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First, some activities. A friend and I are struggling through… - Transience Divine
February 24th, 2007
01:17 am

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First, some activities.

A friend and I are struggling through Ulysses-- join in! We just started, and we're using a guidebook, a book of footnotes, and online resources to light the way. We meet to discuss the first 50 pages next Thursday.

The Salon is spawning a Film Group! Deep movies, bizarre movies, classic movies: the overarching theme is something like "films that make you think". The first movie will probably be Fantastic Planet, this Tuesday, February 27, at 8pm in MIT room 2-105. You should come watch, and tell me if you want the announcements! There's even a page to collect our movie recommendations-- go to http://existencia.org/salon/movies/ and add some!

I'm thinking of hosting another Rocky party on March 3! And I thought it'd be fun to run a cocktail bar there: what's your favorite drink?

Now, a little rant.

The world seems over-boiling with people searching for love-- yearning for it and dejected in their lack of it. To be clear, I mean a particular brand of love: significant-other love. There are few creations that have brought as much misery and personal confusion as that one.

I'm no different. I want a girlfriend too. I want someone to share my joy with. I want the sex. I want the cuddling. I want the warmth next to me when I'm asleep. It's not that I think love can't be fun and worthwhile, but it doesn't seem to do any of the things people want it to.

For example, love doesn't bring you happiness. Cathexis, sure, which can be fun the way a good night of drinking is, but is that happiness? Love intensifies emotions, and stresses them, but it can't make happiness out of thin air. And if it does, the result is a dynamic where you rely on (demand from?) the other person for the ingredients for your own happiness. It's a recipe for hurt.

Love can give you newfound reasons for living, but it does this by what it takes away, not by what it adds. People seem to imagine love like the divided creatures from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. They want to glom onto another person and somehow grow and find new security in shear mass. Love is desire, which is a radical lack, not a fulfillment. We love into our weaknesses, but using the object of our love to "fill up" our holes is the same recipe for hurt. All love can do for our deficiencies is reveal them to us (but this may be exactly love's most powerful gift).

Worst of all, people depend on each other for love. My teacher in philosophy said that all fights in relationships are because one party believes the other doesn't love "enough". Love is among the most fluid and unreliable of the emotions, and it's as different from on day to the next as it is different on the two sides of the relationship. Expecting anything of love, and drawing conclusions of what it should mean to the other person, is a sure way to kill it.

Current Music: With nothing to show but this brand new tattoo

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From:g_w_s
Date:February 24th, 2007 08:20 am (UTC)
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I don't expect things from love.. I expect things from people. Love is the word I use to describe the way other people can make me feel - warm, cared for, and wanting to do anything to give the other person the same feeling. Love doesn't bring me happiness - people do.

I see love as only an indication that there are other things going on.. Like a cough, when you have a cold. If someone is coughing or sneezing, you know that there are some complicated processes taking place inside their body as a result of their interaction with their environs. If a person is providing other things that lead to them being happy (or feeling the feelings one associates with love) - to a significant enough degree - they'll be experiencing something that they can only describe as the sensation of love and label it as such.

So, by that definition, love itself does not really exist and can neither add nor take away. To me, it represents a set of feelings. How do you know when you're in love?

Isn't it instinctive to want to bond with another human and depend on each other? When you are looking for something in other people, do you really look for love? or do you seek out companionship, trust, communication, and comfort? Humans are social animals.

song in my head: ["3am", matchbox 20]. "It's 3am; I must be lonely.."
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From:jrising
Date:February 24th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
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Love as a phenomenon, as a set of feelings, as a label for a behavior between two people is natural and great. A lot of people, however, will attribute more to that phenomenon than just the way if feels. And in part, I think they're right to do so: where there's the smoke of feelings of love, there tend to be all sorts of fires. The problems happen when people see the smoke and start acting the way they would around a wood-burning stove, and later realize that they're surrounded by a forest fire.
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From:g_w_s
Date:February 24th, 2007 08:29 am (UTC)
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Oh, and:

- jameson & ginger ale
- mojito
- gin & tonic (bombay sapphire)
- cosmo
- tequila sunrise
- long island iced tea
- whiskey sour
- margaritas (1800, triple sec, lime juice)

Mojitos are really fun to make. Sweet enough that most people like them, but they don't have to be so sweet that more seasoned drinkers dislike them. Buy some 151 and you would have a bunch of very silly people very quickly.. ;-) (Of course, punch with everclear would be even easier..)

