Saturday, January 28, 2006

Love and Marriage.. like a Horse and Carriage?

I finally have quenched my desire to start reading biographies. I received a book on Christmas called 'Honest' by Ulrika Jonsson. She is a very popular TV presenter from Britain. Originally Swedish, she moved to England at the age of 12 which became the reason for my attraction to her book. She and I seemed similar enough, having been moved around as a kid, experiencing fucked up family relationships, and not surprisingly, struggling to be loved by a suitable man.

Her struggles make me realize that I could end up exactly like her when I get to her age. The book is extremely heart-wrenching so far. Ulrika is still alive so I don't know how she chooses to end the book. I've already finished half the book in 2 days. She (or her ghost writer) wrote it very passionately, and I found myself dwelling upon her failed relationships out of all of her narrative storylines. A successful career aside with loads of money, she never had happiness in her quest for love. As always here I am the Philosopher-Psychologist, with a theory.

If you are a woman reading this, you'd agree with me that some others of our gender have it so easy. Their married life seems to be so rosy red when they rub their eternal smiles and shiny teeth in your face. Good for them. What I want to turn my attention to is the fact that if they're living in the United States, they have a 60% chance of getting a divorce. That's more than one out of two couples! Marriage has absolutely no value it seems other than gaining companionship for a set period of time, and acquiring your partner's resources including financials and societal stature. So what's love got to do with it?

I wonder why despite being fortunate to have a loving and caring husband, Ulrika Jonsson decides she is not happy even with the birth of her son. Her husband did everything to love her.. but she didn't feel happy. Her resistence to receiving love most definitely goes back to her childhood.. and all you post-modern anti-Freudian thinkers can have your own opinion.. but if you haven't had love from where you wanted it most as a child, it surely would have an impact on your adult life. So if you do get truly loved as an adult, you might resist it because in the kid lurking inside your conscience, its normal for you not to be loved not matter how anyone tries. Twisted eh? But very very common.

I'd like to now remove my psychologist hat and make my personal position clear. I do believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe in love. And I believe I'll find it someday. I remember when I was watching the game show Wheel-of-Fortune a few years ago, an old lady contestant was speaking about herslf. She had met her husband one Tuesday, they were married on Thursday.. and what a proud little strong frail old lady she was announcing that she had been with the love of her life for 54 years. I certainly do believe it is possible to love someone so intensely right from the minute you meet them. The dating scene has failed so miserably with its scripted philosophy of "do's and don'ts". You must dress like this, you must wait till 3 days after the first date to make a phone call, you must not talk about marriage for whatever length of time, etc. How unreal and Barbie-like! I'm a positive woman who belives love can happen at any time with anyone (just make sure it isn't mistaken for lust), but please don't get me wrong because I also believe that love can be a choice just as anything is.. and with choices, comes work.

Ulrika's marriages failed because they had no foundation. She met people she liked, and then thought they would make good husbands. She was deeply afraid of giving her all, which cracked the foundation of her marriages. She felt suffocated even with a loving husband. She admits that motherhood oozed out of every pore of her soul, but felt very claustrophobic when her husband tried to love her. For heavens sake, why!? I want to shake women like her sometimes and make them realize how lucky they were to be loved. Why people refuse to accept the most beautiful, secure, uplifting, and the ultimate source of happiness is beyond any mystery known to mankind.

I have one very harsh reality check. Most people are majorly fucked up in their relationships, careers, friendships, and their self-awareness. If you try to deny and pretend you are so free of baggage, good luck to you when emotional suffocation and claustrophobia set in.

For marriages to have genuine substance in today's world, it appears that the man and woman must naturally have had to go through either an extraordinarily exhilerating or an extraordinarily traumatic series of events and experiences together. The 'togetherness' experience has to be so significant, that it becomes the binding force uniting a man and woman as one. Sorry to say, passion does not cut it. Passion dies down in no time. There needs to be something almost supernatural.

I am desperately trying to explain it to you ladies and gentleman, but love is not rational and it cannot be verbally expressed. The irony of this blog post is that I don't think I've succeeded in articulating what I want to say. We have come full circle and I'm sorry.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Love is NOT complicated! People are.

Doing my random meditation I once again strayed and thought about the nature of romantic love. I must admit, this age-old concept has boggled my mind right from when I had indepthly studied the ideas laid out in Plato's Symposium. This treatise is the most comprehensive philosophical compilation about the nature of love in all its human forms.

