain intact throughout the duration of the union until death does them part. 

As I stated at the beginning, I have deep strains of romanticism and naiveté.  Therefore, my soul rebels against the idea or definition I have derived above for a practical ever-lasting love that evolves into a state of co-existence or partnership.  Perhaps my experience and observations are wrong and people have experienced or observed true ever-lasting Love that defies my general outline above.  If so, I would love to hear about the experience and or the observation.  I am fully aware that my failures or my limited observations are merely a small sample that is not statistically significant.  But let us put the above practical definition to the test to explore some potentially interesting ideas.  Of course this topic could explode into an entire book, but that is not the proper place for this medium.  These thoughts are rather raw and certainly a nice summary draft.

What should one do if he or she is bound by the above practical definition of ever-lasting love, but suddenly stumbles upon another being in which phase one begins to develop?  And let us say, for argument’s sake, that the potential bond for phase two seems exponentially more exciting or promising than that which was experienced with the current partner at such a phase?  In the natural world the answer is simple.  The atoms would come together from the mutual attraction that is greater than the other atoms in the general vicinity — the chemistry is over-powering and becomes the rule of nature.  But in the realm of the human being the only thing in the way is a promise made in the past that relates to something that existed in the past, but not in the present.  Therefore, is it also logical that the human being should follow the same simple principle upon which the natural world operates? 

There are billions of people in the world.  Might there be a person out there that far exceeds the potential to achieve ever-lasting Love that might shatter the practical definition of ever-lasting love?  And if such an opportunity presented itself, should one not take the steps necessary to explore that potential in spite of the promise to perpetuate the practical existence of ever-lasting love based on a past bond that no longer exists?  Now of course I am making a significant assumption here.  I am in essence saying the power of the first two phases is more meaningful and greater than that of phases four and five.  In short, I am putting passion and romance on a higher plane than practical friendship and co-existence and the family unit.  This certainly would make for a great debate, but as a romantic, I side with the former.  I am not saying that I am right or that I could not be persuaded to the other side.  But in my opinion, based on personal experience and observation, I put more value in the realm of Love in phases one and two.  As such, I would advocate that the individual involved follow the rule of nature.     

Of course, the human world employs mechanisms to prevent an individual from following such a natural principle.  The promise in marriage is loaded with psychological, religious, and societal guilt should an individual chose to break the promise and contract in order to pursue the potential of a higher Love.  The status quo supporting the concept of marriage and ever-lasting love also employs financial carrots and sticks, especially if children are involved.   Married people (not of the same sex) receive tax breaks.  Married people with children receive additional tax breaks.  Certainly a family needs a house to fulfill the American Dream so the status quo grants yet another tax break for home ownership.  If an individual decides to explore a new Love and break that original promise of ever-lasting practical love, then there will be a substantial cost to pay.  Such a decision to pursue the potential of a higher Love is a direct threat to the whole underlying machinery of the economic dynamo which is the beating heart of the status quo. 

Love is not the King; rather, the idea of marriage, children, the home, the car, and all the things that fill the home takes the crown.  Stability and practicality rule over the ideal concept of Love.  Therefore, if one partner were to find a greater half other than the current partner and chose the better half, the stick will be applied to the individual choosing Love over a partnership or the contract with the church and state.  And I ask, for argument’s sake, if two individuals have the potential to explore whether or not ever-lasting Love might truly exist, and can find the means and the answer to keep phase one and phase two burning into the ever-lasting blink of their life-time or before their bodies shrivel up and dry out, then would it not be a crime to interfere or apply mechanisms to prevent such an event from occurring with total freedom?  Is there a higher goal than finding true and ever-lasting Love, in any form? 

Another concept to contemplate is more in-line with the thinking of Heraclitus.  Perhaps there is no such thing as ever-lasting Love.  Perhaps Love occurs for merely an instant or short period of time before natural forces break it apart.  For all of nature is in constant flux and ever evolving into different shapes and forms.  All one needs to do is observe the clouds over time to see this principle in action.  Might it not be more realistic to treat Love as something beautiful but transitory in nature?  Might there be some truth in the idea of never-lasting Love?  Perhaps two individuals can only be in Love for a short period of time and once that cycle has run the course the two individuals must take leave in search of new Love?  And that new Love may or may not be in the form of another human being.  For is it not possible to fall in Love with something other than the human form? Maybe the prospect of a new Love signifies the time for departure?  If this is indeed a more realistic approach to Love and Love is to be given its due place in the value spectrum, then perhaps the whole idea of marriage or ever-lasting love needs to be reconstructed and re-evaluated. 

