I would like to continue with my thoughts from the last post.

First, I like to mention when I started talking about “barefoot philosopher”, I basically had Socrates as my role model.  But I gradually realized that he is not.  So, basically, philosophy as we know it is full of errors from the start, and Socrates produced many fatal fallacies that are quite damaging to say the least. For example, in Republic, Socrates’ argument about expertise is very much a fallacy, and the fact the fallacy is used to support a very problematic assumption is very disturbing.

The discussion about expertise is actually a very big topic. It has a lot to do with Epistemology, so I will leave much of the discussion for later.  But here, I like to point out the fallacy involved (or at least one fallacy involved) regarding ruler.  The line of argument goes as following: as experts are concerning the welfare of the subjects, so rulers as experts of governing are concerning about the welfare of the subject, which is people being governed.  There are at least two problems with this argument.  First, I am not fully convinced that experts are only concerning the welfare of the subjects.  Yes, experts are supposed to be only concerning the welfare of the subjects. But, do they in reality?  Second, are rulers actually experts of governing?  I suppose this is what led to the argument about “Philosopher King”.

I mention this because this is very much related to where I left in my last post (“About ‘Emma’ (VII)”).  In my last post, I asked the question about what is “good education”, and what is “better person”. I suppose an education that will produce a “Philosopher King” will be a “good education”, and a “Philosopher King” would be the “best person”? But first, does this person exist? And, do we know about an education that can produce the “Philosopher King”?  Of course, I will still leave the question open about whether a “Philosopher King” should be the ruler of the world (not really, I already have my conclusion. But I will still talk about it to make myself clear).

If we look at “Emma”, then we will conclude that the answers to these questions are all negative. I might have to leave some of the detailed discussion for later.  But here, I would like to point out that Emma and especially Mr. Knightley seem to be our model of “good person” (again, I like to point out the definition of “good person” is very blurry, and even inaccurate.  But for this discussion, I will use this term under general meaning).  But are they “better person”? First, we got to ask comparing to whom and in what context (again, we cannot get around the ambiguity).  As it turns out, in the context of giving advice on personal matters based on their points of views, Emma is not necessarily “better” than Harriet Smith, and even Mr. Knightley is not necessarily “better” than Emma.

I think the matter about Emma trying to “educate” Harriet Smith and help her to “improve” herself is quite complicated.  In my previous post (“About ‘Emma’ (VI)”), I asked the question whether everyone wants the same thing. And then in my last post (“About ‘Emma’ (VII)”), I said Emma’s problem is actually mostly because she identifies herself too much with people who are not similarly situated as her.  What I meant is, Emma assumes that Harriet Smith would like to consider all the options before she made decision about love. But does Harriet Smith really think so?  Or, could she?

In my previous post (“About ‘Emma’ (V)”), I questioned whether Mr. Elton is basically an opportunist.  One question I raised is whether a person can love two people in such short period of time.  But what about Harriet Smith? I assume she was “in love” with three people in four times (for about within a year)?  Does she know what is “love”?  Do we know what is “love”?

My basic thought is, if one thinks one is in love, then one is in love.  But the kind of love could be different.  If we look at the actual outcome of Harriet Smith’s experience, I think what Emma did actually makes sense.  Yes, Emma did make mistake about Mr. Elton, but the mistake should not be attribute to her only, but to the situation and society as well.  As Emma learned from her mistake, and try not to hand hold on Harriet Smith, Harriet Smith made the mistake all on her own.  But I think Harriet Smith’s mistake is also quite understandable, based on her own experience.  Robert Martin and his family have shown kindness to her, and then he proposed marriage.  So, it is pretty logically to assume that since Mr. Knightley shows kindness to her, then he might also be “in love” with her?  But is there any other reason to do so?  Harriet Smith probably did not ask the question, and even if she asked this question, she probably would not know the truth (due to lack of information). This is the reason why I think this book is so fascinating.  It provides very rich materials for contemplating many Etymological issues.

