To Escape

“Why don’t you come away with me, my Love? We’ll do what it takes, I’ll keep you safe. Why don’t you stay by me? When the time comes, we’ll escape…” –The Kongos: Escape

LOST VALENTINE

There’s something about war-time romances. In a certain quite macabre way it’s everyone’s ideal dream even though they wouldn’t want to live through it.

In a song by the Kongos, “Escape”, the perfect love story is told. Bombs are bursting in the air; rockets illuminate the sky; the fabric of social existence is wrought out… And yet, these two lovers experience the most dramatic, most meaningful time of their lives. The singer says “We’ll do what it takes; I’ll keep you safe”.

warThe truth is, they probably won’t stay safe. And they probably couldn’t do what it takes. Because the odds are against them.

It becomes clearer then, that our romantic “idealism” is especially twisted. Instead of the ideal being perfect, we draft images and scenes of a dramatic yearning that cannot be fulfilled in our lifetime. In a sense, then, our idealism regarding war-time romance borders more on reality than utopia.

Need this false ‘idealism’ be a bad thing? No.

If it is reality and drama we want in a relationship, then don’t we get exactly what we hoped for? To experience the whole spectrum of emotions: from anger, to sadness, to regret, to happiness. To be a more fulfilled person.

Truth is, we want to battle. If you have too much love; if you are too happy, you are (strangely enough) not happy; not fulfilled. Just as in a war time romance, you want to feel that the person you’re with will want to see it through to the end with you even if that means a lot of (internal) destruction may lie in your paths. And in that strange dichotomy lies the true nature of our idealism – circumstances shouldn’t be perfect; the person shouldn’t be perfect; the ‘perfection’ lies in trying to make it through anything.

In a sense, we want to ‘escape’ into reality; live though it; fight through it. Why fight fighting?

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Just Love

ImageOn Valentine’s Day you see lovers everywhere trying to suss out whether or not they’re meant to be together. You see heartbroken ones that feel lost and alone. You see singles yearning for that special introductory glance. Around every corner, Valentine’s Day has people being preoccupied by that all-illusive concept: Love.

Interestingly enough, this constant yearning for love and belonging is addressed in many religious and philosophical texts. Initially in these texts, lovers are portrayed as ideal; eternal; utopian. For instance, in the Bible’s Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lounge around without a care in the world. In Plato’s Symposium, all lovers are physically bound to one another in a strange sort of Siamese twin love affair. Even in everyday pop culture (which I guess you could say has become our general religion), there’s the notion that somewhere out there your ‘soul mate’ exists and as soon as you find him/her you will be complete.

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The interesting thing, however, is that as soon as the humans do something wrong by the Books of the Gods, it is love that gets taken away. As soon as Adam and Eve eat the Fruit of Sin, their life together is immediately like that of an unhappily married couple. As soon as Zeus believes the Siamese twin-like humans to have done something wrong, he splits them in half leaving only wandering, lonely ‘incompletes’. In more contemporary pop culture it is believed that you’re chance at finding love is doomed as soon as you drink that glunck or smoke that toke.

These stories make something apparent to me: firstly, we see love as some sort of perfect, heavenly utopia. Secondly, because the gods chose to take love away (and assuming that these stories are mythical and thus written by people), it must mean that we value love as a need above food, shelter or clothing. Thirdly, we blame our inevitable human faults (and their punishment from the gods) as a reason for us not to be able to love.

To me, the most rational conclusion out of this is that, in reality, we should simply accept that love will not be perfect because we live in an imperfect world. I don’t think we even have any conception of what perfection is. Besides, would it not make for a more heartfelt, true story if you love someone even though they are imperfect? Would it not make for a great, beautiful, dramatic story if one’s other half is eventually found even if it’s only at a ripe old age?

In my opinion, people regularly try to put our imperfect world aside for the “perfect world” imagined by so many religions. Yet, our imperfect world carries more beauty because of the fact that it is unpredictable, mysterious and exciting. Consequently sometimes you need to hurt…a lot… to, at a later stage, appreciate the beauty in what you have had or still have.

Down those post-Valentine’s day blues and just go with the flow. Stop yearning. Stop trying to figure out. Just love.