Personally, I like the idea of the myth presented in Plato’s Symposium and that each one of us has a perfect or close to perfect second half somewhere out there in the world, but I also have strong objective senses that Heraclitus makes a very powerful and strong case.  Either way, both arguments certainly challenge the concept of marriage or ever-lasting love unless of course, we have truly found our other half.  And the probability of achieving such a feat seems to reside in the hands of Fate.  Might most of us simply be making a selection based on default?  Just as we are eventually forced to choose a means to make money, might we also be forced to choose love out of what is available before us?  Might there not be a better fit should Fate not bestow upon you one of the greatest gifts?  I take off my hat and bow down before those that believe Fate has granted them with certainly one of the greatest gifts in the human realm — Ever-lasting Love.

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37 thoughts on “(N)ever-lasting (L)love

  1. Excellent. Read Goethe’s “Elective Affinities” . . . now. 😉

    Also, I have always thought Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” was a metaphor of the incompatibility of “Eternal Love” with the interests of the species–it is Bellum ad internecionem. True Love is the ultimate form of selfishness–the only way for the species to survive it is to redirect it into a sacrifice, to fracture and shatter the very heart of that form with the altruism that results from procreation. Romeo and Juliet never reach that point, never reach what you refer to as Stage 3–they die immortalizing the beauty, autonomy and self-centeredness of Stages 1 & 2; and it is not surprising that the means by which they perish is through the ultimate act of selfishness, autonomy and defiance of “God and Country”: Suicide.

    Cheers,

    ~DS~

    • I edited this ramble to include this…I love your idea of Romeo and Juliet being a metaphor for what you described. Brilliant!

      This is very interesting. Have I in fact already read this book (Elective Affinities)? Did I not read this piece during my “Short Breath of Freedom”? Is this not the novel where the Captain sets out to re-design the garden and captures the heart of the married woman? Of course there was much content to this work and I think in fact the Captain ended up with the mother’s daughter? I can’t remember much of this novel if I am thinking of the right book. But if I did read it, how much did this work from Goethe impact my subconscious? Take also into consideration the picture I posted on the sculpture that I was fascinated with during my “Short Breath of Freedom”. I in fact took a better black and white photo (my opinio) of this very sculpture and if it was available to me via a jpeg I would have used it. And is not the very form of Cupid or Eros the very representation of Love’s transitory nature? Or I could have used my photo of that sculpture fountain of which I know you are very familiar for you yourself introduced me to its beauty and location. The two young lovers looking into eachothers eyes with such delicate yet passionate love with both bodies experiencing complete surrender. And I can’t deny that Plato and Socrates had an immense impact on my being during my undergraduate education. Nor can I deny that the very thought of Romeo and Juliet did not enter my mind while I was writing this post…but not in the form of the potential and clear metaphor you have proposed.

      Indeed, it seems to me my vague memory of that short period of freedom and prior education combined with personal experience seems to be surfacing in my thoughts and self analysis. How have these past thinkers and artists impacted my decisions in life? How have my own experiences in fact further proved or disproved their thoughts and art? Have I made my own decisions independent of them…or have they in fact been a part of those decisions at both subconscious and conscious levels? It seems that these high ghostly spirits still live within us and help define our souls. Is there truth to the idea that nothing we write or think of hasn’t already been thought or written about? These thoughts lead to so many more questions in regards to the proper education.

      But, given this post prompted your response alluding to this novel by Goethe…I think that if I have indeed read this before that it certainly calls for a re-read, and if I haven’t read it before, then certainly a first read is in order, as well as Romeo and Juliet! Of course a proper and more well rounded education would include a counter work of art to such concepts. Perhaps after reviewing and debating the two extremes, we could in fact come to a decision embracing either end, or something in the middle. Often wise men speak of balance or moderation. Often I think perhaps the answers reside on the extremes.