So, are all Emma’s efforts in vain?  Or, she is just looking for trouble?  I don’t think so.  I think she is quite right to be picky about Robert Martin (well, not on all points, but some).  The request for him to read the book “Romance of the Forest” is not an unreasonable request, and I don’t think it is very unreasonable to refuse marriage because he did not read the book (although the reason might be mostly symbolic).  I think what “Emma” had advocated is that women (who were given very limited options in that time) are entitled to say no, meaning saying no is always an options, even though the consequences are not very promising.  I think this is not just a lesson for women, but for everyone.  No one had to put up with the “world”, in order to “get by”.  If everyone had the courage to stand up for what is right, then the world will be a better place.

So, in the end, what Emma did is not completely in vain.  Although Harriet Smith went through quite a bit of troubles, the outcome is quite good.  Robert Martin is tested and improved.  How different Robert Martin is from Mr. Knightley?  Not very different in personality, if we are not considering the “education” about the matter of “sensibility”.  I think the love story between Harriet Smith and Robert Martin, or the experiences of Harriet Smith is quite a good lesson about what “searching for love” is about.  It is about finding a person who is most compatible with oneself, to have mutual affections and understandings with this person.  It is not about “finding the best person” one can find. I will come back to talk about these things in my future posts. As we see, Harriet Smith went through quite a journey. But is Emma wholely responsible for this?  I don’t think so.  I think her confusion has a lot to do with the general confusion about “love” in the society. And to consider the similarity between Robert Martin and Mr. Knightley, it appears that she does know about “love”, more than we probably could realize.  So, is Harriet Smith a senseless girl?  Obviously she is not.  And, she actually has pretty good taste.

What about Emma?  Her taste in men does seem to pale comparing to Harriet Smith at least in some sense.  I think she is actually a victim of her “education”, focusing too much on “sensibility” than “sense” (which reflects the “culture division” in the society).

This leads to the question, are Emma and Mr. Knightley the result of “good education”? If we look at Emma’s sister, Isabella, and Mr. Knightley’s brother John, then we can conclude that there does not seem to be an existing education formula to produce “better person” (their brother and sister are not “bad persons”, but we can see the difference between them, and conclude that “education” does not seem to be fully responsible for all their “virtues”. I will leave what they are for future posts).

As I said, the entire story regarding Harriet Smith is quite complicated, and there are so much to talk about.  So, I don’t think I can write everything down in this one post.  I will have to come back to it many times in the future.  But I will mention a few thoughts that managed to stay with me here.

First, I want to answer the question whether Harriet Smith is an opportunist.  Is she?  I don’t think so.  There is nothing not genuine about her “love”. In fact, her “love” for Mr. Elton is the most sentimental thing described in “Emma”(if we consider Mr. Elton is a man of “God”, I hope the irony is not lost). I am not planning on detailed discussion about “opportunist” here, so I will talk about it more in future posts. But I will talk about it in little further below.

I have asked whether everybody wanted the same thing.  I think the answer to this question is both yes and no. This matter is quite complicated, so I don’t think I can talk about it in full here.  Again, I am just scratching the surface on multiple issues in my posts now.

I like to point out that what Emma assumed that Harriet Smith would want a man with “sensibility” is quite on point.  This is evidenced by Harriet Smith’s “love” for Mr. Elton.  There must be something in Mr. Elton, which I assume would have something to do with “sensibility” that Harriet Smith liked (again, I am not happy about the interpretation of Harriet Smith and Mr. Elton in 1996 movie adaptation of “Emma”. It is too flat.), which awakened her sensibility (her sensibility would also be awakened by Emma’s influence, no doubt).  In short, Emma did enriched Harriet Smith with her ability and life experiences.

