I want to continue with where I left in my last post. Is it possible everyone can do what they like to do? I think if every can follow the principles of Love and Reason, it is possible. This means if everyone knows what is “love”, and follow rules based on reasons.
What is “love”? I might have answered this question many times with different answers. Here, I want to give another different one. I think I can say people are in “love” when the sight or the very existence of someone will make one happy. Now as I think about it, this definition can applies to any kinds of love, not just “intimate love”. It can even apply to “self love”. If one is not happy being alive, then I can’t see the reason to live. Recently, I have started to think about this.
I have not thought about this point, at least not for a very long time. But isn’t it the source of all the problems in the world? It seems for some reason, people who loath themselves, or even hate themselves are controlling the world, and made everyone miserable. I guess I was living in a babble. Somehow, I was able to live a life at least in some sense stay clear of the layers of darkness in the world for a long time (I know there are darkness in the world, but I did not link them to my own life too often). But my recent experiences made me realized that how naïve I was. There are seems to be unfathomable darkness just under the surface, and the darkness is trying to eat me alive now.
How many people are living dead (or, should I say how many people are actually living)? As I can only guess what happened under the surface based on what happened in day light, I am still very clueless. But to be honest, I don’t think I need to apologize for my ignorant, and perhaps I am very proud of it. Perhaps this attitude itself caused people behind the scene to torture me more?
Ok, I am going back to talk about “love” now. I think the problems with “love” have a lot to do with making too much distinction between friendly love and “intimate love”. Of course not all friendly love can turn into “intimate love”, there are sexual and various different kinds of emotional elements in it. But I just cannot see how “intimate love” can work well without friendly love.
I think the point of equality is building friendship between men and women. If men cannot see women as their equal, and cannot treat them as friends, then equality is impossible. Building friendship is not just for the benefit of women. I think men will benefit as well. I don’t think I am wrong to say one of the biggest problems that men face related to “intimate love” is how to understand women. Trying to be friends with women seems to be a very obvious answer.
At this point, I started to question whether many people do what they do on their own, or playing roles out of scripts. Assuming they are not, or majority of them are not, then perhaps more men should try to be friends with women? I always try to be friends with men that I like but they don’t feel the same, or vice versa (although I am more selective in this case. It is not a word I throw around, I mean it in true sense). I have to confess I am not very good at it. It could be tricky when people want to be more than friends, because if not done correctly, one could feel over bearing or being taken advantage of. I was never able to have a proper friendship with someone when either him or I had feelings (but I have had good friendship with men sometimes). But I don’t think I will stop trying. I think it is a good opportunity for me to learn about Love and Reason.
I think it is necessary to dissect the difference between “friendly love” and “intimate love”. Perhaps we can learn what is wrong with the concept of “love” as we know it. There is definitely something wrong with the concept of “love”, a lot. I think at least most people know that the “Bible” had contributed the problems in the world to “wisdom” (or “free will”, or the “will” to exercise the “free will”). But I don’t think it is true. It is true that people might have learned that they can get most of the things in life through violence, domination, manipulation, etc. But it is not possible to get “true love” through these means. People can be fooled into “love” someone out of ignorance or being naïve. But it is not “true love”. People can be forced into “love” someone out of fear. But it is not “true love”, and “true love” is the only thing that really matters.
So, it is trickery, ignorance and fear (among other things) that are causes of the problems in the world. Wisdom could solve problems, not cause problems. We can see how manipulative the “Bible” is. Now I want to talk about the difference between ignorance and being naïve. Ignorance is disregarding the facts (or truth) or choosing not to acknowledge the facts (or truth). Naïve is not knowing the facts (or the “rules”, mostly unreasonable “rules” that the world is operating and operated on). I don’t think we can call someone naïve, if they don’t know the truth. Or, maybe it depends on how we define truth. My definition of truth is it is the fundamental rule that world operates on. Actually, it should be “truths”, because it is Love and Reason.
So, Emma is not ignorant or “clueless”, she is naïve, when she thought women (like her) need not depend on men. But should women depend on men? No and yes. Women should not depend on men without men depend on women. This is why friendship is important. Friendship put people in equal footing. So, if all men and women can be friends with each other, equality is possible.
