Monday, June 20, 2016

On Being Able to Love

The rational human being exists somewhere inbetween the matrimonial advertisers flaunting their caste and income and property, and the pathetic spectacle of Brock Turner, a swimmer and a student of an elite university, caught raping an unconcious woman. Being human is thus defined by our capacity to love, to fall in love as well as being loved, and to love well: Completely, committedly and unequivocally, transcending both our animal urges and middle class meekness, outside both the socially mandated and instinctively compulsive.

Being able to love is not about pleasure, but about creating happiness. It is not about possession, but about giving away. If you deeply love something, give it away - a wise man once said - and touche! being able to love is to able to give, to surrender oneself for the happiness of the other.

I remember my first moment of feeling in love. It was indeed a moment, specific and memorable. To be sure, it was a dream, etched in memory, permanently and not momentarily. It was an intense feeling of loss - someone I met then and knew I would never meet again - and that realisation, conjured up inside a customary mid-afternoon siesta on a hot afternoon, brought the feeling of love first to me. It remained - I can still imagine the room with windows closed, the darkness, that sense of helpness and whatever happened afterwards: I stepped out, to discover that a storm had set in outside, with the dark clouds and cool breeze, the smell of rains afar, and a radio playing a song, the pleadings of a lover to his desired, asking for forgiveness for neglect and forgetting!

Thus, Love and loss are intertwined in my mind, for this and other stories. Therefore, whether the idea of possession is central to love arise naturally: Is Love only a retrospective feeling that appear in absence of the loved, I ask myself. It may be an emotional residue, the after-effect of the real, an illusion once the moment had passed: A crazy thing! But this is perhaps because we use the word 'Love' with a very specific and narrow meaning - that of Romantic Love - a nineteenth century invention. Love as a feeling of presence, something that makes us come into being and makes us human, has a longer history, and, I shall argue, the essence of the love at a point of loss - that is what makes it different from desire! This love is our ability to think beyond ourselves and for others, and to be able to subject material considerations to a greater emotional one and to be defined by it.

This love is not crazy: It is reasonable. The acts arranged matrimony and drunken rape are crazy, because they, despite the calculating and opportunistic behaviour underpinning them, they are at odds with our human essence. Reason, as a word and expression, may have come to mean the pursuit of advantages, either material or sexual; but being able to give, without a promise of reciprocity, as in Love, is what keeps us going as a species, maintains our societies and ensures progress. This, rather than the dumb mediocrity or the mindless lust that define our present cultures, represents the deep reason that is the essence of our survival.

So, the greatest compliment that I can give to someone is that s/he is capable of love! There are many people I do meet who are in this category, but then, they are becoming rarer as the love they are capable of are often undermined by the cacophony of reason, the mindless rationalism that our popular culture celebrates (only to descend in the pathetic case of Brock Turner and others).

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