In other words, Emma might have given Harriet Smith something that Harriet Smith did not know she wanted before.  But would it do her any good?  The answer is also yes and no.  I like to point out that Harriet Smith seems to be a quick learner, evidenced by her falling for Mr. Knightley.  She probably learned her lesson from the experience with Mr. Elton, so she did not fall for Frank Churchill (there are multiple reasons for her not to fall for Frank Churchill, but this might be one of them).  In other words, she combined her ability of sense with her newly learned (awakened) sensibility, and basically up ended Emma.  But does it do her any good?

I like to spend much time on Harriet Smith because I think at least in some sense, we are all Harriet Smith.  Or, we should say that we resemble Harriet Smith more than Emma or Mr. Knightley.  I have to say that Emma and Mr. Knightley are basically “God” like creatures. Or, we could say that Emma and Mr. Knightley represent different kind of “God”. Actually, Mr. Knightley represented the kind of “God” what we would want, but never had, and never will. At least in some sense, Emma represents the type of “God” could we have (or the type of “Philosopher King” we have in real life), but I think Emma is still much much better than the type of “God” that supposedly exists. I certainly will explain in later posts.

I have not started with my “obsession” about the subject of “God” yet.  I used quotation mark with the word “obsession” because I want to point out it is not a real obsession (that it was driven by emotions, not reasons).  The reason I am quite “obsessed” with the subject of “God” is because if we think with reasons, the concept of “God” does not make any sense, because we will run into all kinds of logical contradictions all the time.

I have talked about this subject before (not in this blog), and here is another example, which is the relationship between Mr. Knightley and Harriet Smith.  If you ask, what relationship? Exactly, there isn’t any, and there probably would never be.  The problem is related to what I said in my previous posts about “love”(“About ‘Emma’ (VI)” and “About “Emma (VII)”), the ability to identify with each other. Mr. Knightley is a very sophisticated person (in fact, the level of sophistication of Mr. Knightley is quite astonishing),and although Emma is not nearly as sophisticated as Mr. Knightley, she is quite sophisticated. But Harriet Smith is in no comparison.  Would she be able to fully understand Mr. Knightley? Judging about her mistake about whether he is “in love” with her, she had a very long way to go at least.

I read that Jeremy Northam once commented that he is not as altruistic as Mr. Knightley after he broke up with his long time girlfriend.  But is Mr. Knightley very altruistic in the matter of “love”?  I don’t think so. And I think in the matter of “love”, at least in some sense, “altruistic” is not only impossible, it actually would not make any sense. If one is not in love with someone, simply “being there” for someone makes no sense, I actually think it is quite cruel, because it deprived the person the chance of being loved by someone who actually love him or her. Actually, if we think about his most celebrated act, inviting Harriet Smith to dance with him, we might further conclude the point.  What does inviting someone to dance with him mean? If we really think about it, the matter is quite interesting.  Does it mean that it is possible for him to be “in love” with her?  Of course I am not talking about actually being “in love” with her here.  Just the possibility.  I think this is the whole point.  But is it actually possible for him to be “in love” with her?  I think it is at least very doubtful. So, is he misleading her and give her false hope?

This is exactly my point about “God”.  There is no reason for “God” to love us, or should I say that there is no reason for “Jesus” to love us as a man love his bride (provided that we do not confuse the way a man would love this bride with the way “Jesus” loves us, I have to point this out)? I have to say that the concept of “loving God” is quite confusing, and the concept of “love” is quite confusing as well (it is not a coincident).

If we follow the Old Testimony, then we are supposed to love “God” like children love their parents.  But where is the jealousy coming from?  If we think about the concept of “believing God” rest on the “jealous God”, then it actually makes less sense.  The parents are parents, there isn’t a question about believing them or not, much less need to punish the children because they don’t “believe” they exist.  In other words, jealousy unrooted the concept of “God” based on “God” as a parental figure.

But what about “God” as a lover?  It is even more problematic (as I just stated earlier with the impossible relationship between Mr. Knightley and Harriet Smith).  Whether a person can love more than one persons at the same time is question people often ask about.  I might have different answers before, but here I like to give my answer now.  I think it is possible for one person to love more than one persons at the same time.  But I don’t think it is a reasonable thing to do.  In other words, it will do no good for anyone, because it will cause a lot of trouble, and no good reason for doing so.

