I want to talk about “true-love” in this post, as promised from my last post. But I want to add a few words to the subject of “identity” that I have talked about in my last post.
First, I want to re-emphasis that if we talk about discrimination by talking about “identity”, we are still in the realm of “discrimination”, because as I stated in my last post, the meaning of “identity” strictly speaking is toward one particular person. So, if we talk about “identity” in the sense of many people sharing the same characteristics, we are in danger of objectify them, because only if we are indifference of them, we would fail to see and acknowledge their individualities.
Second, discrimination is bad not just because it means treating people being discriminated unfairly, also because it insults human dignity, and violated the basic principles of Love and Reason. Unless this point is taken by heart by everybody, the problem with discrimination cannot be solved. As I have said in my last post, it seems that we have all been brainwashed and feel the need to feel superior to others (possibly a by-product of “merit based system”. But if we look at the matter closely, it can only be the result of a “merit based system” that is not very fair.)
Actually, if we really look at the matter from the point of “merit based system”, it makes even less sense. If a group of people that can be categorized together are doing things in certain ways, what does this mean? I think it is quite reasonable to assume that their behaviors are caused by “circumstances”. In other words, their behaviors are the “reactions” to “circumstances”, do not have too much to do with their “merits”. Although we cannot make this kind of generalizations to the extreme, I think people do need to consider this very carefully.
As I said, I don’t think judging people is wrong. But most of time people judging others when they do not have enough information to form a reasonable conclusion, because most of the time, people just don’t know enough about other people to make the judgement. For example, I have mentioned that Mr. Knightley’s criticisms about Emma might not make as much sense as it seems to be, if we consider things carefully from Emma’s point of view (Mr. Knightley supposedly knows Emma very well, although he did not understand all the circumstances led to her actions. This means to judge people fairly is very difficult.) However, making judgement about things does not necessary have this problem (if we are careful enough and not biased.) This is why I think make judgement should mostly be about things, not people.
But when we talk about “love” (as in “intimate love”), it is all about making judgment about a person (I don’t agree that “love” is “unconditional”. Yes, everyone should have “Love” for humanity, and this kind of “Love” should be unconditional. But “intimate love” is very much conditional, it is a simple fact that quite strangely people often try to deny it). But I actually think it is a good thing because it could be the motive of trying to a “good person” (a person who follows the principles of Love and Reason) so one could be “worthy” of being “loved” and it could be a very positive thing (but ultimately, I think trying to “prove” to “oneself” that one is “worthy”, meaning “self love” might be more important motive for people to be a “good person”.)
But I also said that “love” is not a competition. Am I contradicting myself? I don’t think so. I think being a “good person” should be a “necessary condition” for people to find “love” and be found by “love”. But beyond this, finding the “one and only” should not be about “who is better”, but how “compatible” the two persons are.
Now, I have decided to talk about my personal experience not too long ago (I mentioned it in my previous post briefly). Although the experience was very brief and quite simple (in some sense), I want to talk about it because I think it will be very helpful for me to explain the points I want to make (I think it is difficult to do in depth analysis based on other people’s experience because I cannot really know their feelings in detail) because it is very special. I think it will help me to explain my thoughts about “love”, “true love”, “soul mate”, understanding, and friendship clearly (actually, I can talk about many things from here).
Here, I want to say that “true love” should not be considered very different from “love”. I often say that “love” is very complicated, but I also said that “love” should be simple. Again, I don’t think I am contradicting myself. If we talk about one particular occasion, then it is quite simple because it is either “love” or not “love”. The need to emphasis on “true love” is because people often make mistake about “love” due to various reasons (confusions about the concept of “love” is one the most important reasons, being forced to make decisions about “love” is another, etc.)
There are many things related to “love”, even for what makes “love” as it is. Ok, now, I will talk about my experience not too long ago. I am not a person who “believes” “love at first sight”, but this experience is quite close. So, I will talk about it now, to talk about my thoughts on “love at first sight” as well.
Last year, I went to an art exhibit because I received an invitation for an event for this show. I checked out the website of the artist (Philipp Lachenmann), and immediately found it very interesting. I even had an idea that later becomes a project! I went to the show, and was really drawn by it. I found the works very elegant and simple, yet at the same time, I just had a feeling they are also very profound. I found them seem to have meanings that I cannot quite understand. I wanted to find out more about the work, I thought it might be very helpful to talk with the artist, to help me understand the works. I found out the artist was not there at the time, but he would be at the gallery a few days later. I went back, and found him talking to a friend. I asked if I could join them, was allowed to.
I want to explain that at this time, I have no personal interests towards him at all. Yes, the way he looks and his manner are very much my type. I even found him beautiful. Yes, I think this is the best word to describe him, because he has certain simple elegance and profoundness (just like his work) that radiates from within. But at that time, I had decided to “lock myself up”, not to pay attention to any men.