      • I believe you have the correct novel in mind–there is in fact a love rectangle that unfolds in the story. Definitely worth re-reading. If I recall correctly, the book was written at a point in Goethe’s life where he had finally succumbed to the idea of marriage, and married a woman he had lived with out of wedlock for almost two decades. Within months of the marriage, he conceived an all-consuming passion for a young woman he met, which inspired the writing of the story.

  2. This is a tough one to contemplate TC, however I think you’ve captured it very well…I believe most people start out with the best of intentions but once a Child comes into the mix things change and depending on one’s perspective sometimes this change can be catastrophic to the relationship… I believe that if you are truly “in love” this addition should enhance not hinder the relationship because after all the end result is your creation and should therefore be a celebration of that love…Unfortunately, (and this is my observation)this is were most relationships fall short…and they fall short because we are human, depending on the individual,the attention the new addition receives from the other can become a source of resentment and jealousy… and once this side of a person is shown it is hard to salvage phase one and two…I believe “true everlasting love” exists but rarely do you meet the right person at the right time…and then once achieved it takes a tremendous amount of work to see it through to fruition…but then I’m a romantic like yourself and believe the quest is worth the endeavour… 😊

    • You present some interesting ideas. Perhaps the first three phases are put in place by both nature and society for the ultimate goal to procreate. Once procreation is complete, then the two individuals must sacrafice what they once shared and devote pieces of themselves to the development of the child or children. Those that lack a certain level of altruism or the will to work on maintaining the remnants of what was once phase 1 and 2 leave the relationship if phase 1 and 2 may present itself in another individual. Alternatively, we may have examples where the individuals maintain the stage of a perfect marriage, but secretly fulfill the desire for phase 1 and 2 through other lovers. For we must be honest that a great number of those that remained married have indeed experimented with other lovers post marriage. And, which of the two alternatives, assuming there are only two for the purpose of this conversation, is more appropriate? Is the man or woman that openly leaves the relationship to selfishly pursue new Love on a higher or lower plane than the individual that secretly pursues new Love but maintains the appearance of a fully functional and enduring marriage?

      • Well this is another thought provoking one TC, and I really don’t know the answer to that… I never judge a persons decision to chose whatever they deem right for their particular situation… But then I’m a Gemini and am cursed with seeing things from both perspectives… 😊

      • LOL again…I am a fish but I too have the problem of seeing two sides. But in this case, I guess I am kind of traditional. I feel if you become attracted to another woman and follow through to conclusion with that attraction, that the image of Love portrayed in the sculpture on this post is dead. I guess I don’t believe in multiple lovers when it comes to the matter of Love. Therefore, once the line has been crossed, one must eventually come clean….the sooner the better.

  3. This post reminds me of two of Tolstoy’s short stories, the first of which is titled “Family Happiness” and traces all of the aforementioned stages — attraction, courtship, marriage, children, and then a lull, or friendship. The other story it reminds me of is “The Kreutzer Sonata” which is essentially an indictment of the marriage paradigm in its entirety. I have always been burdened by the question of love as well, torn and not sure where I truly stand in the debate. I think that without question True Love is a fallacy and Plato was irresponsible for promoting that kind of thinking; we do not each have just one perfect other half or soul mate out there waiting for us. I believe in love in a Darwinian sense, I suppose, in that we can care deeply about another person; but beneath the surface there are always the uncomfortable questions of intention. Are we just hardwired to be biologically attracted to one kind of person. If I am attracted to a man, might it be as simple as “I like his body because it is strong and will be able to protect me and our children”, or “He is attractive and thus will pass on appealing genetics to my children”. Is this still love, if these are the roots of all romantic relationships? Perhaps more importantly, can we rise above it? I think we can. Maybe that is the only way we can love on a deeper, philosophical, or intellectual level — if we break away all the customary reasons for loving someone (i.e., they are physically attractive, they will help economically support me, they are successful). If we love without any expecting or receiving any benefit for that love, in fact, if we love despite all the person’s setbacks and flaws, we are contradicting our biological foundation. Maybe then and only then, we are loving merely for the sake of loving. I suppose the simplest metaphor I can think of for this is: suppose a young, attractive, intelligent man marries an infertile, poor, unattractive woman (or switch the genders if you feel inclined, it doesn’t matter). She has nothing to offer him — both biologically and socially — he can gain nothing from their relationship. I would say, hypothetically, that young man sincerely Loves her, the real her, not the genetics she will pass on to their children, or the social approval their marriage will bring him, or the success, or power, or monetary benefit.

