I will continue from where I left in my last post. I am going to talk about the question I asked: “can a man and a woman really be friends?”
There are at least two sides to this question. First, I think this question is often asked for the purpose of emphasizing that it is basically impossible for a man and a woman to be just friends. To me, this is nonsense. Of course a man and a woman can be friends. For anyone to doubt it, it means the relationship between men and women are really “messed up”.
But there is another side, which is probably the reason why this question could give people the wrong impression (as stated above), which is, in many cases, a man and a woman will start off as friends and end up as something “more than friends”, just like in “Emma”. This could be a problem when they are “not supposed to be” “more than friends”.
Actually, I asked this question because this question is very relevant to me now. On one side, it is only natural for me wanting to be friend with Philipp Lachenmann. We have similar interests, and our thoughts are quite a like (I will explain it further in my future posts). Obviously we could have a lot to talk about, and certainly I will benefit from talking to him. But I am also convinced that he could be “the one”. I even imagined how great it could be to love and be loved by him.
So, would it be possible or even appropriate to be friend with him? I think this question is quite important because if I conclude that I can be friend with him under the circumstance, then the question “can a man and a woman really be friends” will be answered once for all.
I want to say that this question is very relevant to the subject of “true love”, because I think only if we have good understanding about “true love”, this question will be answered correctly. On the other hand, if men and women cannot be friends, “true love” will only be a day dream.
To be honest, I am a little conflicting on whether and how I can be friends with Philipp Lachenmann (I am not talking about being friendly with him. I hope I would be able to meet him sometime in the future, and I don’t think he is particular against the idea if it is appropriate. What I am talking about here is whether I could be good friends with him.) I cannot deny that part of wanting to be friends with him would have something to do with my feelings for him. But on the other hand, there are some very good reasons to be friends with him.
Here, I want to emphasize that the friendship must make sense otherwise, meaning circumstances will allow it, both people want to, and there are good reasons to be friends. For example, it would be very difficult for me try to be friends with Jeremy Northam, because I don’t really have any chance to meet him. In fact, I don’t even have any contact with him. So, it will be very difficult for me trying to be friends with him. Actually, since I met Philipp Lachenmann, I don’t particularly want to meet Jeremy Northam anymore, because I think that my goal is somewhat accomplished (I may explain this later), although if I happen to have a chance to meet him, and possibly be his friend, I will certainly want to do so. What I am trying to say is, one probably should not be prevented from being friends with someone simple because there might be feelings existed (or possibly evolving) with someone. Let me try to explain.
What if Philipp Lachenmann already found “the one”, would it be appropriate for me to be friends with him? I think this situation would be quite easy, because in this situation, being friends with him might be the “safest”. Let me explain. I have said in my last post that at least in ideal situation, “the one” should be the one that meets every expectation of someone. But this does not prevent him from forming friendships with other people (I will explain further in my later posts).
One might get a feeling that friendship between a man and a woman is some what a “hand down”, because people often say “we are just friends”. The word “just” may give people the impression that it is not very significant. But I think friendship is important because it is less “demanding” because one can be friends with someone based on one particular reason (common interests being the most common one). So, it is not as complicated as “love”, where one could have a full list of expectations that might not so easily being met.
Looking at what I have talked about in my last post, the list of my expectations does not seem to be too overwhelming. But it took me my whole life until this point to actually find someone who could meet these expectations (there might be some “close calls”, but to say with certainty, he is the first), and it turns out he could not be “the one”. Does this mean “true love” is unattainable? Many people have drawn the conclusion on this, but I would not give up on it before I fully understand the situation. So, I am continuing my thoughts.
Looking back, it appears to me that my experiences (my actions and reactions to things happening to me) do seem to fit into a pattern. I think one may say that I am “experimenting” (here, I don’t want this word to mean that I am detached or do things in “cold blood”. I am very much put all myself into each situation) with different ideas of what would be “true love”. What I am saying is I have tried to understand people that I have met (or get to know from TV, or movies etc.) with various combinations of the particular traits I am looking for, and tried to figure out what would be the essential elements on my list.
