Monday, September 9, 2013

A tiny idea part 2 - A guest blog by Mark Shapiro

Preface: The following is a continuation of Part   1 of Mark Shapiro's "A Tiny Idea,"  which I had previously featured on this blogsite. Here's the link to it:

Here is Part 2:

What is love? By the way, thank you for your comments to Part 1, which seemed to point to this query. But rather than trying to answer this rather thick question right off the bat, I’d like to define its cousin, romance.

Romance is the belief that someone or some thing outside of myself has the power to change how I feel. The key word in this is “belief”. Beliefs are investments in the future.  I have a romance with my car because I believe that my car will bring me feelings of security, love, and power; therefore, I have a relationship with it. My expectations are full of hope that I will get what I want. The reason I got so upset when the Rambler broke down was not because the car wouldn’t run, but because my hopes and expectations were eroding. The vehicle that I depended on let me down.

The meaning of my relationship was brought into question and I didn’t want to look at it. The source of virtually all psychological pain is the excruciating effort it takes to hide. And what is so important that we balance on the brink of insanity (and often go over the edge) just so we don’t have to confront some truth?

What is it that’s so upsetting when we break up with someone? It can be so painful, that sometimes we jump to the next romance in a seamless transition, in an attempt to avoid the inevitable “why”. Too often there is finger pointing; “you did this to me” or “I sacrificed so much for you”. These types of statements may be an attempt to escape the pain, but all they do is prolong it. As long as ideas like  “you make me happy”, or “you make me sad” are thrown about; romance is verified and the system continues.

Only when I get honest and look at my dirty secrets, will the pain start to leave, because it’s that huge amount of effort it takes to keep me in the dark that hurts. Breakups are one of the most powerful learning tools we have, if we’re willing to look into the mirror.

Romance offers salvation--

I have given you the job to save me from myself, and you gladly took it on. When we discover that we have failed, the blame game ensues. And it gets uglier than that. Not only have you failed to save me, but you have also caused me untold misery.

What these haphazard paragraphs are pointing to is the cause of romance. We humans have two basic desires: to join and to separate. Obviously, the two are mutually exclusive. We either do one or the other at any given moment. Romance promises to accomplish the impossible by joining while remaining separate. All it asks for in exchange is blindness. Anthropologists tell us that we need these because it’s part of the DNA sequencing for preservation of the species. Without it, they tell us, we’d lose our individuality and with it the creative drive. We’d become the Borg. “Resistance is futile.”

Anthropologists also recognize the desire to join. We are told that we are a social species that require group cultures with activities that aid in physical protection and psychological well-being. Since joining and separating cannot co-exist at the same time, all cultures have devices to weave a fabric that seems to bring these two contrary ideas close enough together to allow us to believe that the impossible is true. One tiny but untrue idea is all it takes: Separation while joined is not only possible, but real. Herein lies the definition of romance.

If romance is a belief, then what is love?

What most people call love, is a form of directed love/romance towards one object/person. It is based on feelings of need and want. What’s wanted varies from each individual. When the person becomes too frustrated from not getting what is wanted, the love turns to hate. Thus, love and hate of this variety are two sides of the same coin. 

This kind of love/hate is based on specialness. I love or hate this person, but not that person. It is a very exclusive club–­not everyone is invited. Those considered for membership are divided into two groups: those who might go into the hate bin, and those who might go into the love basket. The chooser has the right to remove or switch each selection. I may love my 90 Corolla now, but if it should betray me at some point, I might throw it away or put it into the hate bin so I can curse it for ruining my life.

We all know that my Rambler didn’t ruin my life, I was dependent on it, and the bargain I struck up with it was my own, not the car’s. If I had no expectations of this motorized vehicle, I wouldn’t be upset. It’s the same for people.

It is clear to me that the number one problem with love relationships is the holding of secret hopes, expectations, and agendas. These are often so secret that we have no idea they exist. Sometimes they are briefly exposed when special love turns into special hate. These windows can be hurtful because a backlog of anger and frustration are released in a relatively short span of time. Once the venting process has concluded, the person of interest will either be thrown away or put back into one of the compartments.

So why did the young woman in Part 1 want to return to her abusive husband? Simply put, the cost (being beaten up) was worth what she felt she was getting (the belief that she loved someone who loved her). Without going into the psychological issues of spousal abuse, I would like to remain on topic of what is love. For this woman, the belief (cause) was more important to uphold than the pain and suffering that came as the effect. And why is this belief so important?
Why is any belief so important? 

Beliefs plant us into the future and prevent us from being present. Many people say that this is important because it gives us humans the ability to plan ahead and make our lives better. But isn’t that a belief as well?

The future is nothing but projection; the past is but memories, and they are not real; but Love is Now, and there is nothing else.

Ariel's notes:  Mark Shapiro is retired and lives on the Big Island of Hawaii.  He currently drives a 1990 Toyota Corolla Wagon with a 5-speed transmission. It’s the best car he has ever owned.

Posted with Aloha!

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