    • Tolstoy. Now I am certain I haven’t read these two works of his but I enjoyed the short descriptions on Wikipedia. I am sure there are some golden nuggets contained in those pages. As I mentioned to Saunder’s, it was not Plato/Socrates that were irresponsible for presenting this myth of perfect halves, that of course falls upon me for enjoying the myth. Plato/Socrates merely serve this myth up as a means to tear it apart and they do their work well. I am certain they would do the same with Romeo and Juliet.

      You bring up some interesting ideas as usual. Darwinian concepts of mating within the context of the animal kingdom seem relatively clear. The Alpha Male gets the harem via a display of strength or beauty or other rituals. In this way, the strongest genes are passed on to increase the probability of that species survival. It seems several people have extrapolated concepts from Darwin’s theories on nature and apply those same ideas to that of economics. As such, the male with the pile of money therefore should have rights to the best females and or harem. Perhaps we could even reverse this scenario and give the power of choice to the female given they in theory can earn just as much or more wealth and power than men in the current construct. And there are a multitude of examples in nature where the female is the one with the power of choice.

      But here is something to think about. Just because a man or woman is loaded with money, does this also follow that he or she has the best genes? Alternatively, could a poor man or poor woman indeed have better genes than a rich man or woman? And might the goal of ensuring we pass on the best genes turn out to be the correct goal? Was the Aristocracy not partly concerned with this idea both in terms of stock and mind? In our efforts to go above and beyond natural laws, have we in fact lost our way? Why do we think we are any different than the Apex predators? Are we not animals and part of the animal kingdom? I guess if you are a romantic, the answer to this question is a resounding no. We have the potential to rise above the animal kingdom and find more in love than merely gene selection. Perhaps we can have both?

      Beyond this argument or question, we must submit that money in the current construct equates to freedom and power as defined by the current construct. Therefore, it follows that the smart man or woman would seek out a partner with money. If the man or woman with money is also handsome or pretty, then his or her potential increases. And we could keep layering on additional qualities like humor or intelligence to further equip our potential mate with more attractiveness. But what you did not elaborate on in your above metaphor is what is it that the younger handsome man finds attractive about the older, poor, infertile woman? And here is where I believe we get to the meat of the matter in exploring a potentially higher Love or qualities that could perhaps enhance Love, enable it to endure, or at least result in an elevated transitory form of Love.

      • I think you’re undoubtedly right — affluence does not automatically equate to superior genes. Of course, this is merely anecdotal, but I have often found the opposite to be true. Most of the people I have known to be truly intelligent, bordering on genius, find the quest for money arbitrary and trivial, and therefore only seek as much as is necessary and no more.

        As to the question of what that young man finds attractive in his unequal partner, I do not have a definite answer. I suppose it could be anything; an unnameable attraction, or an ego boost (although that means, once again, he does not “Love” her). But I guess this all leads to the inevitable question: is there ever a truly noble reason to love? We always attack men for going after women merely for their looks, but whose to say going after someone for their intelligence, or humor is any more moral or acceptable? What, if any, are the acceptable reasons to love?

        Now I am really confusing myself… Alas.

      • LOL…I too am confused…thus the post. Alas indeed. But, that sculpture in the picture sure reveals one aspect that I consider very very important 😉

      • I think there may be a little too much “scientific” determinism in this discourse. I mean. for example, why don’t I fall in Love with every physically attractive, highly intelligent, well-endowed and materially wealthy woman I encounter? And I encounter plenty of these all the time. Why does the “test of true love” have to therefore be loving a woman who is the antithesis of this type?