The year before last year, I had become a fan of Jeremy Northam. I even thought he might be the person I was looking for (I want to explain that in real life, I was and I am not actively looking for anyone. But in my mind, I do have a lot of thoughts on what type of men could be “the one”) because he seems to have all the qualities I would be looking for in a man (more about this later), I even tried to meet him, to see if there could be any “chemistry” (I did not have a chance to meet him). But later, I started to think I might not be his type. I decided to clear my head a little because as I reflected on my thoughts, I did realize what happened to me (and my reactions) are not quite “normal” (There are quite many things in my life that are not very “normal” lately.) Then, I met an artist from my art related activity, who was very nice to me. Although I met him because of professional activity, somehow, I started to wonder if he might be interested in me, and started to think about what I would think about it. I love his work. I cannot say there is no chemistry between us, and we get along quite well. But somehow, I just cannot see him as “the one”. I initially thought may be I wanted to get to know him a little more before I would make a decision. But, then, I just could not see the point of it if it meant that I could mislead him. This indecision was quite exhausting, because this occasion is probably the closest occasion for me to have a possibility of having relationship with someone in recent years, I took it quite seriously.
I decided not to explore the possibility. But the day before I met Philipp Lachenmann, I met this artist again, and he was very warm to me, which made me feel bad. I don’t think I changed my mind, but I was quite occupied in my mind. I have said to myself, I should really keep quiet and clear my mind a little.
My point is, it was definitely not “love at the first sight” when I met Philipp Lachenmann. But then something happened. He was explaining one of his works, a photo of a bird. Right after he explained the inspiration for it, I just burst out (basically an instinctive reaction to his explanation): “Is it you?” And, his reaction to my comment really shocked me. Actually, it was not really what he said, but his attitude. He started to speak to me in such warmth and openness that I have never experienced in my life! It felt like he opened his heart to me! Well, what he said is quite important too, as he was explaining to me his light sculpture of Einstein’s famous equation with parentheses is to indicate that things should be considered in their contexts (I have been saying the same thing for many years)!
Can you blame me if my head explored? Well, not quite. But the lock I have put on myself definitely disappeared (or starting to disappear. As I reflect on that moment, I think I felt his warmth and openness although my mind did not quite catch up what was going on. I found my reactions to things are quite slow in general). I did immediately feel very close to him, I even felt as if I have known him for many years (but probably my actions did not express my feelings very much. I think I acted pretty awkward at the moment.) As I think about it, the way he was speaking to me almost felt like “love”, as if he lay his heart bare to me (only when I was once in love, I felt the same kind of reaction from someone.)
I don’t think he is “in love” with me, and my other comments got different reactions from him, from frowns to puzzling expressions to pondering to reactions similar to what I had just experienced. But I can definitely tell he is a very passionate person. I had a lot of questions about his work, and don’t know some references he made about modern art history. I decided to go back again to view his work one more time at the last day of the show (the only time I could) and hoping to ask him more questions. Since it was the last day of the show, he was quite busy. But I was able to listen (without having much opportunity to talk to him) when he was explaining his works to his friends and did get better understanding of his work.
At the last day of his show, I was quite attached to it. I walked around the works, and even the place seemed quite “magical”. By that time, I had gotten better understanding of his work (although after I came back and thinking about them more, I had even better understandings. But there are still a lot I don’t think I quite understand.) His works seem simple, but are so profound! I found this exhibit very personally to me (this feeling growing stronger the more I think about them.) Not only I am interested in the subject matters, they will lead to directions I feel very strongly about. Sometimes, I felt that his works are directly speaking to me, and freaked out a little.
Is he my “soul mate”? Well, it depends on the definition of “soul mate”. Actually, from my point of view, he seems to fit every definition of “soul mate” for me. I can tell he is a very curious person, has very broad interests, and our points of views seem to be very similar in various fundamental levels. But what draws me most is his passion, his reactions to what I said really shocked me. He was so open and so warm. Or, should I say it is his child-like sweetness, with simplicity and naïve-ness? But I also feel he is very deep and grow-up like. The way he talked to me is with so much respect and care. I just feel very peaceful and calm when I think about him, as if we belong together, he is my anchor, he is the one I am looking for. Basically, he is everything I wanted and more. In fact, if I were to make a person from what I want, I might not be able to make someone like him (well, I certainly cannot make someone who can produce these many great works. Did I mention I think he is the greatest artist? I really think so.)
