Now, something a little more personal compared to my last post.
I also apologize for the long gap between my two posts. Things just kind of got in the way–in a good way, if you catch my drift. Might share more about my life in the coming posts but now, I am simply going to share some thoughts about love, my non-existent love life and this photo of my parents during my half-brother’s wedding in Tagaytay Highlands.
It is February and love is in the air. When I was my high school paper’s Features Editor, I read an audition paper talking about Valentines’ Day as S.A.D., i.e., Single Awareness Day for the lonely ones (like me). That was the first time I ever heard Valentine’s day called as such!
When you’ve been single for as long as I have (since birth), you begin having thoughts along the lines of “What the heck is wrong with me?”, “Am I that ugly? Or unapproachable? Or intimidating?”. Or maybe that’s just me. I was stuck in this gooey state of longing for someone I can just always hug and adore the wits out of and bitterness at having no permanent companion slash hug buddy, but one good thing that came up during this month was my realization about what this blog should be best filled with! It’s not really so far from what I originally thought of but this helped make a jumping board for my ideas. Behold:
Behold the almost hackneyed, mushy, but still beautiful VERB called love.
Let me try to make this idea fresh to you again by inserting here two different ideas from my Professor in Philosophy, Bernardo Caslib and from one of the most charming writers in contemporary Philippine literature, Mr. Carljoe Javier.
My professor is working on his thesis about the Philosophy of Love and Sex. From his bonus lectures, I gathered how he is contemplating the WHY of love rather than what it is. From different fields of the social and hard sciences, there is enough evidence that love does exist and it is generally viewed as something beneficial. So now we can contemplate the reason it exists! Why do humans love?
According to Plato, we “love because of beauty.” The cause of love is to immortalize beauty, “the good”. When we love, we desire to possess beauty for ourselves for eternity. Loving is giving birth in beauty, giving birth in terms of the body and the soul. Physically, this is the cause of our reproduction and desire for beautiful bodies. Eventually we move up this “scale of love” and discover the beauty of souls, beauty of customs and ideas. On the other hand, being pregnant in the soul means exercising wisdom, moderation and justice. For the big three of ancient philosophy, namely, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, virtue is the excellence of function. It basically means fulfilling your purpose.
In not so philosophy-heavy words, we love because we desire beauty, in body and in soul. We want to be beautiful, whatever that means. And to be honest, I still do not perfectly understand all of this, but what I get from it is that we love because we want to be better! It all seems so selfish, but I think it is still true.
Delving into the deeper realm of metaphysics, there is something really interesting about the way humans are wired, which we also talked about in my Geography course. It seems that human beings are never satisfied. We always want more, which is why consumerism and the economy survives. We have all these “wants” we’ve turned into “needs”. And perhaps, when we love, we seek to fill in that void of emptiness that seems impossible to fill. No matter if that love is love for food, or love for someone else, or love of God, or love of dancing, we love because we seek to be complete, or to be better.
After talking about all the “WHY’S” of love, let’s move on to the HOW of love which is the second great idea I wanted to talk about. I read about this in Carljoe Javier‘s little essay called “The Grammar of Love”, which can be found in “Wagas”, a book edited by my Philosophy professor and my previous English professor, Ms. Liway Ruizo.
“‘What is love?’ ths slam book asks, and thus is framed, in our formative years, our approach to and perception of it. In asking what it is we find ourselves describing it, quantifying it….
The problem is we treat love like a noun. Notice that when asked, we find ourselves describing love. We use adjectives like kind, forgiving, everlasting, magical, and unconditional….
We treat it like a possession….We begin to apply ever-increasing pressures, when in certain relationships; because we believe that we are securing love building love, preparing that love to be thrust into the future….
We ask the ones we love, ‘How much do you love me?’ as if it were something that could be measured, as if we could employ a system that we could subject love to….
But it’s not the what or the how much of it that matters, but rather the how. This is an insight offered up by Daniel Handler in his novel Adverbs….
Love is a verb….And loving is an act that must be committed, repeated, and sustained. Love, as do all actions, exists not in the past but in the present. This means that when you love someone, you are loving them in the precise moment that you say it and in the specific acts that you do in the present to express said love.
…In an act of love time dilates and we are, through loving, able to expand the universe, making it seem as if this one moment were a moment that could be held and stretched across time.…
Performing acts of love allows us to expand our hearts, our selves, and the entire universe. The act of loving allows us to connect, to transcend physical barriers and emotional turmoil. And in this we create a space in the universe, wholly our own, and shared only with the person we share this creation with. And so it’s never a matter of finding, capturing and containing love. But rather it’s a matter of making love. It’s not something that we have, it’s something that we do. When we love, we should love not because of our pasts, or what we think is our future, but because we love that person in the present, and this present, through love, stretches out for as far as we can keep loving.”
I would like to add a sort of Platonic dualism to this concept though. Love is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, I believe it is patient passion, love is relentless. However, the actualization of love is not in it’s description, but rather in it’s practice. In order to be understood, love must be done.
That is why, in this blog, I want to explore love mainly in two ways: LOVE IN THEORY (as a noun) and LOVE IN PRACTICE (as a verb).
“Love in Theory” will include speculations and findings about love in the realm of the social sciences, literature and religion. Kind of like this post! This section will talk about love as a noun, it will deal with describing love, exploring what love is.
On the other hand, “Love in Practice” will contain things more like in the previous post about that interview with the amazing gay couple who’ve been together for almost 60 years. This section will contain love as practiced in friendship, in family, towards my main interests and hobbies like dancing, films, books and music. That means, I can post stuff that I am actively loving at the present, sharing with you good music, good books, good films or good lessons from strangers!
However, I do understand that these two parts of love overlap and seem to be kind of like the inseparable yin and yang of Daoism. One cannot exist without the other. But then again this distinction (I hope) will help organize all my posts in the blog and make it easier to understand the different categories inside it.
How else can we live but to love?
Let me leave you with a book spine poem from one of my favorite blogs in the cyberspace!
A working theory of love by Maria Popova from brainpickings.org