Saturday, May 11, 2013

Random Thoughts - Love_Lust

Love, as we know today was invented by the English(along with ambition and happiness) and in particular by Shakespeare. So says this article. I don't have much idea and I haven't read Shakespeare in original. But according to the author;

Today, of course, this most powerful feeling is familiar everywhere within the so-called "Western" civilization (which includes all societies based on monotheistic religion, i.e., Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and it has penetrated into other civilizations as well

That certainly carries some weight in Indian context as one can observe that the passionate love songs in Hindi movies are the works of poets with Islamic background (including Atheists and Hindus with education in Urdu).

Anyway, non-articulation of this emotion need not mean non-existence of it in other societies (but for practical purposes could be as good as non-existent) or in England prior to the sixteenth century.

The characteristic of true love that Shakespeare stresses in this sonnet is its unchanging nature: it is one-in-a-lifetime passion. Admit it: this is what we all want, however difficult it proves for most of us to find. Those who argue that our desires are genetically, and therefore, evolutionarily determined, should consider that; it is far more likely that we share our genetic endowment with the clearly polygamous apes, than with species genetically remote from us, such as wolves, penguins, or swans, who mate for life. Yet, we long for a monogamous lifetime relationship.

I guess here the author confuses love with lust. However, I believe even a person in love can fall in love again with some other person simultaneously. Didn't Levin fall in love with Anna when he was still passionately in love with Kitty? In the case of unfaithfulness in lust, when a person lusts after more than one person, it requires action from his/her part to truly become unfaithful. However, unfaithful love is a natural phenomenon as it doesn't require any physical contact. It's easier to become unfaithful in love than in lust. There exists freewill in lust but not in love.

But I believe one-in-a-lifetime passion isn't supported by the "scientific" studies too. I guess it's been measured that love lasts only for one and half years and after that one needs regular sex or some mutual work to keep that oxytocin running in the relationship. But of course, the narrative could be changed if it's always in love and not always in love with one person.

Then the author ends with this absolute mystical flourish. I suppose the field of psychology badly needs scientific validity just like psychiatry so as not to get into these unverifiable.

In short, love makes it possible for every one of us to find one’s proper place in the world and to define oneself. It leads one to the discovery of one’s true identity (we often say that we find true understanding in the loved one, someone who really understands us): one’s identity, one’s true self is found in another person, in what he or she sees in one. This other person, immediately recognized (thus true love is love at first sight), then is recognized as one’s destiny, the One, and finding love at once also becomes self-realization, giving meaning to life as a whole.

The way I see it the feelings of love and lust could be felt from your early childhood. The passion could only go up when one reaches his/her puberty but I believe one can distinguish between love and lust even before that. Also, even after coming of age, the raging hormones don't adulterate the feeling of love. However, since the society around doesn't articulate it for you, probably, one could be confused about those feelings and could think it's another form of lust. I'm not sure the idea of understanding or identity influencing coming into picture in any of these. 

4 comments:

anilkurup said...

Pantheistic religions and faiths , pointedly Hinduism too have had men who crafted unparalleled stories and poems of love and or lust. haven't they?
Take Kalidas for instance, Kabir Das ( though his works I understand was in Urdu).
There are also many regional poets and literary men outside the influence of monotheistic religions who have created pieces that are amply laced with love and some are unrivaled in their beauty and feel that transliteration will be failed miserably.

I do not think that the influence of Islam and Hindi or Urdu works ( even Bollywood songs) are the privileged and exclusive arena of Monotheistic religions alone.

Manjax Wafer said...

I do not think that the influence of Islam and Hindi or Urdu works ( even Bollywood songs) are the privileged and exclusive arena of Monotheistic religions alone.

I'm sorry, what does that mean?

anilkurup said...

I guess , I erred in my sentence and failed to notice and correct before posting. Read it as thus,"I do not think that for instance,the alleged influence of Islam on Hindi or Urdu works ( even Bollywood songs) are the privileged and exclusive arena of Monotheistic religions alone".

Manjax Wafer said...

Thank you for the clarification.

I started the post, "Love, as we know today...". So, the complete post depends on the premise of present day definition of love (once in a lifetime passion, a monogamous true love, of pain and loss). And the whole discussion is about love only. Indian works were known for their depiction of lust (shringara is closer to lust).

I would think the author's opinion of one love is direct extrapolation of monotheism (love with one god).

If you consider Indian milieu, monotheism appeared many a time in history even if it's restricted to priestly and ruling classes (Sivaism, Visnuism). Also, Buddhism and Jinaism are sort of monoprophet (non-god) religions. So, there were conditions in India too (if by monotheism that's what the author is implying and she was really serious when she made those assertions).