The wonder of it surfaced inside my soul yet again. A close friend (who self-righteously calls herself 'Miss India') and I were chatting about what makes one believe they truly love someone romantically. This after I randomly opened a Bible lying on my colleague's desk to Corinthians chapter 13. Verse 4 reads something like this: "Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.. Love never fails." Wow. Simple words with such profound meaning. Now this was contested by our 'Miss India' who says living in our contemporary world of power, sex, and money makes it difficult for this kind of love ever to exist. So to her, true love must be MUTUAL. An interesting idea. At first I wanted to disregard it because it is possible to love someone and not expect anything in return. But how often does that happen? I can't think of anyone like that anywhere nearby. If you know someone who loves without getting it in return, please drop me a line.

But then again, maybe I don't see anyone personify the Biblical view of love because "Love is not boastful." I'm sure there's someone out there who does not boast about what they feel for their loved one. Real love may be so intense that it is sometimes seems best left unsaid and not admitted. 'Miss India's' contention that your lover would never let you suffer, wait, or reject you if love were true. Somehow I wish that were the case! Although her theory makes a lot of intuitive sense, she probably espouses it as a result of deep wishful thinking or from her experience of never being single. She tells me she has experienced true love because her lover was there for her in the morning, and never made her wait, etc. According to her love is useless if it is one-sided. In this day and age where people's motto has moved from "Keep up with the Jones'" to "Get ahead of the Jones'" if true love is not reciprocated, it doesn't get you anywhere. You are wasting your time and energy sista! If the person you love does not love you back, you will most likely be left unmarried, without children, and without a status identity.

The most important idea she put across, which is the only real argument I agreed with her on, is that often people are in love with the idea of the person they claim to love.. "If that person came into my life, I would be able to show him off like no tomorrow" sort of a thing. Ideas are not real.

Well in any case, love is not blind.. not cruel.. not complicated. It is people who are blind, cruel, and complicated.

More on love at a later time.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Continuing Evil I

As I am watching Jay Leno making his audience laugh, this philosophical heart of mine stuck on to his outright comic bashing of one of the most influential characters of the American religious political spectrum. Continuing my thoughts on my theodicy, Mr. Pat Robertson easily earns the title of "The most inane Christian argument positer" I have ever come across. How on earth has he reached so far? (Probably by asking Christians to invest in his 700-Club, after which they are so deep in, they need to justify their investment and dream up miracle stories).

Anyway, Pat Robertson to me represents an evil that is very characteristic of our world and the times we are in. Subtle. He actually was stupid enough to link Ariel Sharon's stroke to God's wrath over the fact that the Israeli PM gave up Israeli land. What kind of authority does Pat Robertson have to make this sort of conclusion?

I am more astounded that Pat manages an empire which says it represents the values of Christianity. I am also appalled that the organization's leader is someone who desperately needs a crash course in logic. Connecting God's wrath to Sharon's heart attack? What would Pat Robertson blame starving children in Africa for, assuming himself to be God's representative on earth?! Starving African children must have done somethin real bad to incur God's wrath as well I guess. I am a believer in a God that doesn't approve of blame-games to mobilize people to pay attention to nonsense they can be safer without.

Evil comes in all shapes, sizes, and volumes. But it is most sickening when evil is disguised smoothly and interwoven using the Good Book as an ideological shield.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Evil I

Jane Goodall, the anthropologist who studied chimps all her life, once said, "Human beings are the only species on the planet that are capable of the most good, and the most evil." I realized this with such intensity today.

Last night, I watched the extraordinary resilience of one young woman on my favorite National Geographic channel. She was the victim of an attempted 'honor killing'. Her husband allegedly saw her in bed with another man in their house. He tied his wife, three months pregnant with his child, and hung her upside down.. after which he slashed her ears, nose, and excruciatingly poked her eyes out with a dull knife. I cannot imagine how one human being has the capacity to commit such an act.. letting go of the fact they were husband and wife.. and not caring an inch for the unborn child (who miraculously survived). They showed footage of this woman after her ordeal.. smiling. It is truely baffling how she managed a smile. She stood up against her community and brought her assailer to justice. In jail, her attacker proudly talked about maintaining his honor and looked the reporter in the eye, effortlessly defending his crime. Evil. Evil. Evil. I cannot seem to ignore this side of humanity and gleefully live my comfortable sheltered life..

I've always tended to loathe injustice toward women more than any other type of evil. The Woman is such a special being.. throughout history she was taught to stay quiet, stay at home, continue to sacrifice her personal goals.. and today She has come out strong and still continues to maintain her roles as mom, wife, sister, and friend. I don't care how far this world advances, women will always have to sacrifice more because they are accustomed to swallowing more emotional shit.

Is the problem of evil a test from the divine? No wonder people don't believe in God anymore. Would a loving, all powerful God allow such atrocity? Although I've always personally leaned toward the theistic tradition, the only argument that saves it for me today is the fact that human beings themselves allow and commit evil. There is absolutely no justification for blaming any entity for the problem of evil apart from the ol' human being.