Monday, June 24, 2013

Are We Ever Really In Love?

I don't mean to digress from my usual discussions here.  I did go on a holiday for a week in Las Vegas.  I found all the scantily clad female staff at the hotel quite distracting.  In all fairness, there really is something to this covering-up women thing in Muslim countries.  For instance, when I hanging out at the pool, trying to make a phone call or swim with my family in the pool, I really couldn't help but see the private parts of women barely covered.

Now I would be the last person to complain about being in such a predicament.  After all, Las Vegas is such a unique place - something of a 'fantasy world.'  I don't even know why we go there so often.  I think part of it has to with the fact it is such a short flight from here to there. 

I find living in my current city near Seattle, Washington quite 'monastic' by comparison.  I rarely see attractive women at all.  The lack of sunlight makes everyone look like they are recovering from chemotherapy.  There are no black women here so all my silly talk just leads to more silly talk.  I almost start believing that I really just 'like to talk to women.'

But then I started wondering.  Is there really such a thing as love?  I know this has been covered by greater thinkers and better writers than myself.  I grew up after all reading La Rochefoucauld in French lying in the sun for most of my life.  L'amour-propre est le plus grand de tous les flatteurs.

When you are young it seems 'deep' to admit that there is no love but self-love.  But when you get older, even self-love flies out the window. 

I love my wife - that's true.  I happen to have a very beautiful little world out here in the woods.   But the reality is that there is only so long that you can live with someone without coming to the awareness that love is a transaction.  It goes something like this.  If I entertain you, you will love me.  If I buy you things, you will love me.  But it's all the same.  In the end, you are just dancing in front of a mirror. 

So at the end of the day, after years and years of skirting the issue, you eventually dare to swim in the massive pool of indifference.  I think if you are too young, such a dip is deadly.  I mean, let's face it, if you are attractive and accessible, someone else will fancy you. 

I spent five days in Dallas on my own last month and that was the happiest five days of the last five years.  No wife, no kids - nothing.  I felt like me again.  Of course I was making silly talk.  But I am so good at it.  I am so good and gently steering conversation on to subjects of love and the meaning of existence with beautiful women.  It's so natural when that's what I am feeling.

My question though is whether that is all there is.  I mean, I've been there and charmed many a woman.  There's so beautiful and when they want you, it makes you feel beautiful and wanted.  But the reality is that when you are older, it is impossible to carry on innocently in these games.  Maybe that's why people drink (another odd fact about me - I avoid alcohol). 

I know it won't mean anything to anyone reading this, but I have reached a certain age with a pure soul.  Again, I know it sounds stupid.  No one talks like that any more.  But there is something to gazing longingly at beauty with a pure heart.  As I said it sounds so stupid.  I think if you have been a romantic person - and you have half a brain - you get to the halfway point in your life and you know - there is no such thing as love beyond self-love. 

There's nothing you can do to make someone better.  There's nothing you can do to free someone, to make them anything but worse.  All the things they tell you on television shows and popular books and magazines is a lie.  Love is such an awkward thing.  There really is only the lover and the loved and then in the end, someone has to take control and the other person is left to trust. 

It makes the world seem fair and reasonable when we believe all the stories we hear about men and woman who wickedly abused that trust.  But the reality is that I don't believe that all the people that 'let someone down' were really bad.  It's just that things are never meant to work out for true love.  The reality is that the relationships which last are those insulated from any disappointment because the passions have all dried up.

Most people don't know this but there was a great deal more variety in monastic life than is generally recognized.  It isn't just some guy sitting in a room by himself.  There is a great deal of archaeological evidence to suggest that early Christian monks lived in pairs.  While it is little consolation for the unhappily married, perhaps God wants us all to be alone together with a significant other.  The hard part is coming around to accept it. 

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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