Well, it seems I am going back in circle, to the point where I have left when I talking about “love” (the intimate love between two persons), equality. It seems to me, the world (or more accurately the “cultural establishment”) is built on a “top down” structure, and this structure is supported (or maintained) by making people unequal, especially between men and women.
Let me explain. It seems despite all the talks, the power structure is not exactly based on “merit”, but on power struggle. This means people who have access to power need to dissuade people from the desire of trying to gain access to the power (or question the mechanism). Besides telling people to make “sacrifices”, to be “modest” and “polite”, don’t be angry, be grateful, etc., another “effective” way of doing so would be to undermine their confidence. Therefore, insulting people’s dignity (either in “polite” and “hidden” way or in more obvious way such as sexual harassment or assault) often seems to be deliberate acts, not really the unleash of “animal instinct”.
Ok, I am going back to where I started at the beginning of this post, which is equality. If understanding is very important in order for people to “love” each other (in the context of intimate love), then equality is very important, because if people want to truly understand each other, then people must be situated similarly. Without this, true understanding is impossible.
Here, I want to come back and talk about Emma and Mr. Knightly. In the novel, there was no discussion about why Mr. Knightly was single. It does not seem like that he had any heartbreak. So, why? I think it is reasonable to assume he had not found the “one”. But why? I don’t think we can say he is “picky”, because he really does not seem to be the type of person. I think we can assume that there was no “right” person for him before, and he is too smart to “settle down”, meaning not waiting for the “right person”.
But why is Emma the “right” type of person for him? I think Emma is the “right” type of person for him because first and foremost, she is naïve. She did not realize “women’s place in the society”, so her attitude about “love” is very close to him. Emma thought because she is financially independent, she is basically free, that she could afford not to marry unless she is in love, which is what I have just guessed about Mr. Knightly. But is it true?
Now, as I think about it, two arguments between Emma and Mr. Knightly were caused by their differences surrounding this issue. Obviously, Mr. Knightly is not as naïve as Emma, and he did know “women’s place in the society”. So, in their first argument, he basically adopted worldly view that it is “mad” for women to refuse marriage. But I think Emma’s thoughts shocked him and made him realized Emma is quite different from other women, and he quite liked his discovery, because he realized how similar Emma is to him. In other words, by being “naïve’, Emma is quite a trailblazer and Mr. Knightly is quite a “gentlemen” because not only he was not offended by her, he started to love her.
Here, I like to mention I am not sure the book I read is the version from Jane Austen, because at the end of the book, Mr. Knightly said the he had always loved Emma, since he first saw her. It does not seem to make much sense. Even if Jane Austen did intend so, I still like the movie version more (especially the one with Jeremy Northam, because he did made it clear that Mr. Knightly was not “in love” with Emma in the beginning).
The second argument (about Emma insulting Miss Bates) between them was also caused by misunderstanding. But this time is quite different. There is somewhat a role reversal, as perceived by Mr. Knightly, mistakenly, as Mr. Knightly mistakenly believed that “all is well” between Emma and Frank Churchill. But at the same time, Emma was also mistaken. She thought Mr. Knightly was interested in Jane Fairfax, and started to see her world is shattering before her eyes, and she would not be too much different from Miss Bates, despite of their differences in financial situations. So, how much of her words should be counted as insult? It is a question, and Mr. Knightley’s criticism about her is very much like putting a knife through her heart, and twisting it. Gwyneth Paltrow definitely did an excellent job in this scene (I am quite happy about her performance in this scene and was quite puzzled by people’s comments about her about this movie, and overall. I guess now we know at least some of the reasons.)
But I think this mistake made by Mr. Knightly helped him to understand the situation of Emma more. So, in the end, he was able to empathize with Emma. Here, I like to emphasize the movie version (at least by Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam) did it wrong, not like in the book. In the book, Mr. Knightly told Emma he would move to her home himself, not as in the movie, he responded that he would move to her home when Emma said she could not marry her. I want to emphasize the significant of this difference, because it is very important. This is the basically the key (or secret) of love. Doing things to each other without asking. Basically, it is to anticipate what the other need or want, and do them for the other.