To date, I have concluded that there are essential elements I cannot eliminate. But I think at certain level, the difference in degree might not matter as much. For example, as I mentioned in my last post, I think Philipp Lachenmann has stronger traits in some key elements (actually, I think he might have stronger traits in all key elements I mentioned) than Jeremey Northam (although it is possible that Jeremy Northam might have stronger traits in some other important elements I did not mention. Again, I am doing this comparison only for the purpose of this thought. I don’t know either one of them enough to actually make the comparison.) But I think I could be happy with either one of them in a relationship if my feelings are returned.
So, I don’t think there is only one person for each one. This kind of talk does seem to have some mystic touch (hence could be perpetuated by people promoting religion.) But it is possible that one person could be more suitable for one particular person in every way, hence more “meant to be” (this could be the case with Philipp Lachenmann, although I cannot be absolute certain. At this time, I only know for sure he is the type of person I am looking for. Since he does not feel the same, he would not be “the one” that “meant to be” after all. So, it does not matter anyway.)
But this might not give people much comfort. Even if one already found “true love”, how could one be sure if there is going to be another “true love” that is “truer”? I think in practice, this problem may not matter much, because as you can see, one would be lucky enough if one can find one, finding two “true love” would be very rare.
“Love” is complicated because there are many details in a relationship. There is no guarantee that even if I meet the person who meets my expectations of the essential elements and he feels the same about me, the relationship will eventually actually “work out.” What I mean is, there might be “deal breakers” that one cannot even anticipate. Although it might be unlikely, but one cannot be sure of it. Actually, in reality, there ought to things that one don’t like about in the other. So, “true love” would still be a balancing act, cannot be perfect.
What I want to say is, if two people are actually in a happy relationship, there is really no incentive for them to seek other possibilities, because the possibility of finding a “better one” might not be great. So, if Philipp Lachenmann is in a relationship that is “true love”, there should not be much problems with me being his friend, as long as I am able to keep a respectable distance from him (speaking of respectful distance, I will use “he” instead of his name in the following unless it is very necessary, because this is a hypothetical discussion in my own head).
But if he is not in a relationship that is “true love”, then there might be problems. Actually, I think it depends on how he thinks about me. If he is not attracted to me, then there probably would not be any problems, because to be “something more than friends”, there ought to be attraction (since I believe he is a “good person”, meaning a person who acts according to the basic principles of Love and Reason, this point would be given), and since there is none, then there is no complication here.
But if he is attracted to me, but don’t think I am “the one” for him, things might get tricky. Could there be at some point both of us become reckless or mistaken, and try to be “more than friends”? With him, I don’t really see this happening. Even if he is in a relationship that cannot be strictly considered as “true love”, if it is a stable relationship, then he must value the relationship and respect her (I really felt respect and care from him, which made me trust him instinctively) and do not want to hurt his relationship and friendship unless there is a good reason to. This why my list of expectations makes sense. Even though (and even if) I did not find “true love”, it may be possible I could gain a good friend.
But is it possible that he did not rule out that I could be “the one”, but since he is in a relationship now (but is not exactly “true love”), and want to keep distance from me because he is not sure what to do? I don’t think it is entirely impossible, although at least I would say this might not be the case. But if this is the case, and after we become friends, he decides to be with me instead, would it be wrong?
I think in the society now, people might not condemn it as “sin”. But is it “morally wrong” somehow, and becomes the argument against friendship between men and women?
Not too long ago, I had a discussion in Jeremy Northam’s facebook fan group about a movie “Possession”. In this movie, Jeremy Northam played a Victoria era poet named Ash that had an affair with another poet named Christabel. I had some strong words about the story, because I think the story line was quite confusing and contradictory. I mention this here because I want to use this story to further illustrate my point about “true love”.
