...On the subject of love, it feels foolish, almost adolescent to be attempting to philosophize on such a subject, for there are as many kinds of love as there are stars in the sky. The romantic in me beckons me, calls out for the freedom of expression, to speak of sunsets and waterfalls and lilies. The philosopher (atop his ivory tower, of course) largely ignores his appeals to the values of Beauty and Truth, leaving him to his Promethean punishment for his only act of Good - that is, in illuminating the tedious and squalid life of the philosopher by bringing the fire of hope and happiness.
Nevertheless, I suppose that some words should be said on the subject, for such a grudging compromise will satisfy both - the poet and philosopher joined together in a harmonious union of wordplay and thought. I will not claim that my words are Truth, in sheer pubescent fashion, but that what I have expressed here rings as truth in the context of my experience. Thus I write.
What is love?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4
An ineffable force; that which grants us the superhuman, nay, divine capability to transcend our own existences for the good of another. For the love of God is the love of Being-Itself, and so the mere fact of our finite existence is proof of love's infinite existence. Thus we find love everywhere, for it is the foundation of our lives.
What is love?
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps from the palate teeth to tap, at three, on the the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
A platitudinous word
that serves only to mask our perverse obsession with the Other, and how only It can satisfy the Self. For the sin of men is derived from pride
, from the terror of loneliness and the conviction
that we can escape such an abyss. Thus we find love nowhere, for we confuse it with the madness of escape.
What is love?
The house rose from its ashes and I sailed on my love of Delgadina with an intensity and happiness I had never known in my former life. Thanks to her I confronted my inner self for the first time as my ninetieth year went by. I discovered that my obsession for having each thing in the right place, each subject at the right time, each word in the right style, was not the well-deserved reward of an ordered mind but just the opposite: a complete system of pretense invented by me to hide the disorder of my nature. I discovered that I am not disciplined out of virtue but as a reaction to my negligence, that I appear generous in order to conceal my meanness, that I pass myself off as prudent because I am evil-minded, that I am conciliatory in order not to succumb to my repressed rage, that I am punctual only to hide how little I care about other people's time. I learned, in short, that love is not a condition of the spirit but a sign of the zodiac.
I became another man. I tried to reread the classics that had guided me in adolescence, and I could not bear them. I buried myself in the romantic writings I had repudiated when my mother tried to impose them on me with a heavy hand, and in them I became aware that the invincible power that has moved the world is unrequited, not happy, love.
Memories of My Melancholy Whores, Gabriel García Márquez
A simple reflection of the state of our condition; that which embraces the dialectical play between I-and-Thou - always immanent, but ever transcendent; always between but never entirely encompassed; always now, but also then and forever. Thus we find love in the here and now, as mirrors of our destinies, of our eternities.
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