- We live in an era of romanticism. You hear it everywhere and in the most random places ,maybe you’re waiting in line and you hear a Jacques Brel song or maybe you’re at the dentist’s and you lock eyes with a beautiful woman. Movies and books are all talking about it too. Aphorisms about love and heartbreak unknowingly seeping into the convolutions of our brains and echoing through our mouths absent-mindedly. And we’re all influenced by it. In one way or another. You may be a hopeless romantic with sentimental cravings who sees in every story a melodrama , and a fulfillment of a romantic destiny.Or you can be a cynic who is -just like george carlin said-a disappointed idealist. Romanticism is indeed a nice way to compensate maybe for an existential angst , sugarcoating every aspect of our lives , sweeping under the carpet a not so glamorous practicality. But it is also a dangerous thing. Because this dogma has actually convinced us that everyone of us has a soulmate waiting to be found, and once you meet this soulmate you would know. As if it was a prophecy of some sort. You would just know! And you two would have the most beautiful story ,acclaimed by the gods and you would live happily ever after. Now that’s a beautiful anecdote but also very far-fetched and improbable. Because for one thing, there is simply no evidence what so ever for this platonic idea about soulmates . And also because it is just wishful thinking and most likely would never happen to you or me. Romanticism is so full of such grandiose truisms that anything below that would be too unsatisfying for us. We would go around thinking that there must be something wrong with us or our partner. And we end up with high expectations that evade realistic alternatives. I believe that the way to dodge all that is conditionning oneself to give up the quest for the mythical "one" for he ,like Santa Claus, does not exist. It is about being more matter-of-fact and cerebral about our romantic experiences. I do not think this is pessimistic but rather therapeutic for it reconciles our expectations with our realities.
This text was inspired by Alain De Botton book "essays on love".