Having touched its edges in so many of its aspects relative to my previous musings, I guess it is time clear up some things about the much maligned and mistaken empathetic ecstacy called love. As with most words, their dictionary definition is mere information about the word compared to the meaning in context with each instance of its use. So I’ll just launch right into it as if this was my word and my context.
Love is its own reward. Love is a kind of happiness arising from within one at realizing an inherent connection to and appreciation for something perceived that evokes regard equal or surpassing such regard for oneself. All the love lorn stories begin when such a beautiful personal revelation is used as an excuse for heaping expectations on the loved one: “Hello, I think you’re wonderful and I love you— you now have the onus of not disappointing my assumptions about you. And I won’t tell you what they are ‘til you upset me.” Anything resembling love is over before it begins.
Of all the aberrations love must suffer the worst is requirement for exclusivity that somehow glommed onto it — “Hello, I love you, but I am so insecure about my judgment and my ability to live without someone that you must promise to love only me so I can continue to trust you.” All love is star-crossed, there’s just so many stars being dimmed by so many promises, so many demands for them. Anything resembling love is over soon after it begins.
If there is any principle to love it would be the only principle I find to be my guide in all things dealing with other humans, the golden rule. Loving someone or treating them respectfully with the love and respect with which one wishes to be treated puts no demands on their requital or even recognition, nor can it be construed to deserve such reply. Love and use of the golden rule bestow as much honor upon oneself as the loved and respected, it is all win/win until someone tries to cash in — then anything resembling love is gonna cost ya.
And then there is the infamous, debilitating search for love that has distorted generations of perfectly wonderful people attempting to make themselves become, or at least appear to be lovable based on what they most envy at whatever age they begin the search for the right act, the right look to attract the kind they want to bring them love. The beginning of exclusivity in such found relationships requires rare honesty before intimacy or the slow, if ever revelation of the one behind the story, the make up, the act for fear of losing something won so deceitfully. If nothing resembling the candle of love burns within, the search can run the world out of matches.
Ah yes, then there is the mislabeling of other motivations with the name of love such as currency to afford addictions to sex, drugs, money, security, mastery, helplessness. Babies are treated coldly as a method of behavior modification as a lesson in earning the rights to share their pure love with someone. WTF.
"I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: 'The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair.' In these words he epitomized the history of the human race." -Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, and author (1872-1970)
My thirty year participation in a community of folks who when anniversary rolled around there was no where to turn without seeing and hugging someone I love as dearly as myself, every year. Until it began to get thinned out by Timbuk 3’s fame and their write up in Rolling Stone attracting tourists, groupies and thrill seekers to the bar it had always been and remained a place where the neighborhood residents and the university communications department had discovered — This is one of those places where the word is passable but one coined off of it would be perfectly precise; in this case “discovered” is imprecise since what they were discovering they were actually creating under the wise mentoring of the owner, Doug, (think Spider Robinson’s Callahan) so that rather than discover it we “disopen” it — so we had disopened to be a wonderful tribe of leaderless, heretical, equally unique individuals always toasting the entire presence with gratitude and high regard.
In any event, experiencing the entire history of that wonderful pub and sharing love in all the different forms it can take amongst free thinkers in open ended relationships, the only ones that paired off and still exist that way are the ones who either had no act or physical facade when they met or let it all hang out with each other right off. One of my tributes to the Hole in the Wall is the portraits I did of 108 of my friends.
Love is that veritable variety of happiness that finds places and times and beings and creations to be the symbols of such inspiration. Sometimes recognizing the mood certain places and people put us in as love comes only after many repetitions of simply enjoying everything that happens in their vicinity. In that way love is like a contagion where no more than a loving smile between friends or strangers on the sidewalk will open them both up to that level of approach to the rest of the day. The awareness that looks out from their eyes infects others unafraid to look into them and a better day is had by all. None of the smilers knew each other nor were they on the prowl for new friends, they just acknowledged a bit of the unity that binds us all no matter what our particular variation may be and went on about their day with renewed vigor.
Love is why the golden rule works every time. Without love from within the golden rule only serves to claim promisory insult in court.