Love, the science and essence of life.
“Where does the fault lie? In our Stars?” A puzzled boy asked his retired grand father, who was a physicist. “Or is it in the very space and time?..” he continued. “Why is it that it takes forever to see that someone’s good? And a jiffy to prove someone’s bad! Is time the culprit here? Is it the space that prevents two people being together emotionally or physically?”
“No!” the grandfather exclaimed, patting the boy on his shoulder. “The fault is neither in our Stars, nor in the space and time. It’s in our love, that weaves the very fabric of existence, love, which is the alpha and the Omega, the love, which is the journey and the destination.”
Love. The burden of multitude of connotations such a short word has to carry. That one word which hasn’t escaped from the ink of any writer, neither from the fluid thoughts of philosophers or from the Qawwalis sung by Sufi saints who are intoxicated by it.
As much as it tried to trickle away from the bright sunny day where hatred is wide spread, like those attempts of an inept prisoner who tries to escape from the prison, it finally got caught by the comforting moonlit night sky, under the blanket of sparkling stars, filled with the rosy aroma, where hands that are separated in the day came together, hearts that pumped vigorously are gravitated into solace and where raging sins, anger and protests are forgiven.
As I get to think about it, I think love is the only thing that can be predicated of anything and everything, in an Aristotelian categorical sense and it would still make sense. Love is blind, love is happiness, love is sadness, love is pain, love is joy, love is god, love is sex, love is blue, love is red, love is the space, love is the time, love is up, love is down.. and the list goes on. Amusing isn’t it?
There are an infinite things said about love, in all forms and in all tongues. But each one of it is unique. Stories of love aren’t cliché. Each one has its own history. An own emotion. Blood or rose, suffering or joy.
People often mistake the entity for its attributes or usage. This is a serious categorical error. People call love as blind or pain. Some call it life. Some as death or end. Which one of it is love? Wall is made of bricks but you can’t point to a particular brick and say it’s the wall. Wall suddenly pops out of a collection of bricks, like those people in fiction who pop into the existence from an extra dimension, from nowhere.
What is love? Does it exist? Where? In space and time? Or in our thought? Is it a thing in itself? Does it still exist without anyone? Metaphysics is the subject that deals with the questions of this sort. Let’s digress into the subject of ontology, that deals with what is there? Out there, not in our heads.
We need a scheme to decide what exists out there, don’t we? But unfortunately the only way we know what exists out there is through our senses which are shaped by the total existence again, which is a strange loop. We can’t remove the subjectivity completely as much as we wish, can we? But thanks to those evolutionary mechanisms we are are least in a position to question not only the love of the object, but the very love itself.
How about shaving? Does shaving exist out there? Independent of human thought? Think again, shaving, not the beard, not the razor, but the shaving itself. Why give such privileged position to love? Is love a process like shaving or an object? Or is it the subject?
People from antiquity pondered on such thoughts. Plato is always up for categorisation and I think that habit has been passed down to the future generations. The text, Symposium (Συμπόσιον) of plato concerns itself with love. The whole platonic school of thought about love started off from there. Plato categorises love into four types. Eros, storge, philia and ágape. Romantic love, parental love, love for friends and love of God.
Plato then reasons that Gods can’t love, since they can’t experience desires. Having failed to be the subjects of love, they then become the objects. They cast their love onto humans, who then give form to THEIR love. It’s one way projection, from divine to human, from infinity to finitude. Sort of a Stereographic projection that mathematicians worry about. Perhaps we are puppets controlled by the ultimate puppeteer? Who knows.
He then divides love into Vulgar and Divine Eros. Vulgar Eros is romantic love on a material plane which includes sex and possessions. The latter concerns itself with form, the underlying beauty, which requires us to see the seed in the tree and soul in the human. Platonic love, then he defines is the highest form of non-sexual love, that lets us transcend the materialism and gravitate towards the underlying beauty and form. Love that exist for its own sake. Would such a love be possible?
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – Shakespeare.