        I think there is an enigmatic element in Love that simply defies scientific methodology–one can attempt to describe it as “chemistry”, but this still doesn’t explain the why, the how, the actual cause of the phenomenon to begin with. It is the same old blind spot that plagues all scientific inquiry. Science cannot explain why I do fall in Love with just one particular woman possessing superficially comparable qualities to millions of others.

        There is something else there that makes it happen, and what exactly is it? I say there is a mystery here that cannot be easily explained by any means, scientific, religious, or philosophical.

        One can fortress oneself all one wants against Love, over-intellectualize about it, dissect it on a cold, metallic slab, play the frigid skeptic, but when it comes it strikes like two lightning bolts becoming one in the summer midnight sky and all one’s deliberate and desperate tactics are rendered helpless before it and its inexplicable power.

      • Indeed…and I am not so sure I am concerned with the why. I am mainly concerned or question whether that point and electricity where the two bolts meet and the Thunder rings out can endure or whether the natural course is what I have outlined in the post where all that remains from that powerful storm is a tranquil creek meandering through a quiet meadow. And I am also interested in what one should do if that quiet sedate meadow setting were to be suddenly threatened by another approaching thunderstorm even more powerful and horrific than the first. In this case, should the individual take cover or run out into the open and embrace the passionate fury?

      • The question as to whether Love can perpetually renew itself so that it remains a thunderstorm in perpetuity is circumscribed by the natural fact of decomposition–Love is mainly an affair of the young; it is difficult to take seriously the prospect of two wizened, old “lovers” still trying against all odds to behave like a couple of lightning bolts in the night sky when they are more like a couple of old, bed-stand night-lights on the blink. However, within the relatively more limited sphere of youth and middle age, I think a constantly renewing Love is, though unlikely for most, certainly a possibility. No surprise, though, that it would be largely conditioned by not following along the conventional course of phases you outline. I think it stands a much better chance of attaining to this constant rebirth if the relationship is not subjected to the conventional forms of marriage and procreation and all the subversive baggage that comes with them. In other words, if the relationship in some sense dwells in stages 1 & 2 and does not vacate them for the stages that follow. While this may be “sad”, it is probably nonetheless true with few if any exceptions.

        I have no problem whatsoever with individuals who have been unfortunate enough to vacate stages 1 & 2 and therefore find themselves inhabiting a tomb of Love breaking out of it and being reborn once again as lightning bolts in the night sky–I am all for this. More power to them–and may they do it completely and wholeheartedly, not neurotically, guiltily, and halfheartedly, returning to the tomb when they are “done” to die in a lie. Rip open the night with light and fire my friends! I am for you.

      • DS…that was hillarious. But, I like the verbage you used as to the question of whether or not Love can “perpetually renew itself”. And here is the kicker. Against all probability (as many scientists claim the formation of animate life exemplifies), I believe there could in theory be a perfect match between two individuals. And, if they can free themselves of all external baggage, perhaps that high form of love could endure and renew…Thunderstorm…period of peace…Thunderstom…period of peace…and so on…until the point where middle age fades into complete decomposition. Perhaps they would decide to hold hands and leap from the mountain top before that point of complete decomposition. But for the mass majority of us, I guess all we can do is attempt the best we can to figure out how to keep the flame alive as long as we can and protect it from the potential forces that may extinguish the fire.

  4. This is a nice deeply thought out post. I like the subject. People don’t talk enough about love these days, in a serious way. I haven’t read The Symposium for a while, but I remember Socrates had the last word and he said some very surprising things about love, which were thought-provoking and not altogether complementary. Didn’t he refer to love as a beggar or a shadow? It’s hard not to see love as an illusion nature creates to perpetuate itself, though I have to admit (as being something of a romantic myself) that I hate the idea. I think maybe one problem is that we don’t have enough words for love. If a relationship continues one love dies and there is, for a while, an empty space, but if you’re lucky it’s filled with a different kind of love, one that is more enduring and in a way more beautiful. Any way you look at it, nothing about love is easy. If you’re after the love expressed by the romantics, I admire your courage. It will certainly make for an interesting life!

