Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What is love?

This is a question that has been pondered upon by thinkers and non-thinkers alike for so many centuries. Each individual either writes about it or the lack of it. So many creative expressions have been a result of this is one emotion. I personally as well have been pondering about it from time to time.

So many attempts have been made to classify love. From divine to lustful, there is an entire continuum on which it finds expression. But again if we can these as expressions, then surely these are a mere manifestation. Then the question to be asked is, what lies beneath/ beyond, and what is it that is the root-cause of one of the most powerful and captivating emotion that man experiences.

People say that love is a state of being. If it is so then, love is just another emotional state. And like any other emotional state, transitory and affect based. By definition, emotion is the affective aspect of consciousness. This again brings us back into the cause-symptom loop, if love an emotion then it’s a symptom and now the cause. However, if we accept this premise we find attribute the seat of this emotion rooted in our neurology and hence hardwired in our brains and waiting for the right set of triggers. Instinctual love, as I would like to call it, doesn’t leave very far behind the animals, who in every mating season are compelled to go through the motions of copulation without the least bit of understanding of the whys.

Can love be rational? If love has a rational base then we can break it down to a mathematical equation. We can perform/ apply the rules of logic to it. We can add, subtract, multiply, divide it and find the resultant. This surely is not the case, as this paints a very manipulative picture of love. Yet, ironically, when we come to think of it, in real life this is the kind of love that we see around us so many times. Transactional love, as I would like to call it, involves give-and-take and book-keeping of all that one person does for the other and hence, an implicit expectation of return.

Popular cinema often equates love with sacrifice. The protagonist is portrayed as a suffering hero/ heroine. Love equals sacrifice equals suffering seems to the equation over here and hence. The more you sacrifice and the more you suffer the stronger is suppose to be your love, seems to the premise over here. Is love the same as sacrifice, if one person claims to be in love with another person and gives up everything for him/ her is that love? Sacrificial love, according to me is nothing more than a compromise. We all have our value system and our set of priorities, if one has to give them up, I would look at it more as a compromise rather anything else.

Religion talks of selfless love. Karmakaand (the ritualistic aspect of Hindu religion) and similar practices across all religion often equate social service and charity with love. Selflessness and acts of philanthropy have there own merits, there is no denying of that, but calling it love is something that is beyond my understanding. Selfless love, means to elicit the same response to all things in the world. As a meta-physical concept this is the most idealistic way ahead, however at the worldly level this surely seems to be the least understood and practiced.

There are so many connotations to this single word. Each school of thought tries to capture the essence of this emotion and bring forth there interpretations. As a free society surely there is no harm in doing so, but this starts to create problems when as a group or as an individual when there are attempts to impose these views over everyone else. This leads to a lot of fallacies, like, the government claims if you love your country then kill others on the battlefield, a number of extremist groups brainwash people and ask them to kill for religion and so on.

Love might still be an undefined concept for me, but as I start to think about it I certainly start realizing what it isn’t. And it might be an anti-thesis, but I have also started to realize that it is this very attempt to define and hence confine it to a selected operational framework that has caused so much distortion, and that too sadly, in the name of love.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I am so excited...

A good way to start the year is by spending time to plan it and making some good resolutions.

One of my resolution finally started to roll out. I joined a workshop on Creative Writing at Xavier's Institute of Communication, this is a six week part-time course with classes happening once a week (every wednesday). Now as a part of the course I had to take a sub-resolution to start writing some thing every day. So, I have decided to give atleast 15 minutes of dedicated (with a person of my kind of attention span, thats really something) time for this starting today for the next six weeks.

And hence my new blog-

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