12.6.11

Love (in the Positive)

Pivoting from the previous post, as soon as I dismiss the romantic notion, I'm bound to restore it. For however much I try to rid myself the sentimental baggage, I seek Love. The Love those romantics connote as completion, a fulfillment of the desire that cries out from the ever clichéd depths of my soul.

But alongside this desire, still at the core of my being, sits a doubt, hard and unmoving. My doubt says that this Love is fairy-tale claptrap, impossible to me and falsely indulged by others. Like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or the search for the philosopher's stone—only myth and legend pretense there truth here. And I, meanwhile, in relationship after relationship, push the Sisyphean stone hillside up only to watch it fall down again, again, and again.

Yet, if there's one dynamic I've essayed to invest in myself (and share with the world), it's the splendor of myth and legend. The more beautifully outrageous a story, I've trained my ears to hear its greater hold on truth. The more boring and banal an event, the more it's like to be deaf to a memory blessed with finite capacity. Thus, for this Don Quixote, the very impossibility of Love becomes its plausibility and, in fact, necessity.

But this necessity suggests overdetermination. Who is the hero who doesn't get his girl? The scope for play and freedom which is at the very heart of making Love is constricted, bound without a safe word.

However, the overdetermination often works the other way when held alongside personal experience of Love lost and found—the first Love, the experience and expectation that haunts us for the remainder of the Loves we find. It also provides the template for the heartbreak that we know now to be inevitable, a heartbreak whose resonance echoes through every facet of our being as we are ever always stitching the scattered pieces of life back into some vaguely coherent whole.

The failure of the first Love is the original sin of Love. It is the primordial falling out that both is and is not your fault. It is, as what relationship isn't? And it isn't to the reality that you can only take so much responsibility for the past, for it's difficult to truly sin in ignorance (as Plato suggests and Kierkegaard contests).

Original sin likewise, what responsibility can we reasonably take for the actions of our archetypal ancestors? On the other hand, who hasn't found that moment of self-awareness that Desire and Care are more often than not in conflict. So ended the innocence of childhood. For this lesson was only learned when fulfilling your Desire caused pain to someone you Cared for.

Two keys stand out in this analogy: Humility and Redemption.

For what is self-awareness in the [repetitious] failure of first Love but the humble knowledge that your Care for your Lover is always at risk to fall to your Desire for yourself. This humble doubt lodges itself in the heart, whether as a seed or as a nightmare, but there now it stares, confronts, and questions you.

As a nightmare, I need not elaborate on the psychologies of repression.

As a seed, it promises the path of redemption: the time when Care triumphs over Desire, if not decisively, at least certainly through all the daily battles that define life.

To George Herbert, and the humility with which we must approach Love after all our little infamies:

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
              Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
              From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
              If I lack'd any thing.

A guest, I answer'd, worth to be here:
              Love said, you shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
              I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
              Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
              Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
              My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
              So I did sit and eat.

1 comment:

Lorena N said...

This gave me many things I needed right now; probably not as extreme as its companion post, but that's part of what makes the previous true. also, the blog está cool.