Think about it, everything happens between Emma and Mr. Knightley (without the portion of having intimate feelings for each other) would be “uneventful” if they are in the same gender (not thinking about “love” within the same gender). It is a story, and very important story because they are not.
But is marriage necessary? People might say that marriage is a lie and feel being cheated because the promise of “forever love” often is broken. But I would not call it a lie because it is a promise about the future that one cannot predict. Or, is it? It depends on what kinds of “love”, and how people feel about each other. I think friendship is easier to maintain if there is a solid foundation. But can a friendship without “intimate love” sustain a marriage?
You can say I run into all kinds of trouble because I think too highly of myself, because I always manage to ask questions that people trying very hard to avoid. I think it is the opposite. I think the problem is people think too low of themselves. It seems to me that most of the time, people are getting paid (or getting benefits in some ways) not because they are smart (they usually are), but because they pretend to be foolish or at least ignorant on some important things. So, the problem is not that there are evil people (it seems that there are, I have to admit now. But I still think the “evil” is built up in the system, not fixed characteristics of certain people), but people who pretend they can do nothing about it, and people think they are justified to do what they do are culpable.
Well, it seems I kept going off track talking about things other than “love”. I do think they are relevant, so I kept these writings. But I do want to warn people that at this point, I basically concluded that it is impossible for me to find “true love”, because it is quite clear that there are multiple traps targeting me (or even my entire life is being setup to torture me). The minute I thought I am off one, there are even more deadly ones waiting for me, and took me off guard. I really feel there are people who are waiting for me to take my own life. I am not willing to do so, and I still have some fires to burn, I will do my best to say what I try to say. But I am worried I might not be able to finish my writings.
Ok, going back to the subject of marriage. Again, I want to say these are just my own opinions, and since I had a very bizarre life, I don’t know how valuable my opinions are. But at this point, I suspect many people’s lives are not much better, perhaps even worse, could be much worse (at least in some ways). So, I am writing down my thoughts in case they are useful to some people.
At this point, I realized that I am truly what people called “a book worm”. My mind is formed fundamentally by reading books (although I did not read a lot of books, just read them very carefully, taking them more to my heart than many others) that contains people’s thoughts on how the world should be, and I don’t have much knowledge of how the world really is. Ok, I am deal with my self doubt, but I will continue with my writings.
“Love” is complicated because it is often intertwined with “marriage”, and “marriage” is not just about “love”. It is first and foremost a contract, a financial arrangement. And there are often children involved, and there are many other things related to it. In an ideal situation, “love” will be concurrent with marriage. But often times, this is not the case. When I deal with emotions, I am in the camp of “all or nothing”. If there is no “love”, I don’t think marriage should last. At least people would agree that marriage without “love” is very problematic. But loss of “love”, and breaking up of marriage can be very devastating. How to deal with it? I think if the couple is really being friend with each other, it will be less painful and less trouble. Ultimately, no one wants to be with someone who is not loving, and unreasonable. But how to really get to know each other, to know each other’s true characters? Being friends will be a very good start.
There seems to be a concern that start off with being friends will somehow lost the “sparks” for “intimate love”. One could even say that “Emma” could be part to blame (mistakenly, I think). Is it true? I don’t think so. If “love” is emotional attachment, then how could familiarly as the result of friendship be a bad thing? I think people (mostly men) mostly resist the idea of being friends because they could not see women as equal, or even their interests in women are mostly physical (sexual).
I cannot deny physical attraction is necessary for “intimate love”. But it seems to me that it is relatively easy to find people who one (myself included) finds attracted to than the “one” (at this point, I still think there could be more than “one” person for one particular person). The really difference is what could last. In my early posts, I talked about “love” is a choice. What I meant is, at least in real life, there might be multiple people who could be the “one” (but I cannot rule out the possibility there might not be anyone for certain people as well), but not quite “the perfect one” (I have to admit not too long ago, I met someone briefly who seems very much could be the “perfect one” for me, although I am not sure how much of it is imagined and how much of it is real. I have to admit, it is something I have never felt before, and I am basically freaked out and devastated at the same time.) So, to “love” is to make a choice accepting “one” that one thinks “will do”. This might seems to be very depressing. But what I meant is, no one could be prefect, and no one person could be the perfect “one” as well. There will be people who are “good” (or in other words, more suitable) in some ways, and there will be people who are more suitable in some other ways. To choose one, not the other, is to make a choice, and whether “love” can last depends on whether one made a “wise” choice.
