Friday, February 27, 2009

Love--Part 2

After an attempt to write my contribution, if I had been a member of the party imortilized by Plato, I found some other neat things about the Symposium. First, something I found humerous. The "Very Squashed" version of the Symposium:

"We were all a bit drunk at Agathon's house, and decided to talk about Love.Phaedrus said: Not birth, nor wealth, nor honours, nor aught else shall so inspire a man as Love. There is none so base but that Love may breathe into him the spirit of a hero. Therefore I say that, of all the gods, Love is the eldest and the most to be honoured.Pausanias said: There is more than one Love. Vulgar love is worthless, inconsistent and fleeting; but the love of the virtuous character abides throughout life.Aristophanes said: I have a theory that the gods split us in halves, and each each of us is always looking for his other half. Some seek the opposite sex to love, some seek the same (men who seek men are especially valiant and fine) but all are really craving to become one, soul and body.Agathon: These are loves gifts, but the God of Love himself is the youngest and the swiftest, since he outstrips in flight old age. Said Socrates: Is Love of something lacking? The prophetess Diotima told me that Love is not a mortal, nor a god. Love, in reality is of every good, not of just missing things or desired things.Aristodemus fell asleep, and woke to find Socrates, Aristophanes and Agathon still talking and drinking."

The very intricate nature of the Symposium, stories weaved into stories, is examined further at this site, while an in-depth analysis of Socrates' response when his turn came around (which it seemed a few people I talked to liked, thus I searched for this in particular) can be discovered here. I was particularly struck by "Plato's Symposium reveals love, like wisdom, to be a dynamic, a flow of energy that operates throughout all the levels of human awareness, uniting and transcending or fragmenting and descending as it flows. There are latent possibilities in different kinds of love to either pull us up to Socrates' unified and ultimate good in the world of Being, or to pull us down into a dense, fragmented experience of the forms. When Diotema asks Socrates what is it that one desires when one loves, the answer is immortality, union with the eternal, and though we see divinity in all of life, it is contained in various forms which can often corrupt of distort it, as well as accurately reflect it."

And, finally, Aristophanes. I mentioned before that his was my favorite answer of the bunch. The beauty inherent in finding your other half, the other piece to make you whole, is simply awe-isnpiring. It is a beautiful idea, and feels more truthful than any of the rest to me. Love is all about finding your other half, and joining the two fragments to make the whole that is more than the sum of its parts.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"I won't forget time spent laying by her side..."

We were asked "What is love?" We were asked if there was even an answer to that question. At the suggestion of my girlfriend, I read Plato's Symposium a while back, and it is filled with interesting attempts at answering, in particular Aristophanes' tale of of finding your other half, which is both beautiful as well as most accurate, in my opinion. In the vein of the the members of Agathon's famous party, I shall provide my best answer to the ancient questions.

Love is. No matter what it is, it always is. And it is always strong. So called "weak love" is a fallacy. It is love or it is not. And while I wish I could address all its many forms, I fear I can't. Therefore, I will stick with the one that harkens to me most: romantic love. I won't pretend to be an expert at it. I can't imagine I'm even all that great at expressing it, in word or in action, but it draws one like nothing else on earth can.

Love is stunning. Just when you think you've got it figured out, it branches out and surprises you all over again. If you haven't lived it, you can't know what it is like, and this blog will fall on deaf ears, but in hopes of making it make a little more sense for you, let me use my life and my current relationship as an example. This is me getting really personal in a way I don't like to in hopes of enriching someone, so the second I catch shit from anyone about this, there will be hell to pay. To my dear sweet Meg, I know you'll read this eventually, I hope it doesn't upset you too terribly.

I've spent most of Valentine's Day mad. Mad as hell. Deeply sad. Hurt. Rocking a pretty solid headache at the moment as well. We have been fighting most of the day. Stupid things, but then again they always are. To make a very long story short, while microwaving something, she shorted out half of her apartment, and the damage done requires an actual electrician to fix. Seeing as how this is the second time this week she lost power, she was understandably upset. However, she was more upset than I thought was necessary, just pissed and not able to focus it, and so I told her over the phone that it was fine, no big deal, that she needed to calm down because she was yelling at me when she was mad about the power, and that we should just calm down and talk about it. This is generally not the smartest of plans, to tell a girl she is flying off the handle for no major reason.