If people want to be really “in love” with each other, they must be able to understand each other. But how much understanding is necessary for people to be able to truly love each other? This is a very pressing question for me right now. My life had deteriorated so much, there is really no reason for me to live (at current condition), except for the hope of experiencing “true love”. But is it even possible for me to find “true love”? I definitely need to think about it very carefully. At this time, I don’t have definite answer yet, I will try to explore this question here (in many posts if I could). In fact, I think I need to reexam pretty much everything said about “love”, and many of the things I will say will definitely shock people.
In fact, I think the problem with “love” is, this concept has been intentionally twisted for the purpose of establishing the control of the world by religion, in various different ways. In fact, at this point, I don’t think it is crazy to say that people have been playing with my life (even with my entire life. I want to emphasize that it is people, not “God” that were playing with my life, if it is true). I don’t know to what extend people’s life had been played, but I am certainly people are been controlled. Many things are not just what we see, there might be layers of stories behind them.
But my attitude is, the best way is the simplest way. If people are following the principles of Love and Reason, and do what is right as much as possible, then things will get better. So, the most effective way is to start from the fundamental. This is why I think it is very important for me to write this post.
As I said, I think it is difficult for people to understand each other, if they are not similarly situated. Generally speaking, men and women are not similarly situated, so it is very difficult for men and women to understand each other (there is even a book called “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus”), so “true love” might be very difficult to find. But is it necessarily so? The key word is equality.
True love means a love that is true. This is simple enough, but it seems most people don’t understand it, especially many men. I think it is fair to say that the history of the world is a history of suppressing women. It seems that men intentionally suppress women because they fear that otherwise women would not “need” them. Well, some women might “need” them for “something”, but do they “love” them? It seems that most people are afraid to ask this question.
A main goal in my posts is to persuade people that doing the right things is for the benefit of myself, even if in the first glance, it benefits others. Here we have a very good example. Emma basically had no other choices other than accept Mr. Knightley’s proposal. In the movie, she said she could not marry Mr. Knightly because of her father. But can she really do so? At least it is a very difficult dilemma, and Mr. Knightly is very wise to help her avoid this dilemma even for his own sake. Why? If he want to be happy, he want to do everything to make her happy, because if she is not happy, he will be affected even if she did agree to marry him.
I might have been going back and forth, repeating or circling around things. But I think it is necessary to emphasize some of the points. At this point, I feel a little strange. Personally, I think it might be better not to marry (actually I am questioning the merit of the concept of “marriage”, especially under the current condition), but I do want to experience “true love”. Jane Austen might have pushed the issue very far, but I want to go further.
It seems the problem of the world has a lot to do with people (who control the world) want to feel their existences by controlling people against their will. But is it the right approach? Would it be better if people do things on their own? The principles of Love and Reason means that there is(are) right way(s) to do things. People should try to do things the ways that make the most sense, not always try to think about what they want. This is why understanding is very important. In fact, if people are similarly situated, and could follow the principles of Love and Reason, then should be able to come to similar conclusions and do things accordingly. Wouldn’t it be great?
The problem is, it seems at least most of the time, people are force to do things against their will, or at least very reluctantly. This will cause resentment and anger, and resistance. So, people who control the world would need to put more pressure on people being controlled, and use all types of trickeries to achieve this goal. It seems that things are really out of control right now. Isn’t it the time to set back and rethink about everything, and try to see if there could be a way that people could all do things on their own?
Why do people have the need to control others, torture them and humiliate them? What is the purpose? To feel their own existence, in the eyes of others? But what kind of existence is it? And, how others will feel about them, really? If there are somethings they want, then what are they? And, do they worth it?
February 17, 2018