I think it is very important for people to understand what is “love”, because the confusion about “love” seems to be the cause of many fundamental problems in the world, if not the only cause of fundamental problems in the world.  Again, I am not “obsessed” with “proving God does not exist”.  But when I think about the problems in the world, it often (at least) goes back to the problems related to the concept of “God”.

Confusion about concepts is the most fundamental problems in the world.  I think we cannot really identify what “God” is, and what kind of “love for God” we should have are the fundamental problems in the world as so many things are derived from the concept of “God” or the concept of “loving God (and Jesus)” (one could see the confusion is quite fundamental).

We have to make some decision to clarify the confusions.  So, if we assume the “love of God” is based on the “love for Jesus”, then what? The first question is, can “Jesus love us back”?  I don’t believe he will or even can. First of all, the concept of “love” (as in intimate love between two persons) are quite private and “selfish” (As I explained earlier).  In other words, “big Love” could not exist.  This kind of love first and foremost is for the purpose of emotional satisfaction (including enjoying the emotions generated by physical stimulations).  So, one has to ask what is there for him?  Is it even possible for him to enjoy any kind of emotions, especially emotions generated by physical stimulations? And, as I assume he loves multiples, should we ask whether it is possible for him to be “faithful”?

The reason I want to raise these questions is because I want to emphasize that the kind of “love” we are talking about is “intimate love”, so we cannot ignore certain characteristics inherent to this kind of “love”.  Once we ignore them, we are getting into slippery slope that could go down hill really fast (I am saying this with what I have read about the shocking behaviors of certain prominent men in mind. I cannot say I am completely unaware of this kind of behaviors, either by personal experience or general awareness, But the context and degree of vulgarness are still really shocking to me).

“Emma” did not address the issue of “infidelity” (and the type of vulgarness I just mentioned), this is one of the important reasons I said it is about a fantasy land.  But I don’t think it is the kind of fantasy land that we could never reach.  For people base their actions on the principles of Love and Reason, “infidelity” would not be something that people “fall into” (not to mention other types of “vices”). Why? This goes back to what I said that “love” is about “choice”, and there is no way around it.  If we look at “love” as a series of emotional experiences, then what is the best experience that one can gain?  “Falling in Love” with multiple people confuse people, it diminish the experience, rather than enhance it.  So, a reasonable people acting based on the principles of Love and Reason would never want to do so even base on their own “selfish” reasons. The reasons people want to be in similar situations (as in most circumstances, people do not really “falling in love” with multiple people at the same time, they simply want to play the parts) is not “love”.

Because once people think that “love” could be an “one way street”, and someone (namely “Jesus”) could demand devotions from people who “love” him, “love” could become a “monster”, an “evil force”.  It is more about “power” and “possession”, etc. than “love”.

Well, this post seems like a wild goose chase of some sort. I started off with certain topics, then I have flew through various topics in pretty fast speed. I admit it is not very well organized, but I do hope it at least makes some sense.  And, to compensate, I would like to quickly bring some “loose ends” to conclusions.  Again, I am merely flying through multiple subjects, more complete discussions will hopefully follow in future posts.

So, what are my thoughts about “expertise” and “Philosopher Kings”? I believe I did have some discussion on these subjects, but I will give my summarized more complete answers now, and I will try to explain my thoughts further in future posts.

As I talked about in my previous post (“About ‘Emma’ (I)”), I think the “Classical” philosophy system (philosophy based on the line of thoughts of Socrates) and “Traditional” philosophy system (later developments of the classical system) and the culture influenced by them have some fatal flaws, that caused major problems in the world.  But “Modern” philosophy system’s ways of fixing these problems are very problematic as well.  At least for the most parts, it merely reacts to the problems in some less fundamental ways, and to summarize with greater generalization, we are getting into anilinism, causing many confusions in the culture system.  “Love” is the most obvious casualty.  So, I think it is not wrong to say that the Twentieth Century is a “Lost Century”.  But it does not means we should go back, abandon our efforts to “change the world for the better”. I believe we can establish a new philosophy system based on Love and Reason, and this is what I am doing in my posts (at least as a starting point).