You may wish to consider seeing if blacktart is around, with her shiny new bartending skills! I would also be more than happy to help mix if I'm around.
From:jessweis
Date:February 24th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
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mojitos! brilliant!!
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From:revolos55
Date:February 24th, 2007 09:08 am (UTC)
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See, I can get sex without romantic love, but I don't see the point in it. And I can get cathexis without romantic love, although I think my problem seems to get overly cathectic without rational hope of reciprocation.

Echoing g_w_s, I don't expect things of love, I expect things of people. Love seems to happen, all of a sudden, or gradually, whether you want it to or not. Love, to me, is more a state of being.

I suppose it isn't wise to expect the addition of a person into your life to solve all your problems. It's irrational to think any one person can do that, and it does set you up to get screwed if that person leaves.

Of course, all the rationalization in the world doesn't mean much to me when I'm in love. Reason and logic tend to get drowned out. *shrug* ;)

Like Spike said "I may be Love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
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From:richenza
Date:February 24th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
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Love seems to happen, all of a sudden, or gradually, whether you want it to or not. Love, to me, is more a state of being.

This is precisely how it happened to me. One day I just looked at Jack and realized I didn't want to do without him. There wasn't anything unusual about that day. I don't remember when it happened, just being surprised that it did. It felt like opening a box in the back of your closet and finding somthing you really liked that you'd misplaced.

Love is a weird summation of a lot of little things that add up to more than the sum of their parts.

How do I know my husband loves me? He gets up and makes me coffee. He washes the dishes. He pisses me off like no one else can. He cuts the dowel rods for me when I am stacking cake tiers, even though he hates being in the kitchen when I am making wedding cakes. He does my laundry. He hides my stuff in the back of closets when he's on a "cleaning" spree. He helps me find it when I get pissed off because it's missing. He's happier to see me than a retriever puppy.

How do I know I love him? I make dinner. I snuggle. I pick up his dirty socks which he leaves fucking everywhere. I make peace between him and his insane family. I arrange his social life so that he actually goes out and sees his friends. I force "fun" upon him. (Jack's a workaholic, so fun must sneak up on him to have a chance.)

These are all just flags, though, that help me explain something essentially unexplainable.

I don't know that having him in my life solved all my problems. It solved some and made a few more. But I wouldn't trade him.
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From:g_w_s
Date:February 24th, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
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That's really sweet. I certainly hope he reads that!

I think that you should expect from love the things that can't otherwise be obtained. You shouldn't expect a complete answer to loneliness, insecurity, debt, a busy lifestyle, or any number of things you can probably think of that I can't right now. You should be able to solve any of these problems on your own - and though your partner will probably do their best to help you in any way they can, they can only help to guide you - but they may not even be able to do that adequately, because those personal skills don't have much correlation with the ability to love.

True, my special someone makes me feel less lonely - but before I met her, I had to solve my own problems relating to loneliness and poor friendships. That said, she has introduced me to lovely new friends and helped to accelerate some of the things I wanted to change - I find myself attracted to her intelligence and personal skills, which (though I try not to rely on) are a huge boon. I guess I shouldn't be going into details about what she has and hasn't done in such a public forum, but suffice it to say I wouldn't trade her either.
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From:g_w_s
Date:February 24th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
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Yay for Spike! I'm a fan.
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From:jrising
Date:February 24th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
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Reason and logic tend to get drowned out.

Emotions do an intricate dance with reason, but I think they're always holding hands-- it's just that sometimes they're standing so you can't see one of them. You can be so sad or angry that it blocks out all logic, but there's always a *reason* why you're sad or angry. By same token, love is still your choice-- not that it's under your "control", but it happens because of your reasons.