The story has a pretty strange setup where Ash loved his wife but was not physically intimate with his wife. After he met Christabel and started communications with her, he decided to meet her to taste “physical love” with her. I don’t really agree with what the story suggested that there are different kinds of love, and one can love different persons at the same time in different ways (in other words, I don’t think there is an actual dilemma about “love” in this story). But I do think the story can be seen metaphorically as indication of a practical “dilemma” of “love”.
As I have just said, I don’t think “perfect love” exists. There ought to be things in a person that the other don’t like very much. It seems that this could turn into huge problems for some people. Or the problem can be presented in another way, people might find different things in people that they like, and want to people who possess all the things they like, but are unable to (in some sense, one can say we all have this problem in some degree).
In short, this is the scenario that “true love” is impossible, so people “compromise” and trying to find “love” in different people. I don’t think it is a good idea. But I don’t want to treat this as a “moral issue” (one key point of my posts is to denounce the “moral system” as we know it, and focusing on the principles of Love and Reason instead), I want to illustrate why this is not a good idea by indicating that it is against the principles of Love and Reason.
Here, I am not going to talk about all the details (this is certainly a big topic, cannot be completely done in one post. But I will definitely come back to it in later posts, I am only going to point out some key things here.) First, I want to say although I just said I don’t want to treat it as a “moral issue”, there is a key element that is traditionally a “moral issue”, which is being truthful. When I talk about this topic, I don’t think I am making too many shocking statements here, but I want to talk about this topic from the point of view of the principles of Love and Reason, so it is not completely consistent with “traditional view”.
So, when talking about “true love”, the word “true” needs to be emphasized. So, basically, when talk about “love”, I want to replace the emphases of being “faithful” with being “truthful”. What does “faithful” even mean? I have to say it is either ambiguous or full of none sense (I have talk about this in my earlier post, I probably will talk about it later again.)
Being “truthful” has at least two meanings. First, one needs to be truthful about one’s feelings and actions to the “significant other” (this is the case here in the story of the movie). Second, one needs to be “truthful” towards oneself. I think the first point is not very surprising. But I want to explain the reason for doing so based on the principles of Love and Reason.
I have said that “love” is conditional. This means one cannot truly “love” someone if the feeling is not returned. This seems to be a simple fact because it gets muddy all the time (as I said, religion must have a lot to do with it). If one cannot be truthful about whether one “love” or “not love” the other, then how can there be “true love”?
In my previous posts, I have mentioned the difference between being “truthful” as a “moral issue” and the importance of being “truthful” based on the principles of Love and Reason. I want to make this point clear again here as well. The purpose for being “truthful” is for other people to be able to make reasonable decisions under the circumstances. Although one should try to be truthful as much as one could, the culpability of “not being truthful” would be different, especially if one is simply withhold information to people who would not be affected significantly (I have talk about this point in my previous posts, related to the story of Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax, although one could argue that the effects on people are not very easily determined, as illustrated in their story. So, being “truthful” is very important under all circumstances. But when people make judgment, context is important.)
The other point is one should be “truthful” to oneself. I think this point is especially important for the story in “Possession”. I only watch the movie, have not had the chance to read the novel (I started it, but I have not finished it. So, I will not talk about here now.) So I don’t really know the details of how Ash and his wife “loved” each other. Are they truly “love” each other? To me, it is incomprehensible how Ash’s wife did not want to be physically intimate with her husband, and how Ash was ok with it. In fact, he was not ok with it. This is why he had an affair with Christabel. And, what was the purpose of Christabel when she agreed with their “arrangement”?
I think one key cause of the problems in the world is people often are compromising with things too easily. At the same time, they are trying too hard to hang on things that are not very important to them. The same is the case for them with “love”. The root cause is they are not very “truthful” with themselves, and are confused by various “concepts” and “rules” that are confusing and unreasonable.