So, can we trust the experts?  Yes and no.  The situations can be quite complicated, as we can see from Harriet Smith’s experience with Emma (I don’t think I have talked about all the most important points about this matter yet, I am planning on continuing in my next post).  Here again, I want to say a few words again about “elitist” or “elitism”.  First, as I am basically against all kinds of “-isms”, I am against “elitism” of course.  But I am also against people categorized many things as “elitism” and to dismiss them completely.  So, from time to time, I want to talk about my fondness of “elitism” as a protest against this kind of cultural anilinism.

What about “Philosophy King”?  I want to say there is actually a “Philosophy King” ruling the world. Or, to put it differently, the world we live now is Ruled by the philosophy system(s) I have just talked about, and I am not talking about just the governing body. It Rules everybody and everything, and which is the fundamental cause of the problems in the world.

But if we are able to establish a new and better philosophy system, do we need a “Philosophy King” (or “Philosophy Kings”) to rule?  I think I am little ahead of myself (I think I should be able to talk about it more in my next post), so here I will just summarize some key points. I think Socrates’s fallacy is actually two folds (at least).  I think he assumes that this “Philosophy King” is full of Love and Reason, because even if this “Philosophy King” knows about all the things about “governing”, there is no reason to believe that this “Philosophy King” will always have the best interests of the people to be governed in mind if he is not full of love (at least).  In other words, this “Philosophy King” should also be full of “love” like “Jesus” (at least).  But since I just said that the kind “love” of “Jesus” is impossible, the conclusion seems to be pretty obvious.

But I do think we can draw many important points about the ways of governing (or the rules of government) from discussions about “love”.

 

October 29, 2017

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I want to post a piece I wrote in 2014 here, because I think it is at least related to some of the things I talked about in this post.  This piece was originally wrote around the Valentine’s Day of 2014, but posted about in July 14, 2014 at touserv.com

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A Heart in Winter

 

I already confessed my love for French romance movies.  Now I will tell you my one true love, “A Heart in Winter” (Un cœur en hiver), I don’t think I can find another movie to top it!

Like all love stories (or in this case, a lack of love story), a love story is not just a love story, at least not for the very good ones.  It must raise some serious questions.

The storyline is pretty simple.  Actually, it might seem pretty mundane for many people.  Perhaps only somebody like me, a nature born philosopher of some sort, will find enormous pleasure watching it.

Daniel Auteuil’s character, Stéphane, is the best “violin doctor”.  The angelic Camille (Emmanuelle Béart) was instantly fascinated by him when her violin produced magic after touched by his hands.  Her fascination became obsession when her advances to him were met with indifference.

Camille was with Maxime (André Dussollier’s character), Stéphane’s friend and business partner who was stamped with the label of mediocrity, and went back to him.  The story ended after they reunited, Camille driving away with Maxime, watching Stéphane.

In law school, we are trained for issue spotting, perhaps now is a proof that my money is not wasted.  Perhaps this story will not be worth noting without the element of music.  Classical music, to be exact.  Forgive me if I sound like a complete snob, but modern music (such as pop music) and classic music do not seem to be in the same category in some fundamental way.  Classical music distills life (more precisely distill our mental and emotional processes), while modern music often amplifies the “noise level” in people’s minds (or, maybe modern music still distills life, it is just that we are all losing our minds).  I don’t think it is a coincident that so many French romance movies are closely related to classical music.

The ordinary interpretation of this movie mostly attributes Camille’s attraction to Stéphane to his indifference (actually there is an entire game theory about dating based on this kind of theory, that just tells you how messed up the state of culture is), which will make this movie a mere mundane movie.  The key clue that I am not making my theory up is the fascinating dinner conversation (this is a perfect example of a good conversation!), the topic of which is very much related to what I have just said about classical music and modern music.

