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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Let's talk

Sorry, crazy 10-hour days at work, plus school and not doing homework have left Nathan a bit lacking in the time department. However, we are known as Weekend Philosophers for a reason - because I used to work long hours, thus could only post on the weekend...seems so familiar looking back now.

I'm glad you picked up on the topic of the hopeless romantic because it is clearly one that we can dive much deeper into, a lot of meet to that one. That's not to say that emotion manipulation by part of Hollywood is any topic to scoff at, the number of people who tuned in to Grey's Anatomy only to cry for two hours is beyond me. I'm naturally a cold person, don't make many attachments and this'll probably come up in the romantics talk in a second, but in this case, I make even fewer attachments to fictional characters with fictional problems (I often frustrate Tori by saying, "(s)he'll be fine" in response to anyone being murdered in a horror movie).

Anyways, moving on to the topic at hand...the hopeless romantic. Now, being a hopeless romantic sucks and it's all in the name - it's hopeless. We're looking for some crazy concept which probably isn't out there. We are so drawn to this perfect picture of love that we have in our minds, even though we've seen no evidence (at least I haven't) is real life where it works out the way we see it working, but we try nonetheless. There's absolutely no logic in it at all, and myself, being a logical person, can't stand it when I find myself going into these bizarre fantasies or flights of fancy where this kind of thing does exist. What's more, is that when we're identified as romantics, there comes this expectation for over-the-top romantic actions and I don't know about you, but it's just not there for me. It's not that I don't want to hold up my boombox outside your window or whatever, it's simply that I don't want to cross that line. I've experienced enough backlash to my romantic gestures that I know that there is this clear line between sweet and endearing versus kind of creepy. I've learned now that when a girl withdraws or shows disinterest, I just shut it down completely and wait for them to come back because it seems whenever I try to fix it myself, I only make matters worse. That could just be me sucking at this game, not sure. And the whole thing is that we're fulfilling all these self-prophecies because we see heartbreak to be almost as romantic as love itself. A great movie, and it's possibly in the book as well, I forget (High Fidelity) asked the question - am I sad because I listen to pop music or do I listen to pop music because I'm sad? Think about it - most songs are either about love, or love-lost, so we have this great relationship with the concept of being this pitiful, heartbroken soul. We think to have loved and lost is a great personal achievement, like we accomplished something by fucking up a possibly great relationship, and we kind of build off of that because it's honestly easier to be alone than it is to be with a person, and then we can wear this badge of honor that it didn't work out but I really care for her.

Then there's this whole concept of love, what's that about anyways? If I were asked to define love, I would be at a loss for words. That being said, I know that to the best of my perceptions of it, I love two people in the sense that I think I'm supposed to - Tori, my wife and Josh, my best friend. I like plenty of people a lot, a like plenty of people a little and I hate a whole bunch of people, but there you have it. There is family and there is family love, and I love my family in that's almost a guilty love, where I feel like they have to love me because I'm their son/brother, etc and thus it would be very easy to resent those feelings, then pass that resentment onto the person...doesn't happen in my family, that resentment clearly goes elsewhere or into more subtle passive-aggressive behavior, but it's no wonder most families are off the wall.

Marriage, an extended definition of family, is the same thing. It completely defines logic that a legal document is needed to signify love. That being said, I'm married and I couldn't be happier with my decision to do-so. I always said growing up that marriage was unnecessary, if someone loves you and you love them, then stay together - don't make a piece of paper tell you to stay. However, when I met Tori, I had to marry her. There was probably a thought in my brain that said, "lock that down, don't let it get away because you're likely to fuck up soon" and I have no way of telling if any number of fuck-ups between then and now would have caused her to leave permanently had we not been married. It would be very easy for me to take that paranoid approach and then loath the marriage certificate for keeping her here when she wanted to leave, as that's my biggest fear, but I do my best not to over-analyze things. I find that my problem in most relationships, that I over-analyze every interaction, every little hint that may or may not be intentional or even subconscious indications of one's true feelings. I think this is another habit of the hopeless romantic which leads to our downfall in most relationships, we rarely let things take a natural approach and feel we need to force things to go the way our minds tell us they should.

Back to love though, is the concept of love as it is sold to us by greeting cards and TV shows and crappy romance novels a complete myth? We all grew up hearing these fairy tales where everyone lives happily ever after, but is this ever realistic? Obviously, happy ever after is a myth, there's no question about that. It would be impossible for two people to grow and mature at the same rate over an extended period of time. If you met the 'love of your life' at ninety-two and then both of you died the next day, congrats - you're the first couple to never have a fight - for the rest of us, however, that damage control is crucial. Then we have that concept that there is one person out there for you, and that's bogus beyond bogus. I'm in the belief that any two people can get along in the right circumstances, either through just common niceties to get through a conversation or project at work, so just meeting someone at the right time and place in order to make that connection over a single common interest and bonding with that. That ability to make almost instantaneous bonds with others is one of the things that make humans so unique, that we can 'love' and personify and attach to almost anything. At some point in your life, you likely rooted for a talking toaster. I'm just saying. So if everything we're sold about love is a myth, is the whole thing? Is this a trained 'emotion' I'm told I have by years of conditioning? Is it possible we'll ever know the truth?

I recently listened to an interview with a former nun who was discussing the concept of God. Too often, people attempt to personify God as a supreme being or try to assign God a he or she pronoun, thus bringing the immortal more down to our understanding, however - she said - God is more of a concept, a thought of something too great for us to perceive (forest through the trees, type thing). Is love this way too? Is love a formulaic expression that we've taught ourselves to validate sexual impulses or is love something bigger, something grander than we can truly conceive or even experience in it's full sense?

That's enough for tonight. Just to conclude, all of us hopeless romantics are doomed, but we probably wouldn't want it either other way as the heartbreak validates our need for romance. Thoughts?

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