Is there beauty without an object to contain it? Isn’t it why we always need an object to express the hidden platonic forms? Sex, roses and multitude of other things to express love, throwing stones at others to express our anger and hate. When we throw stones at someone it’s not the stone that’s hitting the person and causing him pain but we would like to make the intangible idea of hatred commute from one place to the other. The same ideology underlying the idol worship. It’s easy to abstract out intangibles from tangibles.
It’s as if those intangible parasitic ideas fuelling us, to let their presence manifest. Is wood different from the desk? Stone from the sculpted statue? Love from the loved subjects? Yes and no. It’s in between the superposition of these dualities our humdrum routines exist. The tension between human desire to attain perfection in both materialistic and non materialistic planes.
Modernisation is an evil. It has injected mechanistic attitude into everything. What if tomorrow someone comes to you and tells you that your love is all an electrochemical phenomenon getting operated by a need to procreate and is installed in you by evolution? What if I tell you that Mona Lisa is nothing but a couple of ink strokes on a canvas? What if life is meaningless and we are just a bunch of electrons arranged in complex ways? How much so ever that may be true, I won’t buy it. People hope for finding meaning one day and they definitely expect that such a meaning is different from the aforementioned one.
But post-modern society with its self imposed time constraint swept all the efforts of finding such a meaning under the carpet and it is cost and benefit philosophy fuelled by insecurities that drives the chariot of our life. From family to relationships it’s all cost and benefit. Most of the those eternal commitments/adorations that one upload on the social media are as untrue as those commitments made by a politician before an election. We all know about those phone calls that come from the people after ages inquiring about our well being. Such inquiries are a neat packaging for an underlying help or favor they wish to put across.
Heart of everything from relationships to family is cost and benefit. Mostly. What should I do? What would I get? If one self-reflects, this so firmly instilled into our subconscious mind that it doesn’t meet the eye. We still speak about plato, share the quotes about love but continue to do cost and benefit. The tree of cost and benefit grows from the seed of insecurities, which also leak out into space and time. Insecurities of mind create insufficiencies in space and time and thereby leak out into every aspect of life. Nature isn’t miserly.
As much as it’s innate to an object to gravitate towards a heavier object, there’s a love field that introduces curvature which makes us gravitate towards each other. We can’t help it. But most of the times such gravitating happens due to insecurities. We end up scarring the other person in an attempt to fulfil our needs. What’s left after our insecurities are fulfilled? Nothing. Nada but break up or going ahead with someone else. Candle's purpose is done after the electricity comes back.
People would still like to sit in their insecurities. It’s one of those comforting corners that people tend to move towards when their house is on fire. They see the destruction happening, but can’t help. We love the person because the person comes with a set of benefits. Once they are exhausted person is, but a dead container. Love and marriage became more like choosing tomatoes in the market. This one over the other. And so is everything else. In the process of choosing and grading we lost respect for the individuality and forget to acknowledge the existence of living things.
Living things became entities with price and feature tags on them. Eat-ables, mate-ables and hate-ables. We still strive to understand Platonism and beauty with our very premises which are greatly flawed.
Love nevertheless drives our very existence. Love erases the identity. It’s like those neutron stars that scientists discovered which collided and disappeared to leave the signature of a black hole. Or those entangled pair of electrons that can’t be described individually. Love is a journey from me to we. From being to becoming, from subject to object. It’s love that made us discover the quarks and invent rockets. Love of a person or of a phenomenon.
There isn’t anything in the existence but love. Everything else is a contextual manifestation of it. Hate doesn’t exist but (pseudo)surfaces itself when one loves something more than the other. Platonic love doesn’t presuppose an exhaustive description of the features/specifications of the object. Love flows. Love is. For a river doesn’t look for the destination or path before flowing.
Fault is in our love. Boon is in our love.
Is love a question? Or an answer? Are we trying to answer the question or question the answer? The outcome or interpretation to that tangled loop is what we call as life. Three score and ten years. Or more. Good luck!
He prayeth best, who loveth best/Both man and bird and beast. He prayeth best, who loveth best/ All things both great and small; For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all. – Samuel Coleridge, the Rime of the ancient mariner.
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