Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Short Theory On Love


Experience has taught me this: for adults "falling in love" as a romantic matter is a choice. The usual preconditions have to be in place, sexual attraction in most cases, soul to soul compatibility in all cases. But feelings of love need, I'd argue, some recognition in mind, usually evident in saying so, to oneself, to another, to the chosen other. 

Articulation is a commitment to those feelings, their relative implementation. 

Romeo and Juliet is English literature's classic depiction of young romantic love. That state of being for the "star crossed lovers" emerges without choice. Their attraction to each other, soul to soul, overwhelms them. It's foregone in their first encounter. 

The comedic complement to that mysterious operation in Shakespeare is A Mid Summer Night's Dream, where the emotions woken up with are the workings of fairies and spirits and magic dust, with no accounting for, with the sheer repudiation of, rationality. 

The adult answer to Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare is his mordant tribute to mature love, perhaps the thematic template for Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Antony and Cleopatra. They each give up kingdoms and ultimately their lives for their adult, tarnished love for each other but as matters, I'd argue, of mature choice.

Evidence for my thesis exists in the very rituals leading to marriage or to its non institutional equivalent, proposal, acceptance or rejection, then in marriage at least the formal repetition of choice in the completion of vows. 

And to my mind a classic illustration of the operation of choice lies in the spurning lover seeking to reengage with the spurned lover. The spurned lover will be working on getting over the grief in being spurned, or may have accomplished it. Now confronted by the importuning to resume affection, the spurned may plead, "Why are you doing this? I've just gotten," or "I'm just getting, over you." Now he or she has to decide whether to cap dormant or latent or subsisting feelings, if still there--they may not be--by the assent to them. Unassented to, love will not find love; reciprocity will be denied.