But is he my “soul mate”? I don’t know. I have not been able to talk to him since. In the past, whenever I am interested in someone, I would want to talk to him. But this time, I am not as eager (well, it is quite difficult to explain). I think it is because in the past, I was eager to find out whether he could be the “one”. But this time, it is different. I already know he could.
This experience is not exactly “love at first sight”. But it does mean that it is possible for me to decide that someone could be “the one” very quickly, although this situation is very unique (I think this is the only way that I can accept that “love at first sight” is possible). Does it mean I found “the one”? Not really.
I said I was devastated because I don’t think he felt the same towards me. Where could be the problem? I can go back to my process of making the decision about “the one”, and see if the same process could be applied to him. I don’t think so. I don’t know what qualities he would look for in finding “the one”. But even if he is looking for a person with the same qualities as I have, I still doubt he could make the decision as I could. First of all, I don’t think he knows enough about me. Through his show, I have known a lot about him. This is a very unique experience and he does not have the same opportunity (I suppose).
Even my interactions with him may not have the same weight to him. To me, his reaction to my comment was what “cracked me open”. I don’t think there is something similar in my actions that can carry the same weight. Yes, he might find my comment very shocking as if I am his “soul mate” (as I thought about his work further, my comment was very on point. This is probably why he had such a strong reaction), but I don’t think this is enough for him to decide that I am “the one” (I think my later comments might have disappointed him.)
Besides, he might already have found “the one”, and this is very much possible the case here. This leads to a question. Could one have more than “one” of “the one”? I did not use “soul mate” here because the term “soul mate” could be ambiguous, and I don’t want to talk about it in this moment.
I said I thought Jeremy Northam could be “the one” for me. But then, I think Philipp Lachenmann could be “the one”. How can I explain this? I did not have a chance to meet Jeremy Northam. So, what I said about him could be “the one” is not the same thing as what I have just said about Philipp Lachenmann here.
As neither one of them is actually interested in me, I can only say what I feel from my point of view in hypothetical. As I don’t know either one of them enough, what I am saying now does not have definitive values, it is just for the sake of making my points here. As of now, I envision Philipp Lachenmann more as “the one” for me than Jeremy Northam. Besides the obvious common interests in art and philosophy, I think we do “think alike” in some fundamental level (it is a little different from my experience with my ex-boyfriend, that we can finish each other’s sentences, this is something more fundamental), that in some way, we are the same type of persons (maybe our value systems are quite similar? At this time, I feel it, but I cannot say for sure what it is.)
I don’t think I have the same kind of personality as Philipp Lachenmann. In fact, in some way, I feel I am more in common in personality with Philipp Lachenmann, and in some other way, I feel I am more in common in personality with Jeremy Northam. But I don’t think I am very similar in personality with either one of them, even though they are both the type of persons that I think could be “the one” for me. If I were to make a comparison, I think Philipp Lachenmann probably have higher degree of more key qualities I want in a man than Jeremy Northam, although Jeremy Northam might have some higher degree of some other key qualities I want in a man.
One point I like to make is, I don’t think this kind of judgment is about who is “better” (at least not in very obvious ways), but is about who is more compatible. Another point I want to make is, if I am actually “in love” with either one of them (or someone similar to them), I think it would be “true love” and “forever love” (I said “likely”, because I cannot rule out that later we could find out things that make us not “compatible”, although it would not have much to do with “merit”, although it would be unlikely) looking from my point of view, even if I later I might meet someone who meet my expectation more (actually, I am now in doubt whether there will be a man who will meet my expectation more. This is why I am quite devastated.)
I think “love” should be relatively “stable” and “reliable” if it is “true love”, when one don’t think anything is particularly missing (although one should not assume it is guaranteed). But it could often not be the case. For example, the person I think could be “the one” for me did not share this thought. If I decided to develop a relationship with the other artist (and if he agreed with me), then most likely there would be problems because as I said, I felt something would be missing. (Again, I want to say, it is not a comparison about who is “better”. This artist is quite accomplished, and I do love his work. I don’t think that my view that Philipp Lachenmann is the greatest artist carries too much weight when I decided he could be “the one”. I might talk more about it later.)
[What I did in this post is basically describing the situation. I expect to analysis and comment on it in multiple posts later.]
I don’t think it is normal we have to emphasize “true love”, as if it is something very rare (but it probably is in fact quite rare in this world). This is a problem in the world, and possibly caused many other problems in the world. But it is possible to solve this problem? I don’t think this problem cannot be solved. However, it might need considerable efforts from all people.
To start, I think we need to change the relationship between men and women in general. Of all the discrimination in the world, discrimination of women is the most deeply rooted and most complicated. Without solving this problem, other problems would not be solved.
To illustrate the problem, I will just ask a question that is often asked: “can a man and a woman really be friend?”
I will stop here and continue in my next post.
July 12, 2018