As I think about it, the situation with Ash and Christabel may also have a lot to do with misunderstanding about “love”, or even disbelieve of “true love”. I have to finish the novel, in order to comment further, because the movie does not have enough details to fully understand the scenario. What I am trying to say is, the reason I replace “romantic love” with “intimate love” is because “romantic love” originating from “gothic love”, often can be sustained by one’s own imagination. In this case, may be Ash had had his women where he wanted, and perhaps this situation is not different from many men in the world right now?
Ok, I want to go back to my topic of friendship between men and women, and look at myself “truthfully”. This situation is quite complicated. I want to be friends with Philipp Lachenman for at least three different reasons (in addition to just wanting to be friends with him). First, I am basically a fan girl, completely in WOW of his works. I want to have the experience of talking to him, witness his greatness. Second, I am greatly influenced by him, and hoping to be able to talk him, and learn from him. Third, I want to figure out how he thinks about me. This will have at least two parts. First, I want to know whether my feelings ignited by his reactions to my comment was mostly due to me liking him as a person, so his reaction to me could have amplified effects on me, or if he is actually stunned by my comment. Second, does he think I am his “soul mate” (in the sense of I understand him very well.)?
But do I secretly hope that by getting to know me better, he could change his mind, and wanting to be “more than friends” with me? I cannot say I am completely free of this thought (under ordinary circumstances, I definitely would not have this thought. But this situation is quite complicated, or so it seems.) But I don’t think this is very healthy for me (or anyone under the circumstance.) But could I help it?
I think if his reaction to me was amplified by how much I liked him, I think I should be able to figure out quickly. At this time, my conclusion is this could be the case, but I seem to need a little more convincing. I think it is possible his reaction to me is generated by him reading too much into my comment (thinking that I am his “soul mate”, as in close friend kind of context, but later becomes disappointed. Actually the way he responded to my comment is quite interesting. I will talk about it more in my next post), or maybe he is just a passionate person, and his nature reaction to my comment is proportional to my comment? Anyway, I am still puzzling about this, and quite curious about what is the “truth” (this reason is a significant portion of my interests in being friend with him. So, at this point, I think being friend with him would be healthy.)
I am pretty confident that I am capable of being “truthful” to myself (to relatively a healthy degree). So, I think it is possible for me to be close friend with him. But under the circumstance (we are not exactly running in the same circle), probably not, unless he does think I am his “soul mate” (in the context of being friends. I will write about it in my next post, about “understanding”.)
But I do think after the thought process in the post, I have established that men and women can be close friends if otherwise it makes a lot of sense. It is possible if they can be “truthful” to others and themselves.
I think the problem with the relationship between men and women has a lot to do with the emphasis on “moral issues”. For example, instead of emphasizing on being “truthful”, people (it seems that mostly women) are emphasizing on being “faithful”. Therefore, the shadow of the possibility of being “something more than friends” often hinders the possibility of men and women being friends. As the results, “friendship” between men and women often becomes a “dirty word” because “good people” often are shying away from it, and often people with “suspicious intentions” would use it to cover their intentions. This could become a spiral downward arrow and doom the possibility of men and women being friends all together. Lack of understanding due to lack of communication often cause men to objectify women, thinking about women only in the context of “object of desire”.
Sadly enough, it is mostly women that enforce the mechanism that dooms their own fate. Women in a committed relationship (especially marriage) would want to protect their “vested interests” hence emphasize the importance of “being faithful”. Hence created the social condition that traps women in the position that their only hope is to find a husband that would be capable of “protecting” them and would be “faithful” to them. In order to achieve this goal, they would often compromise in various ways. Hence “true love” becomes basically “impossible”.
If we look at the bigger picture, we can see that this problem could be the true cause of the most problems in the world. For example, in order to be “good providers”, men would often feel the need to compromise their integrity which sustains the “power structure” in the society that is arbitrary and only “benefit” (I put on a quotation mark because how much they are benefited is a good question. I will write more about it later) a few.
July 23, 2018