Since I am not a person who was able to make a “wise” choice, I will voice my defense for people who are not able to make “wise” choices. Yes, it is true that changing one’s mind without any provoking reasons could cause the other confusions, and pains. But I don’t think it necessarily means moral wrong has been committed. People might have trouble understand themselves, and people might not be able to understand other people as much as they thought they have. In other words, people can make mistakes when choosing “the one”. If it is an honest mistake (or even changing their mind without being cruel or unreasonable), I don’t think it should be considered as reflections of people’s “moral characters”.
Ok, now I think I am ready to say what I think is the problem with “love” (or the problem most people, or by people, I mean mostly women, are complaining about). Since I am not able to fully test it out in practice, I can only offer my thoughts without any attempt to persuade people that what I say is the truth. Ok, here I am. I think problem with “love”, or the problem about the evasiveness of “everlasting love” is caused by the fact that men and women are not equally situated, and there are many misconceptions with the concept of “love” (since it is a big subject, I probably would not be able to complete my thoughts in the post. But I will try to write more in my future posts.)
Again, I want to emphasize the word “understanding”. I think the problems with “love” are related to the facts that people are not based their “love” on “understanding”. Actually, I suspect in practice, ‘love” often occurred as the results of exchanging certain things, or based on their consideration mostly on other things, for example, youth and beauty (this is why women often find “change of heart” is a “moral issue”, as they could consider men having “change of heart” are not holding up their end of the bargains). I don’t think I am the only person who thinks “understanding” is the most important things to build “everlasting love”. But I think people give up too easily on the importance of it, because they think it is just impossible.
I don’t think it is impossible. I think it is impossible because people intentionally made it impossible. Look at pretty everything in culture, in the society, there are signs that people deliberately try to make men and women to think differently, and try to situate them differently as well. It is a systematic effort through generations. But I think it is time to stop doing so.
Think about it. Who will benefit from this division? No one. Let me recount what is happening now. Because men and women are not equally situated, they cannot truly understand each other, so there could not be “true love”, so there cannot be true happiness. So, they often look for substitutes, and in doing so, often end up torturing each other.
Here, I want to mention the difference between “understanding” and “manipulation”. I want to point out, without equally, “true love” based on understanding is basically impossible, even though sometimes it appears it might be possible. The purpose of “understanding” is to direct actions, and people act to protect their self-interests. If men and women are not equally situated, they could not reach the “understanding” that will lead to “true love”, and there could be time one could mislead the other about the true intention.
But as I think about it, although as a society in general, men and women are not similarly situated, there could be time a men and a woman could take things into their own hands and change things for themselves. I think “Emma” is a good example. Emma made efforts to be independent and useful, and Mr. Knightly also breaks from the norm and embrace her efforts.
I want to talk about this point a little more. I am reading (very slowly) a book “Ethics” (extracts of texts from many philosophers, edited by Petr Singer, by Oxford University Press), some of the comments I made in my earlier posts are related to this reading, and I found out David Hume basically said the same thing about Love and Reason, although he did explicitly emphasize they should be the fundamental principles of Humanism (at least based on my understanding), the “ultimate truth”. But I mention this book because I want to talk about “duty” that Immanuel Kant talked about in “The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals and Critique of Practical Reason”. I don’t think I have read books about Ethics before. The main reason is, I am against the idea that Ethics is about “duty” as described by Kant. I don’t know if anybody had said anything before on this, but it seems to me that what Kant said very much echoed thoughts of Confucius or mostly Mencius, and I am very much turned off by them. As I have said multiple times in my posts here, I believe the only basic rules should be Love and Reason, and there should not be other unmovable rules such as “duty”.
What I am trying to say is, I don’t think what Mr. Knightly did (moving to live with Emma and her father) is out of “moral rules” (meaning he did it out of “duty”), but ultimately for his own self-interests, because it is the right thing to do under the circumstance. Ultimately men do need women, as much as women need men. So, reasonably loving men should peel away the “privileges” giving by culture and society, and put themselves in the eyes of women, try to think from their point of view, in order to understand them, and do things accordingly. If enough men are doing so, things will change. Love is possible.
March 2, 2018