As fights between people in a relationship tend to go, the main reason for the start of the unhappy feelings is quickly lost, and old wounds are re-bled. Sadly, the most vicious fights are with the ones who know where to dig the best. Things got worse, feelings were hurt, the same conflict between man and woman that has existed forever. She left, spent most of the day with her apartment-mate, and I got very little time with her. All the special Valentine's Day plans were shot.

Moral: Sometimes, love can be a bitch.

"It's a broken kind of feeling."

Yet, if that were all, why would we desire love, worship love, exalt love to the highest reaches, or even, to put it simply, why would we love love? It is for all the other moments. The first kiss. The second kiss. The third kiss. Every kiss. The times when she can't stop crying and all you can do is hold her, whisper that it will be okay, and then go cry after she is gone, because it was so horrible to see her hurting like that. Spending money on movies you watch but never see. Being scared as hell when you meet her parents. Finding out her parents actually like you. Finding out that her parents have stopped liking you.

Love is bittersweet. When you are standing at the airport, and you have to leave, but she has to stay, and they have called your row four times and are about to close the doors, but you need one last hug, a quick touch of your hand to wipe away her tears, and then one last kiss before you run to the plane, knowing that if you look back you won't be able to leave. Long phone calls when you are far away, desperately clutching the phone and wishing it was her hand you were holding instead.

Love is without a language of its own. Words fall short every time. You can't describe the perfect smile, even though you see it every time she looks your way. The blue in her eyes is not any shade known to man, and no one sees that blue but you. The soft sigh of contentment as she falls asleep curled up next to you, safe in your arms. The sweetest laugh as you tell yet another joke that is funny to no one else.

Love is silly. That's right, silly. Your dumb little jokes, your mushy moments that nauseate everyone near by. Drawing hearts all over packages to embarrass the other when he has to pick them up at the front desk. Random bouts of flirting. Fake fights, with such horrible methods needed to reach forgiveness ("Wait, you mean you don't love me?" "Jerk!" "But isn't that what you said?" "You know it wasn't!" "You hurt my feelings. But I know how you can make it up to me." "How?" "A kiss.").

Love is for the young, but age isn't measured in years. It's measured in emotion. Love makes you young, love keeps you young, and with love you never need to fear death, because you will never die. It's true. Love never ends. It is a forever thing that you get once and never again, and if you fuck it up, you don't always get a second chance. But when you have it, and when you can keep it, there is no greater feeling in the world.

Love isn't easy. It can lead to arguments, sadness, the whole affliction. But we love love. Because it never is just about the bad. It is about the good. It never hurts more than it heals. Yes, I was rather mad at the beginning of this, but the magic of love heals all wounds, and now, not much later, I am better. Because, through it all, love never wavers. It is never diminished by anger. I can be as mad as anyone can get at my girlfriend, but through it all I love her no less, nor does she love me any less. Love is forever.

"What is love?" For me, Love is a girl named Meghan Jane Dudley. She is all of the above. She is my everything. And that, Dr. Sexson, class, world, is the answer to "What is love?"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Given To Fly," or, Myths of the Modern

Modern myth-makers abound, creating tales that inpsire, challenge, confound, and disturb us. Among the greatest are Pearl Jam, with their dense, powerful lyrics and songs of epic proportions. One of their greatest songs is just such a modern myth, "Given to Fly." According to Eddie Vedder, "[I imagined the song as] a 20-page cardboard (children's) book with a line on each page and a picture to go with it. It's a fable, that's all." [Article.] In the powerful words, a new myth is created, of a man who is given gifts, and shares them with the world. As he is hurt for giving, he does not become angry at the world, and instead continues to give his love to everyone. Corny? Cheesy? Powerful. This song is buried in the ideals and concepts of myth, full of what gives them their power, and proves that classic works don't exist solely in the past. Hear it, and let its life roll over you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hermes = Stewie?

I only have a few minutes, but am I the only person to note that there is a very famous, mischievious child known to college students the world over? Hermes is at it again, a la Family Guy.

For more on this, see Shauni's post.