    • You bring up a point that I need to discuss with Beverly. Indeed Plato/Socrates tear down such a romantic myth and shred it to pieces, for Plato/Socrates are far from romantic 😉

      The metaphor or myth described in the Symposium stood out as a shining beacon of beauty in the idea of love. In fact, I remember growing dissapointed as I continued reading the Symposium after that piece, but, I appreciated and understood how logic ate away at such romance or fantasy.

      I like your point about Love transforming over-time through duration. Is that transformation in fact a bridge from phases 1 and 2 to phase 5? If so, might friendship or partnership be the more beautiful and enduring kind of love to which you are referring? Or would you describe it as something different?

      I don’t know how to answer your position regarding seeking romantic Love. I think I have in the past, but I am not sure how to approach the future. I have created quite a trail of destruction behind me and in front of me. Perhaps a transitory view going forward might be in order. Another option is to simply be alone and get a dog 😀

  5. All I know for sure is when you can love another more than yourself, you are in it. That is the lasting factor. If you love yourself more than the other, there is no “we.” Never was. Never will be. It is a temporary connection destined to end if for no other reason than one of the two will be vulnerable, awaiting reciprocity that they one day realize is never going to happen. Or that waiting will end because the one who did not, could not reciprocate and likely never will love anyone more than themselves, ends it for something more seemingly exciting that also has no lasting power. Now, the miracle would be to find two souls who loved one another beyond themselves. Happens. Rarely, perhaps. But it does happen. That’s my observation for what it’s worth and as one afraid to be vulnerable ever again, I know it may never happen for me. I’m so afraid of giving that much again that the next time I won’t find my way back home to me, I’ll just be one of the bitter lost. And life unfolds as it should… no less than the trees and the stars.
    Janice

    • Never say never 😉

      Thank you for your heartfelt response. So if both beings love eachother more than themselves, Love will endure and remain at high romantic levels. I don’t think I have observed that but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Often I have thought about maintaining a high level Love in terms of a battle to maintain and improve ourselves. In other words, out of respect for Love, you must continue to improve yourself and prove yourself. In other words, both individuals must continue to evolve as worthy opponents such that neither one is swallowed up by the other. Strange idea I know, but I haven’t fully developed this thought or extrapolated what this means.

    • Plato’s Symposium is the first book that made me fall in Love with attempting to write and increase my knowledge. In fact, the paper I wrote on the Symposium was the first straight A I received in my freshman year. Now, I didn’t rob you of anything. I am certain you could expand way beyond this post and add much more color and creativity to some of the ideas and conflicts which certainly have been examined and written about. So…I guess this may serve as food for thought upon which to expand and create something of value 😉

  6. How very commendable of you TC, a rare man indeed😊…and I entirely agree for one man is quite enough for any woman to be getting on with…😄

  7. So what you are saying is that love is like Garanimals? I prefer to think of love like a fine automobile. It doesn’t matter the make or model, you could get a lemon or one that runs forever. My neighbors top of the line Mercedes is in the shop all the time whilst my ’98 Chevy keeps on purring with rarely a visit… Why ask why?

    • I guess what I am asking is whether or not the beauty in that sculpture can endure until the point where it no longer matters. Shit, Mercedes makes their money on repairs…best to use your feet or public transport 😉

      • I am an aesthetic drunk. And there are certain kinds of beauty that never die but perhaps our relationship with that particular kind of beauty changes. This is especially true with art. What it ignites within can change and for it not to matter would mean that you do not care. Then you are on to another matter entirely. Oh hell, I’d need a cocktail and a pack of Gitanes for this conversation. I’m out of my league here.

  8. I like the strand this convo took. I like Beverly’s comment, re: more than one person out there.. I am of a similar bent. ❤ dragonstrand's too, re: chemistry. I believe there is a secret element, a mystery, as to why we fall when we do or why. The heart wants what it wants, common sense has got nothing to do with it..

    I've seen a few posts around contemplating love lately.. January is like that.. the dark before the light of Spring.

    I think whether you choose passion or stability is always a personal, conscious choice, depending on values or character.. Lucky are the people who have both..whether in one person or in many. As long as there is no deception.

    People love the ideas of soulmates because the we hold the other to be idealized images of ourselves or who we imagine ourselves to be.. They are our mirror, the problem is, we are so many people.. We can't find all of our many selves in one person's eyes.

