I have been defeated by love. I truly have and I don’t mind. A good couple of weeks ago I asked someone to give me a topic to write about and I was given love. Ha! I thought, easy. There’s been loads said and sung about it, there are loads of different types of love, this should be a walk in the romantic cherry blossomed park of the heart, I thought. Two weeks later I had written a paragraph which if it was a baby I would have aborted shortly after conception and indeed I have. It is such a broad subject I did not know where to begin and once begun how would I, how could I end it? Even if I told of my experiences of love it would go on for far too long. But a beginning was needed and so it was suggested to me by my housemate that I should watch Rick and Morty (it’s a cartoon, watch it) for Ricks take on love. Long story short, it’s a chemical reaction in the brain you get for a while when you meet someone who is biologically appealing to mate with and then you become strangers after copulating for some time. Which is a pretty simplistic way of looking at it and to a certain extent true but he doesn’t even begin to explain any of the other features of love beyond the point of mating. In fact love plays a huge part in ensuring that we survive as a species not solely through propagation but also by coding us to look after one another. Being social animals, love commands us to look after our own offspring, it ensures the continuation of the species by enslaving us to these little people so much so that we cherish and nurture them even beyond the bounds of childhood and their developmental years. Smart DNA. A neat trick for a protein chain. It does it so well that we even glom together as a species and look after one another. We don’t want the pain that comes from losing someone so much that we even look out for strangers. This is a keyed in behaviour, empathy, as social animals it is rooted in who we are. We cannot escape it anymore than we can escape the colour of our skin. Although this skirts on the edge of the nature nurture debate which is one particular rabbit hole I shall not be delving into today, or probably ever. So is love simply a biological imperative? Thanks for the kick starter Rick and Morty but from here on in I have to do what all writers have to do and that is speak from experience.
I have loved and indeed still do love. I love things and people. I love food and I’m sure if I had a pet I’d love an animal too. What has that to do with biological imperatives? I certainly don’t want to mate with my bowl of cornflakes and if I did have a pet, bestiality still wouldn’t be an option, no matter how much I loved that damned goldfish. So obviously I don’t mean love in the biblical sense, and what sense is that? When did the bible actually say this? That to love is to copulate? I can’t remember a single point in the bible where it describes love as the act of sexual congress although it may be in the Talmud, a part of Hebrew lore incorporated within the Torah, but even that’s tenuous. This is the belief that you marry the person you first copulated with, unless you are David (or any other of Gods specifically favoured people) in which case you get to bed however many you want. It says nothing of love though, in this marriage, it seems a contractual function rather than something that spontaneously happens. I can control and choose what I love but I can’t control who I love, I really wish I could. I have a tendency to think that I fall in and out of love easily, this isn’t true though. I don’t get to choose who I love, who I want or who I am attracted to. I don’t think any of us do and if you do go around choosing and being selective then I’m pretty certain that what you are in isn’t love. Loving the wrong people generally has consequences. No one escapes a bad relationship unscathed. Why does this biological imperative drive us to become mentally unstable over people? It removes sense but at the same time heightens the senses and feelings we have about that individual. It doesn’t care, it just doesn’t. It’s a pig like that. What kind of biological imperatives is that? One that makes us jealous or insanely crazy for someone else. That’s not a survival trait, that’s delusion.
I keep evading what I want to talk about, my experiences of love. I was asked by someone what is love? Have I loved? How do I know I have loved? I didn’t say it then but I will say it now. If you are unsure that you love someone or something then imagine them, or it, gone from your life forever. We have all experienced grief and loss. That shit hurts. A lot. To love someone or something is to be incapable of being with out that one person or thing. If you find yourself nonplussed about not having that special person or thing in your life then you ain’t in love. It’s just a contract you’re making with yourself to be happy. Another way of knowing if you are in love is of course the feeling of love. That little nimbus glow, the flying insects in your gut, is that the feeling of love? Or is it the visceral, blood pounding. feeling of want and lust. The desire that drives us to do mad things, to say things we don’t mean, that drives us insane and sends our minds on flights of fancy and also weave grim, disturbing futures. Why do we torture ourselves so with this? Why do we search out love knowing that it will make us irrational, are we mad to want this craziness? Maybe. There is a security in love and in being loved. It is a feeling, when it’s right, that can’t be beaten. A euphoria, a true delight. It drugs and deludes us sure but my god what a kick! However like most drugs it’s hard to keep that high, we grow a tolerance toward it. It’s hard to love someone intensely for years, what happens to love when it becomes old and tired? Affairs mainly, or if you are lucky you get a good strong dependable relationship, which brings people, or their object of love, so intimately together in so many ways that makes the act of love pale in comparison. I include object as we all know, we can love things that aren’t people. I know that the bond between a pet and it’s owner is love, a strong love, an unconditional love mainly, but as with many relationships if it’s right it’s great. If it’s wrong it’s awful at best and tragic at worst.
I love my child, truly and deeply right down to the roots of my being and even my son instils in me this craziness. I worry and fret, I go out of my way to make him happy for little or no thanks (he’s a teenager). I didn’t choose to love him, I just do. I can’t choose to not love him, that’s impossible. The same goes for my immediate family and to a certain extent my extended family. That is my biological imperative. I still love his mother even though we have been apart for many years now. We are friends, I am happy to say, with a bond that goes beyond friendship. We have a shared story and I hope that it will continue for many years to come but how I feel about her and my other friends is love. Not “head over heels my goodness let’s take our clothes off now and jump into bed and make sweet love” love but love nonetheless.
It’s amazing what we can love. Much like I love sleep. Can’t get enough of it, would sleep and dream all night long if I could, and I do too. God help anyone that came between me and sleep when I wanted sleep. So what is love? If it is possible to love an abstract thing such as sleep then it is not simply a biological imperative. OK sleep is a biological imperative but I also love music, laughs, warm mornings in the sunshine. Beer, bloody love beer. That’s not a biological imperative for my survival and the continuation of my genes though. I have been defeated by love. It’s too big for my mind to encompass, I can’t fully comprehend it, but it is something which I can contain within my heart, within my being. Something I can feel and something I can give. I would never want to be without it, to be without love I think is to be without life. So keep loving and feeling and breathing. Keep going crazy gaga and keep protecting and nurturing those close to you. Keep loving that keepsake, that item that brings you joy and memories. Keep loving that pet, rest assured it loves you too in it’s own way. Keep loving people, we are in this together as a species, it’s hard wired into us. Too soon we are gone but the life we have lived and the love that we give lives on. So do it right, do right by you and for those around you and don’t forget that I love you even though I’ll never know you, my DNA makes me.
And now this is finished I can turn on my games console and get on with something else that I love doing.