I want to bring out an interesting fact.  The title of this movie, “A heart in Winter”, is a phrase took from a modern classic, “Remembrance of the Things Past”, in the volume of “Swann in Love”, and it is basically the reverse scenario of it.

Interestingly, “Swann in Love” is basically the swan song of the “classical era”, and since then, modern culture had caught the disease of fear, and at least in some sense, cultural no more (with some exceptions in fine arts).  I use the quotation mark on classical era, because the definition of the word classical can be very tricky.  How did I get into this deep water so quickly?  I cannot afford to be writing a book here!

Alright, the key word here is fear, or you can say this is pretty much what this movie is all about.  If fear is not basically the source of all evil in modern era, it is pretty close to it.  Well, I do remember I have written a post called “The Fear factor”, in which I was taking a different tone on fear.  The simple explanation (and perhaps the only explanation) is that the fear I am talking about here is unreasonable fear.

Everyone can have their own opinions about whether Stéphane intentionally seduced Camille.  According to the creators of this movie, they have Otello’s Iago in mind when they created this character.  But this is not very important in my opinion, because it does not explain the key problem here (and, as I will explain later, hate is often induced by fear).  Stéphane rejected Camille’s love, or at least the invitation of love, not because of hate, but because of fear, either fear itself, or fear induced inability to love.

Stéphane’s life is dominated by fear.  We can basically say that he gave up his own music career due to fear.  He chose to be the “violin doctor” because it is the kind of life that he can control.  Fear prohibited him to really live his life.

There are good reasons for Camille to be interested in Stéphane.  It all goes back to the dinner conversation.  As a dedicated violinist who basically lives her life in her music, it is inevitable that she will constantly search for the ultimate beauty, truth and goodness (My brief stint as an artist made me realize how difficult and lonely it could be).  In Stéphane she saw someone who could understand her and even guide her.

Also, as a modern democrat, Camille is struggling with the topic of that dinner conversation.  Basically, it is the question of how to justify the pursuit of ultimate beauty, truth and goodness in culture development (which seems to lead to exclusivity) and the idea of equality.  Well, I don’t call myself a philosopher (at least jokingly as the “born philosopher”) without offering my opinions about things.  The key to this dilemma is that this ultimate pursuit is not a static process, it is dynamic, evasive, and elusive.  Thus no one, and nothing can be absolute certain, which basically defeat the possibility of exclusiveness.  That is where the fear is coming from.

When I was talking about the muddy water about the word “classical”, I am mindful of the confrontation of the “Classical Art” and “Avant-garde Art” (the French must still remember this very clearly).  The problem with classical era is that it is closely related to social and culture exclusivity (which lead to doctrinism, another form of corruption against real pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness), but by rebelling against classical era, we somehow end up sacrificed the idea of ultimate truth, beauty and goodness, just like by rejecting Christianity in religious doctrine form, we often end up sacrificed the idea of ultimate truth, beauty and goodness as well.  Which is the ultimate tragic, as this pursuit is what it means to be a real human, and lack of it will inevitability lead to culture erosion, corruption, and towards extinction.  In other words, we might still look like human (but this notion was put into some doubt, as the same kind of disease also went to another direction, which might end up changing the form of human as well), but we have lost the essence of it.

Camille saw in Stéphane the potential of engaging in this pursuit, and being true to her words, she was making an effort trying to inspire him realizing this potential.  Actually, being a true performer, the temptation of trying to move this ultimate observer could be irresistible.

As I said, Stéphane does have this potential, but the problem with him is lack of will.  Not so such in will power, but the will itself.  The reason is fear.  This is the ultimate fear, and this is no ordinary fear.  It is not fear based on certain weakness, but based on some kind of superman will power to challenge the inevitable weakness of human kind.  But I have to say this is a losing battle, and it could only end in undermining the meanings of human existence.

