Sunday, August 3, 2008

Love: 101 (No Prerequisites)

Love, think about it. Everyone loves to love Love, loves to be in Love, loves to be loved, everybody. It may be different things to different people, but the love of it is universal, the love of Love that is.

Contrary to common belief, Love is rather easy to understand. The description of Love has an obvious vocabulary, and the theory of Love can be reduced to almost mathematical precision. Yes, be assured that the theory of Love is easy; it is only in the practice, the mechanics of it, that Love goes horribly wrong.

Love is usually confused with sex. They are definitely related phenomena, but they are quite different things. Sex is merely an aspect of some types of Love. Parental Love, romantic Love, filial Love, fraternal Love, all Love has the same basic components, sex is merely the icing on the cake in some situations.

The building blocks of Love are several and obvious. They are the essentials of human existence, the things that we all must have, often called either “wants” or “needs,” although it’s all the same thing. We want them because we need them, and visa versa. Love is acknowledging that we want them from a particular person, and are prepared to offer them in return. Ideally, anyway. They are arranged below in their approximate order of importance:

Consideration: Consideration is a filter through which the individual in love must pass most little decisions every day. The loved one’s feelings must be considered. Think before you speak, think of the loved one. Think before you agree to something, before you decide to do anything, consider the feelings of the loved one. Consider this: your loved one wonders, should I fuck this person? If the loved one considers your feelings, the answer should be “no,” or at least, “as long as it doesn’t get around.” Failure of consideration may lead to a simple “yes,” or a “yes, and I don’t care who knows it.” Absence of consideration may come in the form of a “yes, and take that you moron.” That hurts, because in our everyday worlds, the world shows us no consideration at all, and we count on it from loved ones. It’s nice to get it, and little trouble to return the favor. If you love someone.

Approval: This can be in the form of acceptance or forgiveness. Censorship, the opposite of approval, is encountered in life much more frequently, censorship or indifference. We all have complex personalities in which some aspects are more admirable than others. It is nice to find someone who will take the good with the bad and approve of the total package. Someone who will accept you as you are and value you for your good points, someone who will forgive your little peccadilloes, or your grievous shortcomings if it comes to that. Your approval of a loved one creates in them a warm feeling of belonging that is not generally available in the world at large. The ultimate expression of approval is consensual procreative sex.

Comfort: Monkeys comfort each other by picking nits off of the loved one. For humans, it may be offered as a smile, a kind word, the offer of a cool glass of water or a warming cover, a gentle good morning! a simple touch or a hug. Or, sex. Comfort, offered lovingly over the course of years upon years and years should deepen Love, and this history of comfort is the greatest comfort of all.

Enjoyment: Sex may offer some assistance here as well. But more than sex is required, the provision of opportunities for enjoyment by the loving one should be broad based and varied.

Encouragement: If the loved one is happy, the love giver is happy, so it only makes sense that one should offer encouragement to the loved one.

Commitment: This can come in many forms, it may be less than total and/or less than eternal. It is only important that the same degree of commitment be recognized by, and comfortable for, both of the loving parties. Here it matters little what the lovers say, the important commitment is in their hearts. If one party commits for all time in all situations, and the other commits to a couple of years to see how it goes, there is a failure of communication that sinks the love boat.

These are the components of Love in most situations. Other, strange components are common, strange to most of us anyway. These, whatever they are, should not be thought of as pathological. In analogy, if a person is ugly, that is natural, it is not a problem, the person looks like a person, like it is possible for a person to look. The person’s ugliness defines the range of human appearance. If a person wants to be treated badly, or to have pain inflicted on them, or to be pissed on, it is because they want it, and by wanting it they help to define the range of human wants and needs. It’s all Love.

The mathematics of any particular Love situation is different from others of its type, and couples or groups must find their own solution to the problem. The mathematics of the first strike of Love is easier to formulize.

Most men have only the most limited understanding of Love. No surprise there. “Man,” and “woman,” are, of course, interchangeable in this analysis, I just happen to be a man. Women are in the dark too, by and large, even though they may believe otherwise.

For young men the experience of new Love is so emotionally and electro-chemically charged that it often results in a stunned feeling, much like having been hit in the head. Many men think that they have a certain type, as in, “she’s not my type.” But it’s really just simple mathematics. It’s the simple sum of two numbers, and there are two important factors.

The first factor: the numbers should be close to each other in value; the second: the higher the total, the better. If the total is high enough, the result is love-at-first-sight.

Of the numbers themselves, the first, the most important, is the numerical rendering of the perceived likelihood that the woman involved will be responsive and grant the man intimacy. At this stage, sex is disproportionately important, but all of the above components involve intimacy. If this number is high enough, it alone may cause love-at-first-sight. Standing alone it tends to make a woman attractive to a man, especially a young man. The second number depends for its value on the degree to which the man desires intimacy with the woman.

It’s possible that a man may meet someone, or see someone, and calculate immediately that: 1) this person would love to fuck me, I’m the answer to their prayers (let’s say, ninety out of one hundred); and 2) getting next to them would be the greatest thing that has ever happened to me (again, ninety out of one hundred). Note the gender neutrality, no need to be exclusive here. So it’s easy to see that if the combined number is very, very high (in the example it’s 180/200), the man will experience a shock as this wave of emotion travels through all of his systems. Every molecule in the man’s body moves towards the woman (person) on an individual basis, much like the tide moves towards the moon. It has happened to me, and if you are lucky, dear reader, it has happened to you as well. I have on several occasions met a woman, here I can be specific, a woman, and performed a calculation similar to the one in the example, and I have thereupon become dizzy and disoriented, giddy, and openly grateful to the deity. Out of consideration, as defined above, I will not detail the results of these encounters.


Anonymous said...

Whoo boy, you make it all sound so mystical & complicated. Here's my summary:
Opposites don't attract, similars do. There is a Big Sort involved. Proximity counts big time. You love the one you're near.
Like loves Like. Tribes exist everywhere.
Love dies, just like everything else. Get over it.
Class dismissed.

fred c said...

Yes, and . . .

1. Similars do attract, but not similar to each other, similar to some model that life has provided;

2. Proximity is number one!

3. Like likes like, but mostly in matters cultural or value related; and

4. E, you and I are so cynical. What did life ever do to us? (He said, with his tongue planted firmly in his cheeky cheek.)

Anonymous said...

Fred, in your six decades of being alive are you are still invested in the standard response that anyone who is objective about or who attempts to look dispassionately at what has been termed Western love is just a "cynic"?
Millions of people in the world have their marriages arranged; love has nothing to do with it. And guess what? They don't have a 50% divorce rate.

fred c said...

Maybe the arranged marriages are the most cynical, the arrangers I mean. Marry a cousin to keep money in the family; marry this one because it'll solidify dad's position in the army or in business.

Sometimes I wish that I could have arranged marriages for both of my sons. They'd probably be happier and I'd be happier too. Maybe I'd even have some grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

Are your sons confirmed bachelors?