    ..but some people come damn close.

    Those are tough esp. when the practicalities don't match.. then it's decision time.

    We can never truly know another person. We may see ourselves, but they might not see themselves. Prob is we rarely see ourselves the way other's see us.. We *feel* separate.. We want to be complete.. How much more complete? Unless you share a soul?

    Well, I believe we already are connected to everything in various ways.. What's left is just chemistry.

    I think a good rule of thumb is to go with the person who makes you feel "on fire in your soul" all the time (and it's worse when they are in the actual room; Read: You forget you have feet and how to talk like a person) ***IF they feel the same way*** (This is key.) Regardless of circumstances.. IF you are lucky enough to find someone who reciprocates these feelings, burning soul and all.. then by go for it. Balls to the wall. Just do it.. but please be honest with everyone involved, be kind, and try not to gross the rest of us out. Please and thank you.

    This is statistically winning at life. It doesn't happen all the time. Just sayin'

    I recommend Shel Silverstien's 'The Missing Piece Meets the Big O'.

    Oh! & Try not to confuse "burning soul" with "burning nether regions." (There may be a combo..) I mean in the metaphorical sense of course. If you *really* have burning nether regions you may want to call a doctor!

    Sorry for the bad joke! 😛

    • Loved your comment. I especially like your point that within us are many selves. And the nether discussion was entertaining. We seemed to get on a strand discussing why someone should love or the nobility or morality of love. This doesn’t interest me. I am of the same opinion as most that the components of Love are a wonderful enigma that we can’t explain. The one piece that I would question in this same vein is the idea that a good or close to perfect soul mate would be a reflection of ourselves. You know the old saying that “opposites attract”? I enjoy a woman that mocks some of my deeper thoughts or ideas just as I enjoy returning the favor. I don’t neccessarily want a female version of myself (what a nightmare).

      I think several people have struggled with a key point I am trying to make via the myth of the perfect soul mate presented in Plato’s Symposium. Let me attempt to clear it up. Say you have lived in Seattle all your life and never been out of the city limits. One day, you decide to get off your ass and visit Portland. Wow…you decide that you love Portland more than Seattle. So, you decide to move to Portland. Now you think you have found the perfect city to live out your life. But again, you decide to get off your ass and visit Paris. Your world is suddenly rocked. Should you stay in Portland or move to Paris? Notice that in all these examples the cities don’t come to you. My point is we may never find or know if we have found our favorite city. And therefore, love, is on the whole, merely a decision based on limited time and space and always at risk of being over-thrown either from within (when we fail to keep the fire roaring), or from without (meeting someone that is a better fit). Eventually, we just settle in a city and don’t go traveling.

      And I think Dragonstrand brought up a great point. Love is indeed for the young. Middle age may still have a chance, but beyond that it becomes a distasteful comedy (65 year old rich man with a 25 year-old gem).

      • I thought the reflection thing might come up. It could also work the other way, seeking what we lack. Basically we want to be complimented and fulfilled. Nothing will stay the same; that part is always futile.. just the cyclic nature of life. Like,’The Wheel of Fortune’. It’s all where we are on the wheel, one day up, another down..and on and on. But would we really want it to stay the same? Change is what makes life interesting. Keeps us on our toes..

        Engaging convo, TC!

  9. Very refreshing and also leaves me in a state of stupefaction. “Of course this topic could explode into an entire book…” – hey, why not? I will surely be first in line for it.

    • I am glad you enjoyed. I am always happy when the comment section expands upon the limitations of the original post. I think Fountains might write the book so both you and I can get in line 😀

  10. Oh please, I will never refer to myself as a dry sack of bones and if we ever meet, I shall kick you in the shins. Our only reference to dry sack should be sherry. Honestly.

  11. I’m just getting around to reading some of your comments. I find you slightly jaded young man and am going to buy you a copy of Cocoon, along with Hot Tub Time Machine.

    • 😀

      Jaded indeed. I am not young…I am beginning purgatory…the point where youth fades and decomposition and decay begins….but you can kick me whereever you like…I still have some padding on the ass so perhaps that would be the best spot 😉

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