As I look back in magical wonder on the story of how I met Monique, and reread it in the light of recent events (such as terrorism and the war) I have a realization; a cognition, like a light going off in my head! The challenge is how to express it; words are not very good at this kind of thing. That’s one of the reasons I love music. Music goes beyond words, which are a poor subtitute for emotions, and speaks to us in a different voice; because it is a direct experience in itself, just as love is. And Love, is what it’s all about!
Maybe it’s my mortality compelling me to open my heart, before it’s too late – to say the things I think are important, while I still have the chance. So, I’m going to make a few broad personal statements, and express some unusual views that may not be currently very popular.
1. I believe in old-fashioned traditional family values.
2. I believe in true, romantic love.
3. I believe in mogonamy and fidelity.
When I say I believe in these things, I mean only for myself. I’m not trying to sell these ideas to anyone. On the contrary, I don’t even think that the institution of marriage is at all well suited to our culture or society. It simply doesn’t reflect our actual social values, and therefore doesn’t seem to work very well, as indicated by the high divorce rate.
Our western culture tells us “more is better”; more intelligence, more education, more knowledge, more influence, more possessions, more money, more power, even more spirituality – although this ?so called spirituality? usually turns out to be just another subtle form of materialism in disguise.
But of all the things we’re told that more is better of, perhaps the biggest, most persistent, and all pervasive is More Sex! The whole advertizing industry is practically based, entirely, on the idea that More Sex is Better. It’s the irresistable carrot they dangle at the end of the rainbow, the big payoff behind all the other things we work so hard to get more of. Everything else we’re being sold is, itself, being sold by the idea that More Sex is Better!
So, why do we have marriage – an institution that seems to be the direct antithesis of our cultural values, and diametrically opposed to our personal beliefs and desires? Very few people honestly like the concept of marriage; but they accept it as a matter of course, and even pretend to treat it with reverence and respect. These same people might attend a church, even though they don’t actually believe in the kind of God that church represents.
They might get married for any number of reasons: social convenience, parental approval, financial security, to raise a family; just because it’s expected of them, and is considered the right thing to do. They know that the heat of love’s passion will eventuallly cool; but they’re prepared to sacrifice, to make the relationship work. And if their minds and interests begin to wander, well, it happens in the best of marriages. No one can be expected to completely supress their secret lusts and hidden desires. Besides, an active sexual fantasy life is only normal and healthy, and is certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
Even if an occasional indiscretion were to occur, it might hurt; but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. And if it was handled discreetly, why should anyone ever have to know? A kind and loving partner would be careful and considerate, so as not to cause the other any upset or embarassment.
And if we didn’t exactly love each other,well, how many couples truely did? we had to keep up appearances; and think of the children. You had to be realistic about these things. Compromise, sacrifice, patience, forgiveness, and understanding: that’s what makes a relationship work, isn’t it? After all, nobody’s perfect; and we still have a pretty good life – all in all – don’t we?
Bull****: and not even good, interesting or imaginative bull****; just your typical, everyday, American, middle-class, suburban bull****. These were the values I rebelled against as a teenager: hypocritical, insincere, pretentious, justifying, self-deceiving, acquiescent, dull, conformity. If you don’t like the idea of monogamy – and prefer sexual variety – and you don’t want the commitment of remaining faithful to one person, and you don’t really believe in the idea of true love to begin with, why get married? I remember reading somewhere that maturity is resignation. Well, I didn’t feel like growing up, and I certainly wasn’t going to resign!
Then the hippies came up with the idea of free love; this sounded great! Break the chains of conformity: throw off your inhibitions, loosen up. Love without competitive ego; possessiveness, jealousy, guilt, or obligation: free love with no strings attached. When I see it written down, it looks more like a yuppie sales pitch than hippie idealism. Free Love! No risk – no obligation! No purchase neccessary! Act now while supply lasts! So I did!
Bull****! Cooler, more interesting, and a lot more fun: but still bull****. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still more of a hippie than anything else. If it hadn’t been for the negativity of certain drugs, I think civil rights and the peace movement might have transformed the world in a more positive way. They certainly changed America and transformed the world, anyway; but I also think these ideas might have had more credibility without their association with drugs. That, however, is another subject.
I was talking about free love, and when I say bull****; I mean only that it didn’t work for me. Free love is a noble idealistic concept, but so is communism. I don’t mean this just as a sarcastic joke, I’m actually drawing a valid analogy. There is something in both these concepts that seems to go against human nature. When you work, you naturally expect something in return; money, or something else of value that is yours to keep. The same is true of love. When you give your love, it’s also natural to expect something in return beyond the moment: loyalty, trust, a sense of belonging. If someone threatens the one you love, you feel protective; and if someone tries to steal their love away, it’s only natural to feel jealous and possessive.
Free love also tends to equate love with sex; so sex becomes a more casual act, like shaking hands. I like shaking hands OK; it’s a nice custom, but it doesn’t compare with sex! Love and sex are two entirely different things. They are both beautiful, and you can have either one without the other. You can have sex without love, and you can have love without sex. But, when you have them both together, that’s a third thing entirely different from the other two. And that’s what I choose to call “True Romantic Love”!
Now we come to the point. I say I believe in true romantic love. Most people don’t. Most people talk about love as though it happens every day, but they’re referring to that other thing I described earlier. Most of them would have a hard time accepting the idea that true romantic love even exists. They would call it naive, childlike, a fairy tale, story book fantasy that you’re just not likely to see in the real world. And sadly enough, for the most part, they’re right; not about the nature of love, but about the fact that we see so little of it!
They would say that anyone with such an unrealistic dream would surely face a life of hopeless disillusion and despair. But, I say just the opposite. I say – it is the person who is so logical, so reasonable, and therefore to rigid and unwilling to open his heart enough to admit even the possibility of love, who is destined to live the life of unhappiness and quiet desperation; just because he was too afraid to hope, to afraid to dream, too afraid to believe.
Love is like God; it’s existence can not be proved, it must be accepted on faith. If we see too little love in the world, the sadness is that there are too few people who have the innocence and simplicity of spirit to believe.
I don’t pretend to understand love. I would never presume to define or explain it. I’m sure it must be different for every person. Love is a riddle pondered by the philosophers throughout the ages; but whoever said ?love is blind? didn’t quite get it right, for me. I believe love sees all, reveals all, and understands all. If you truely love someone, you don’t just blindly accept everything they say and do, regardless of whether you believe it’s right or wrong. That would be no more than empty flattery and mindless approval.
To me, true love is not undeserved praise or blind obedience; true love is absolute honesty, and complete trust. Why would you trust someone who only told you what you wanted to hear. True love is when a person holds up a mirror that allows you to see yourself as you truely are. That’s what Monique has done for me! She showed me the meaning of