Thursday, February 28, 2013

Are break-ups a modern invention?

Love is something human kind has grappled with for thousands of years. But what about breakups? Before modern society two people didn't have to worry about divorce, legal separation, common law marriage, speed dating, and friends with benefits. A lot of our dating options, which are products of a 'progressive' age, have created new problems for us to deal with. Although our ancestors never dated as we do now, they had their share of unrequited love, lost love, and broken hearts.

A famous poem by Thomas Wyatt is about his love for Anne Boleyn which cannot be because she belongs to the King:
There is written her fair neck round about;
Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.
Or Edgar Allen Poe's Annabel Lee:
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee; 
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me, 
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams 
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling -my darling-my life and my bride, 
In the sepulchre there by the sea, 
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

A poem by Lord Byron (1788-1824):
They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee, 
Who knew thee too well;
Long, long shall I rue thee
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met

In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget, 
Thy spirt deceive, 
If I should meet thee
After long years, 
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears,

Our ancestors loved tragedies and heartfelt woeful poems, not because they are depressing. But because they touch on something very human. For all the modern marvels and wonders of the world the thing that most fascinates us is the good and the bad that comes with being a feeling and sensitive creature. All the intricacies in each civilization have always had the same themes. We can find a manuscript from a lost culture and find that it still resonates with us.

So, maybe our modern love problems aren't so modern after all. For the first time we CAN marry outside our class, race, and even gender. Just because we have the freedom to love doesn't mean we are free from the flip-side of love (rejection, hurt, broken hearts). The more we put our hearts out there the greater the chance we have for it to be thrown back at us. So, we can either accept the good and the bad with love or choose to not experience anything.

The famous saying, originally from Lord Tennyson's poem, in 1850 goes: 'Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all.'


Thursday, February 7, 2013

What is Love?

I had a strange thought today that people subscribe to their own love theories. Like in psychology, students are presented with many different theorists all believing they have the magic torch that encompasses all human behavior, disorder, thought, etc. Could people have their own developing or developed theories about what love is? That could help explain why there are so many different relationships in the world. Love has never truly been explained or let alone defined. But maybe that isn't what we should focus on but rather how each of us view love. 
What is wonderful about love is that all people can relate to the symptoms and feelings (jealously, butterflies, euphoria, giggles, light-headness, love blindness). Our anatomy professor tells us that love is just neurotransmitters being dumped into a synaptic cleft and sending a message along the next neuron. No matter what happens on a cellular level, having thoughts and feelings can't just be explained by neurochemistry. Because every individual interprets the message differently on a cognitive level. How a person feels about love, and more importantly, what a person believes about love shapes their life forever. 
But how I felt about love when I was sixteen is totally different to how I feel about love today. Does a person solidify a theory when they get married or does it continue to shift and shape? What about if love fails and a person is left alone? Does that person still believe the same things about love or are things turned on their head? Is love a compilation of all experiences or a focused beam in the present? 

I'm never the blogger to just ramble on without giving lists to sink my teeth in. I thought it would be fun to write down love 'theories' that I witness others subscribing to. 
       Some thoughts
Love is being vulnerable 
Love is when everything seems to shine just a little brighter 
Love is knowing you finally have something you don't want to lose 
Love is waking up and knowing they don't care about your morning breath
Love is somewhere between the bar and the bed
Love is having that one person who knows you completely 
Love is friendship plus bliss
Love is someone who makes you laugh and cry
Love is choosing a person to build a life together with
Love is always finding something new and exciting about each other
Love is intoxicating 
Love is an unspoken connection
Love is what the heart craves and the mind twists with
Love is realizing someone might be smarter than you
Love is seeing no flaws
Love is two people who never give up
Love is picking one and saying no to all others
Love is a partner to explore life with
Love is admitting that life is better with someone else 
Love is delighting in every part of another human being
Love is forgetting how life was without the other person
Love is something that makes us weak enough to enjoy and appreciate life
Love is the vibrations you feel when that person enters the room
Love is trusting that the other one loves you too
Love is not being afraid to be a complete dork
         The other ones
Love is experienced by the young and forgotten by the old
Love is a teenage whim 
Love is not strong enough to hold two people together
Love slowly moves onto another person
Love is lost and then found by someone else
Love is what you feel before you know everything about the person
Love is around long enough to produce more love monkeys 
Love is a dream with no guarantee 
Love is renting a new person every week
Love is a game everyone eventually loses 
Love is something invented by civilizations to keep everyone happy
Love was never meant to last a century
Love pretends to be more than just infatuation 
Love is what we label our primal instincts 
Love is what comes right before the horrible withdrawals 
Love devours years
Love always finds new ways of screwing you over
Love eventually gives up and moves somewhere else
Love finally accepts the cats
Love seems to abandon its strongest believers
Love leans over and whispers 'I'm fake'
Love is what sells products 

Hope my dark humor didn't offend you. What do you think is love?