Friday, April 17, 2009

Amor Vincit Omnia


RenĂ© Magritte, The Lovers   I have always been inclined to Romanticism.  Daydreaming and child-like enthusiasm are hallmarks of my character.  I was always shy and bashful around girls but felt a kinship and a sympathy with them I did not share with the boys.  They seemed more right-headed and just.  And the fact that many of them hated sports as I did put them high in my esteem.

I was too emotionally preoccupied in high school to dare consider courting one, but naively believed that, if I merely treated them kindly they would, one day, realize I was a good an honorable man and beat a path to my door.  What fools we are in youth!

As I grew older, and the reality of just how truly isolated we really are began to press upon my consciousness, I began a series of relationships, each doomed to failure.  Incompatibility was the main reason.  Either too old or too young, and neither sharing my vision of the world.

With the discovery that I could no longer hold on to the myths of religion, I had to abandon the solace of those pleasing myths.  When one first begins to reason it is inevitable there will be a stripping away of illusions.  Mostly this liberated me.  I never felt dependent upon the religion of my childhood so there was no sense of loss, largely because I never really believed in the first place.  However, I did feel another sense of loss, the departure of my ideal of true love, the thought that there is someone made to love us and, we in turn, to love them.  At last I felt a twinge of pain.  Was all this empty magic too?

For many years, I hesitated to accept this gnawing thought.  Love is the last holy thing we surrender to knowledge.  I finally became so consumed in finding an answer I began to dedicate all of my energies to reflect upon one.  Then, one day while ruminating in the shower (excellent place for thinking by the way), and troubling myself with the implications of Existentialist freedom, it came to me in a flash so much like that cliche of love at first sight.

It is precisely because there is no god that it is up to us to give meaning and make real those abstract things: virtue, justice, joy, but above all, love.  Like a romance version of Kant's Categorical Imperative, we must live the life we wish to see reflected in the world.

The task then became fairly straight forward for every lonely soul: Never give up.