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Gareth is determined to find me a girlfriend, and while his virtual efforts are much appreciated, I’m left wondering what love actually is, and what it means. It’s never been my privilege to be in love with someone in the modern sense, and so its an emotion that I don’t understand. From what I see of it, it seems to be some sort of bewildering irrationality, an inner compulsion to… something… that people seem driven to.

My more cynical friends describe it as merely compatibility. It’s realizing that you have someone that you are able to adapt to and live with, and that you can offer them support and they can offer it to you. That you enjoy their presence, and they yours. But there’s no mystique or magic attached to it beyond this. Its a very granular thing, not to be falsely cast at any higher level. It seems to me that this is some sort of friends with benefits argument instead of what should be described by the loaded word ‘love’. We don’t bandy it around trivially when talking about people, yet this definition of it seems to be trivial.

At any rate the part of me that is a romantic, cannot, does not, accept this rationalization. It reduces what ought to be profound and important into triviality. Life is trivial enough I find, without trivialising the few instances when it attains magical proportions. I do accept that the compatibility is an important part of love, its a fundamental part of it if it has any hope of success, but its not limited to that. Compatibility is the big circle, in which the little circle of love resides.

My own view is that there has to be more to love, love must be something greater more powerful more profound. How it achieves this place or positioning I know not. I suspect that I might have a highly idealized view of something that I don’t claim to have experienced in any depth. Maybe that makes me the wrong person to write about it at all, my ideal getting in the way of accepting the practical nature of the world. Too many bad movies and romantic endings. Perfect people, living Perfect lives that go on Happily Ever After, are not the best place to understand the real life world that we live in.

In the end I’m left with one thought, which is that I want it to be the idealized way, and that it should be that way. The ideal should be what you are striving, trying, aiming to achieve. You may not get there, the nature of practicality may prevent you from achieving what is an ideal form. Time and circumstances may change, demanding new and altered response. In the end though the achievable ideal is what I want to believe:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring barque,
Whose worth’s unknown although his height be taken.
Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

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One Comment

    • Anonymous
    • Posted May 15, 2005 at 3:15 am
    • Permalink

    I’m in a similar place when it comes to love, but, like you, I wont accept that love doesnt exist. I may not have experienced it in the romantic sense, but I have watched people who have. I have seen it change lives. It *is* something magical.

    In our world where science must explain everything, Love sits uncomfortably with us.

    When people are in love, things are not perfect… but it makes imperfections shrink before it… it provides a new perspective – and who’s to say that perspective is wrong?

    – James


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