While reading a fascinating and quite frankly scary series of articles about predators I started to wonder about love.
How do I get to love from predators, you ask?
FROM THERE …
The author of the predator articles is Olivia Judson, an evolutionary biologist. A few years ago, she had a book then TV series about the wacky world of sex, with some passing mention of love that has been aired in countries across the entire universe, except the United States. Because I wonder about seeking scientific explanations to any emotional, ineffable thing — love, anger, shyness, reading Olivia’s predator series reminded me of her work on the sex stuff.
Evolutionary biologists ask a lot of questions about a lot of things, and some of them want to answer how and what evolutionary advantage(s) we (and other critters) get from the things we do and the way we do them. For example an evolutionary biologist, in wondering why women colour their cheeks, might have speculated that women used blush to have that ‘just getting ready for sex flush’ look and therefore appear more alluring in order to get the attention of a strong attractive potential mate (and father of good offspring) than a woman who doesn’t wear any blush. Others like Olivia, wonder about the evolutionary rationale for non-procreative sex? Apparently because it feels good is not a good enough answer. Apparently, we need to know these things.
While my tongue is slightly in my cheek, consider this: findings of such studies are gobbled up by marketers because if sex doesn’t sell it, a promise of romance will.
TO HERE …
Anyway, reading the Olivia Judson articles and remembering her earlier work got me to thinking (not about the science) about the concept of love. But after wondering and reading about and remembering life experiences about what’s been described as an ineffable concept for a half hour and working to fully, completely and in every meaning of the word truly grok the concept, well, it wasn’t working; much like a date with someone whom you later describe to friends as being about as deep as a bird bath.
I needed to get closer. But could I? Is the thing that is love touchable?
It is possible to touch the representatives of love. A hand. A fingertip. A pulse point on a lover’s wrist, or hollow of the throat. Or the perfect balance of a Mont Blanc pen; the curve of the driver side mirror on the Ferrari 458 Italia, and the prrrrrrrrrr of its dual clutch 2-speed v8 engine; the bubbles on your tongue of that pink champagne, the window of the streetcar as you ride Queen Street from one end to the other, the tones and harmonies of the music on your personal listening device; the coolness of the fabric of your pillow as you slip into bed and put your head down; the taste of berries and syrup in the freshly ground beans that make the morning’s espresso. Valhrona’s dark chocolate. A child’s laugh. A friend’s full-on body hug. A beautiful piece of Japanese paper. Sunsets. Cuddling. Peregrine Falcons. The sea.
Walking with your dog. Being with your pet.
Poetry. Colours. Sighs.
The beauty in the lines and muscles and power and shadows of a dancer’s body moving across the stage; the flow and grace of an archer lining up the arrow, the stance and movement of a fencing match; the aching barren(ness) of Giacometti statues, coming home after a long trip.
But they are not your love.
Whatever your list is, it represents — the what, the who, the how, the when, the why — that which you love. The things on your list are personifications of love. It is as if love is the sun or God or maybe the SunGod or Ra (not Louis the XIV) and to see love as it exists in its own state is to come face to face with the ineffable and learn its name and know it and if the myths hold true, to look into love in its pure state and utter its name and feel its power and grok the ineffable will mean you will implode into a millions little pieces of you that Humpty-Dumpty’s men would never find let alone be able to put back together.
The things, the people, the person you love … the feelings that are conjured, evoked, hang about in the air as you even think that you have this feeling you would name as love, for there is a power in naming… are still but representations of the love you have, of the love you share, of the love in your head, and your heart and your body and so like a predator — like the master predators we humans are — we go looking, we go hunting for that which gives us this feeling of love because it is in us to give and to share and brings us to joy and perdition and every point in between and when we find it, that thing, the person, the idea that we love, we know — know deep in all of our cellular, chemical and electrical energies that the thing we feel and cannot name that we hunted and have found is love, even if we cannot speak it name. We know it, deep and true.
And I will still wonder about it.
Quotes about love:
Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].
Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].
I have wished to know why the stars shine.
Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.
This has been my life; I found it worth living.
BERTRAND RUSSELL: adapted
Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling; not, at heart, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being “drawn toward.” Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one’s friends and enemies.
Love creates righteousness, or justice, here on earth. To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk…. sexual lovers and good friends know that the most compelling relationships demand hard work, patience, and a willingness to endure tensions and anxiety in creating mutually empowering bonds.
For this reason loving involves commitment. We are not automatic lovers of self, others, world, or God. Love does not just happen. We are not love machines, puppets on the strings of a deity called “love.” Love is a choice — not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice, but rather a willingness to be present to others without pretense or guile. Love is a conversion to humanity — a willingness to participate with others in the healing of a broken world and broken lives. Love is the choice to experience life as a member of the human family, a partner in the dance of life, rather than as an alien in the world or as a deity above the world, aloof and apart from human flesh.
CARTER HEYWARD: Passion for Justice
Do not seek the because – in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions. Anais Nin
Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. Barbara De Angelis