Firstly, Happy New Year! It’s once again taken me months to write another post, my writing habits are snail-like in their qualities, but I’ll have that novel written by the ripe old age of 1,000 I’m sure.
Secondly, please pardon me, Descartes, I’m not on any account making a mockery of your theories with my title, or aiming to start a debate on your modern philosophy (of intelligence as the foundation of human existence—read Meditations on First Philosophy). My writing below will have little to do with your revolutionary and dogma-breaking work¹ as what follows basically takes a step back to the complacency of the irrational… but I’m nonetheless going to, somewhat naively, propose that Love is fundamental in ensuring human existence thrives. What?! Yep, without it we may have possibly wiped each other and ourselves out long ago, either by complete anarchy or a sudden worldwide inability to procreate.
I can almost hear some groaning under the weight of the word L.O.V.E. Haven’t we had enough of this global idiosyncrasy, sorry I mean ideology, smacked across our face like a soggy local newspaper not worth the energy to read? From the multitude of texts, Hollywood romances and monotonous sitcoms, to hypocritical religious doctrines which teach one thing and act out another, Love and all the hyperbole and false promises it generates is perpetually fed into our existence. It’s a wonder we’re not all jaded and treat one another with distrustful cynicism. What’s the big deal anyway? What is it about this idea, emotion, feeling, fantasy (?) that causes such an array of responses in the human psyche? Well, I’m going to explore the theme here and sincerely hope I don’t induce vomit-my-last-meal type reactions to it. In short, after many years of somewhat sociopath consideration on why people are so hell-bent on intimacy (then, I honestly couldn’t think of anything worse than someone bursting into my safeguarded personal bubble at regular intervals), I’ve finally grown to realise it’s something seriously worth fighting for.
Despite my Kantian tendencies I’m still a dreamer. As a child I pictured my prince charming falling desperately in Love with me and we’d drive off together toward the amber sunset in a red-hot Ferrari. I wasn’t a complete idiot, I knew horseback wasn’t a likely option. But I outgrew that idea as I watched the tragedies of the world unfold before my fading-childhood eyes, and whatever I had thought of Love faded with it. Of course there are two different types of Love: the platonic kind that you feel for your family, friends and the Universe if you’re one of those wonderful baggage-free and altruistic people, and the romantic kind reserved for that special person—or special 20 depending on the type of personality you are—that makes your heart flutter and that you want to persistently shag the pants off (granted that desire fades in time, but honestly, that’s not a bad thing, don’t give up on anyone because they don’t instil the type of reaction in you that your imaginary lover does). However, of the latter romantic kind there can be a fine line between Love and hate, think ‘crime passionnel’ which I barely understand in people apart from in the fictional characters in my head—every story needs a good plot-driver after all. And it’s because of this hate, not always due to opposing passions (but then again maybe that’s where all hatred stems from), that makes Love so essential and profound in the lives of humans and our survival. If it’s our conscious emotional behaviour that separates us from the automation of animals as many philosophers would infer, and our ability to feel a kind of Love different from the chemical kind that protects our young and, as carnivores, stops us from eating them (gross, read that somewhere but apologies I can’t remember where—possibly not true), then this behaviour instigates other emotions and moods detrimental to our existence like greed, jealousy and depression, that opposes the intrinsic nature of the human resolve to live.
Anyway, I digress a little.
I have no delusions that people will agree with everything I write, but really, if some individual’s survival instincts fall prey to the degenerative emotional drivers that encourage the destruction of our planet, victimisation of the weak and negligence of our fundamental will to live, then Love is the combatant on our side. And loving yourself is the number one place to begin exercising this. And I don’t mean by looking after number one in a way that see’s you framing your colleague so you get that promotion and raise to finally buy the espresso machine you’ve coveted for so long, or masturbating three times a day because “Yo! No one does it like I do”, that’s not self-love. But I don’t need to explain that. Love yourself so you can truly Love others. That will make a difference. And despite the shrill warning cries from the frightened, don’t be afraid to let go and fall in Love either, and if your heart gets broken, cry (that’s ok), grieve, and then get over it and regroup. Seriously. You’re better than that. I can only speak for myself by saying it’s so damn liberating to know with time, resolve and the shamelessness to express Love, you can get past any of Life’s tragedies no matter how big or small.
Much Love (of course).
Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes
¹Read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now for a new perspective on thought identity