Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Love Month Series #12: Being Completed by Romance (Guest Blog by David Teachout)

In contemplating the nature of love and the many forms the word is associated with, I’m reminded of the movie Matrix: Revolutions in which Neo confronts a computer program who declares his ability to love another program who he calls his daughter. When asked by Neo how a program can love the gentleman and father notes the word has no inherent meaning, rather only referencing the felt connection that exists by virtue of declaring it so.

While the love noted by the movie character is that associated with the love of a father for his daughter, it is the “connection” piece that I want to focus on, primarily as it is associated with romantic love (other forms or love in general can wait for another entry). I think it can be noted without too much in the way of protest that if there were no people to express a romantic love, then such would not exist, at least in so far as we understand the term. It is, like all emotions and their physiological instantiation, something that at least at some level must take into consideration the referential point of the creature expressing it. This is not to indicate that love of all kinds is completely encapsulated by referencing only the person(s) expressing it, creating as it were some love-flatland, but without this reference there is a distinct loss in contemplating its nature. Therefore, to understand romantic love it is best to figure out what this connection is usually exemplified within.

Romantic love seems to come in two stages: the first and easiest is that associated with the intense and often immediate infatuation or interest between two (or more) people, its grand energy derived from the newness of the situation allowing the explosive projection of hopes, dreams and fantasies; the second stage is close to this as it is often felt during periods of intense emotional energy and the creation of some event, often a trip or special experience. The first stage in polyamorous circles is that often described as New Relationship Energy (NRE) and is the stuff of rueful amusement and joy, but also wariness because of its tendency to drive people towards bad decisions.

The second stage is usually found in established relationship connections both positively in those special shared moments or negatively where the parties involved want to "rekindle the fire" or in some situations create an experience so as not to look at the bad lying around at their feet.

The connection, particularly in stage one, is almost entirely one of projected intent, where each person is hoping the other fulfills their poetically impressive desires to be “fulfilled” or “made whole.” The metaphorical language here is illuminating. When someone operates under the notion that they are trying to be “made whole” it infers the notion that they are not currently of one piece or are lacking in some vital aspect, leaving themselves not quite fully alive. The usage of fire as a metaphor for the passions can easily here be connected to the fires underlying creativity or creation and therefore of building a "new life together" (notably in romance novels where this seems the only legitimate form of love the author feels their readers need or want).

Quite often, however, the piece found does not in fact “complete” anything or even fit properly, except of course during the first stage of romantic love when, let's face, the frontal lobes have been dumped like a broken transmission in a car. That this is the stage where the intent is focused less on the other party involved and more on the projection of a need being met is no doubt why being “made whole” is so often replaced later on with “falling to pieces.”

To live a life of romance where "wholeness" is already experienced from each one of our existential places can keep us from later "falling to pieces." We are not trying to fill a lack but find new ways of expressing the human ability to love in many forms and in an ever-expanding way.

- David Teachout

Ariel's Notes: G+David Teachout publishes his blogs on  the following blogsite: 
David's self-description is as follows: "I grew up and lived the first 22 years of my life within the fundamentalist conviction of Protestant Christianity, accepting Jesus as personal savior at a young age and dedicating many years to the study of theology and religious philosophy. I attended Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, MI, where I received a bachelor’s degree and which provided the space, friendships and life opportunities provided to question all that I had held dear. I went on to achieve a master's degree in forensic psychology from Walden University. During that time and before and continuing into the future, I have and continue to study philosophy and psychology extensively, though the education never ends there, often branching into history, sociology and religious ideology. I am of the mindset that truth will know truth no matter how deeply or how far you look. I now dwell in the philosophic spirit of scientific uncertainty and seek always to broaden my understanding of the unknown, finding that life is more honest and full of serenity, love and joy within science, humanistic principles and the open religious structure of Science of Mind or New Thought.

My defining quote from Bertrand Russell: "Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life; the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."

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