The exception is cathexis, because for that short time, you lose yourself and all your reasons. I *love* cathexis, but I don't think cathexis is love. It's like a roller-coaster: worth every cent to ride, as long as you don't get caught up in it enough to think it's real (because then it becomes real for you and you have a chance of falling out when the roller-coaster does a up-side-down loop).
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From:elctric_mayhem
Date:February 24th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
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Ulysses is the DENSEST TEXT EVER!!!!

I suffered through a portion of it in an undergrad course. Even the professor wouldnt subject us to the whole thing. Every sentence can be footnoted at least once to be a reference to something. It's so ridiculously and unnecessarily complicated it just made me want to throttle Joyce screaming "ok, we get it, youre very smart, now stop"
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From:jrising
Date:February 24th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
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I might want to throttle Joyce by the time we're done, but for now I'm enjoying the challange. A lot of people say Ulysses is greatest book in the English language, and I feel like I should be able to agree or disagree.
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From:girlygothic
Date:February 24th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
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The film group sounds fascinating, but I don't think I'd be able to make it in on weeknights (though maybe once in a while). I look foward to hearing about the movies though.

The cocktail bar sounds like a fun theme. I can make margaritas (slighly different recipe than gws) and white russians, and would be happy to mix either (maybe both) for the party. (Though margaritas can be a bit loud, what with smashing the ice. Maybe not the best choice for a late-night party.)

On love...

I find it truly bizarre that I read your post while the end of Love, Actually played on my TV in the background. It's a very interesting movie. Certainly, it does it's fair share of trying to spoon-feed the audience the Hollywood myth of happily-ever-after fairytale love. But it does also cover some of the not-so-happy sides of love.

Anyway, I agree with a lot of what you wrote. People who are looking for someone to fill the voids in their own selves aren't going to find what they're looking for. Yet there is that odd line between taking responsibility for your own happiness and craving companionship and all that comes with it.
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From:jrising
Date:February 24th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
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I'll send you the film announcements, and the day for future viewings might change. And I'll definitely have stuff for margaritas.

I don't mean to say that love isn't part of what can make a person happy, or that solid companionship is at odds with self-responsibility-- but I think certain kinds of love and conceptions of couple-hood can be horrible. Maybe the problem is companionship that acts like the people are in the same potato-sack, instead of companionship like two people holding hands.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 25th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC)
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Love as we think of it in popular culture is more like lust or infatuation, real love is NOT a feeling, but a decision. "Unconditional positive regard" A decision to look for the best in the other person and to try to help them to become their best self. Life is about relationships, if you're lucky you find some one to love who will love you back and then you can together grow to be your best selves. Love well.
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From:little_e_
Date:February 24th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
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In my experience, good love makes people happy. Bad love makes people unhappy.

You say relying on someone else for the ingredients of your own happiness like that's a bad thing. The way I see it, human beings are innately hard-wired to want to be in relationships, to be unhappy when not in relationships and happy while in relationships. That's why people will stay with their spouses even when that spouse is an abusive asshole. It's not a matter of being weak or bad or wrong to find delight in the company of another human being anymore than it is weak or bad or wrong to find delight in the company of books or movies or trees. There is nothing in this life which we make wholely on our own without the influence of others.

Structuring one's thoughts so that they rile against the very nature of humanity on the biological level will not get you anywhere productive. Humans need each other.
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From:jrising
Date:February 26th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
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I don't disagree that human need each other or need relationships. But I don't think that all relationships need to be, say, codependent. I think that most of the time, people can get what they need from relationships from many of their friendships. But suddenly when the label "couple" is attached to one of those relationships, too many people think they should be getting all of what they need from that one relationship... or that that one relationship can magically give them things that they can't get from any other kind of relationship.
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From:richenza
Date:February 26th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
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too many people think they should be getting all of what they need from that one relationship

I broke off an engagement with a guy who was like this. He eventually had stopped seeing all his other friends in favor of spending every waking moment with me. It was suffocating. Also it meant he got incensed when I wanted to go out with my other friends. After all, if he didn't need friends, why did I?

It was decidedly not healthy for either of us.

People do need other people. However, in addition to having a tendency toward being mated pairs, we're primarily "pack" animals.
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From:little_e_
Date:February 28th, 2007 12:28 am (UTC)
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That's a completley different issue. I've met very, very few people in my lifetime who were codependent in a bad way.
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