Fear of uncertainty made him determined to avoid anything that he did not think he can control, this include anything involves emotions (maybe the Otello-Iago complex has more to do Stéphane trying to sabotage his relationship with Maxime, as a way to seize control of his emotions in this relationship?) and love is an absolute no-no.  So much so that he was paralyzed even when he was facing this godness-soulmate creature.  Only when he got a closer look at the face of death, he started to rebel again this fear, but it seemed a little too late.

Camille is not free from fear either.  I have no doubt that she was genuinely interested in Stéphane.  But her later obsessive behaviors were more likely out of fear, not love, which is evidence by the burst of hate.  Facing with the most incomprehensible rejection, it is natural her fear of defeat is materialized enormously.  Self-doubt is a very powerful weapon to produce self-inflicted wounds.  As a performer and someone in artistic pursuit, it could be in ample supply.  In her fixation on Stéphane after being rejected, it is most likely she was exercising her will power of refusing defeat, than manifesting her burning love towards Stéphane.  That is why when she had to face the defeat, the strongest reaction in her is anger, not sadness.

Love can lead to hate, but hate and love are completely different things, and most likely the bridge between the two is based on fear.  Hate is the will to destroy.  When people see rejection of love as defeat, which generated enormous emotion of self-doubts, they often want to belittle the other to the extent of making the other disappear.  It is a form of denial, that they want to change reality, because they cannot deal with their fear of defeat.

So, in the end, Camille has the same kind of disease as Stéphane, the difference is only in the matter of degree. What happened with Camille only means that we are all humans, nobody can raise above it.  It goes back to the ultimate dilemma I just mentioned, as the argument against any real exclusivity.

Camille probably never had thought about the possibility that her advance to Stéphane would be met with indifference.  Why should she?  She is almost like a goddess like creature pursuing her calling (which on the other side could also increase Stéphane’s fear of lack of control).  But when the unthinkable happened, her world basically collapsed.  She probably would start to wonder if anything she thought was for her was real, whether the world she thought was getting a little control of was built on delusions.

Why Camille would not give him a second chance?  Maybe she caught on his fear bug, and saw him as too much of a risk?  Maybe she was taking down from her idealistic high horse, and was satisfied with the mundane world (her going back to Maxime could be the evidence of it)?  Maybe she was shocked by her hate towards him, and decided she better leave everything behind?  The possibility could be endless.  The simplest answer could just be that she was not feeling it anymore, especially as we cannot be certain that her interests in Stéphane had actually developed into love (as I just mentioned her obsessive behaviors could be more out of fear than love).  Maybe she was just trying to start the “fire”, and when met with resistance, backfired, and burned herself out.  Since she did not know him very long, the element of attachment does not seem to be there, it is very possible.

Emotions are complex and often unpredictable, but at least for the most time, there are some reasons behind them.  It is interesting that “Remembrance of the Things Past” is basically a treasure trove for understanding emotions, but it seems that it is mostly remembered in the volume of “Swann in Love”, which for many people it seems to be a moral tale for warnings against love.

It is pretty interesting that in the end, Camille seemed to be taking the role of the observer, looking at Stéphane so intensively, while Stéphane seemed confused.

There could be another answer on why she is going back to Maxime, the “mediocre one”.  We all have different talents and desires in life, so it is only nature that we should take different roles in the pursuit of beauty, truth and goodness.  Maxime might lack the ability to actually in direct pursuit, but he did not reject such pursuit and seemed fully accept and support it (his admiration of Camille is the evidence).  If we realize that we all have limitations, but we should not deny this pursuit as the ultimate goal in life, and do our best to get close to the goal, then there is hope for everyone.  With this, we are adding to the answer to the ultimate dilemma.

Alright, if I am not making any sense, it is because I am overwhelmed by thoughts ignited by this seemingly simple movie.  It is absolutely fascinating that this movie can touch so deeply into the essence of life nowadays.  I will try to write more about related topics later.

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