Okay, obviously I mean ‘what is this thing called love?’ I stole the title from a line in a Benny Hill sketch, and when the girl said it, it was funny. But this is another of those posts where I start typing without thinking about what I am going to say… and I will either come up with something extremely profound, or else I will force you to do some thinking and we will have fantastically deep conversations about really deep stuff… maybe…
So what the hell is love?
Great writers and poets and thinkers and philosophers and romanticists have tried to answer this question down through the ages. I have written countless songs about love… you can hear some of them by clicking that button up there on my top bar called ‘my original songs’ or something clever like that… and the truth is, back in my single days, when I used to carry my guitar around, those songs actually got me some lovin’… just sayin’… I have written poems about love. I have written stories with love in them. But I am not sure I actually understand it.
It is so much more than a feeling. It is an emotion. Without it, what are we? But how much of it is just chemical reactions going on inside us? Are we just, as social mammals, geared towards needing to find other people that we can trust to survive in this big, cold world? Is love just a word that explains a natural process? Is it just our bodies telling us that we need to make babies so we can keep the species alive? Is mother nature just sending us biochemical messages that make us feel a connection with our families so we don’t end up alone?
And where, pray tell, do we draw the line between love and lust? I know damn well that lust is a chemical reaction sent by mother nature. Of course it is always nice when love and lust coincide with each other. It doesn’t get much better than that. That is what led to my oh-so-clever quote: ‘Head over heels in love is nice, but not as nice as the heels over head kind’… HA!
And how sustainable is love, really? Back in the old days we used to live much shorter lives. Maybe love isn’t supposed to last forever. A chemical reaction like that would be difficult to maintain for decades. It would be like being on an adrenaline high for most of your life. We have all been in relationships that have passed beyond the heady early romance stage into a quiet and calm acceptance. That is where love gets tricky. That is when you hope your hormones were thinking clearly when they made you fall in love with someone. When the cute things they do start to get a little annoying, and you are more worried about your job and raising your kids than you are with practicing the act of making new ones… kids, I mean, not jobs.
Love might last, but passion is a mercurial beast. It sort of has to be. Remember when you were a teenager… what sort of primal torrents of love and lust chemicals were raging through your body? Do you think you could lead a productive life if that was still going on inside you now? (This post, now that I think about it, is not aimed at anyone under the age of twenty… not that it is inappropriate, but because you are still a victim of love, and you know nothing about it yet, even though you think you do. Talking to you about love would be like talking to a baby about investment strategies or automobile maintenance).
Is love a real thing? Is any emotion a real thing? Anger, hatred, shame, jealousy? Are these all just words we made up to label chemical signals that give us information on our environment? Are we in love, or have we just found the best mate we could find and have gotten used to having them around? That warm feeling you get when you look at the people you love, that might just be a cookie that mother nature throws us… so we don’t end up punching them in the face when they annoy us, and thereby end up alone. Isn’t that sort of the definition of ‘social animal’? They work better in a group or herd. We even have labels for people who don’t have these ’emotions’ and ‘connections’ with the rest of humanity. We call them sociopaths.
Okay, obviously I didn’t say anything that will shed any light on love. So I guess that means it is up to you…