✍🏻 1+1=1

11:11 (mine’s made)

  My reason for Being is you
  & it’s Nothingness without you.

In love, one and one are one.

— Jean-Paul Sartre

No one is more arrogant toward women than the man who is anxious about his virility.

— Simone de Beauvoir

The phrase, “love kills” sounds like an emotional over exaggeration. It is. It is until the day your true love leaves you that is. Only then will the phrase be seen as a valid statement of fact. (It is bitterly ironic that you’ll almost certainly not know that they were and ‘are’ your true love until they’ve gone and left you.)

I’ll argue here that ‘true’ love—love of the passionate & romantic kind—can only be experienced once in a lifetime. I’ll also argue that it is almost always our own actions that result in true love being lost.

It is invariably the case that in passionate romantic relationships, we turn the person that we love into an object. This ‘object’ is not only a projection of what we think that person wants to be but also, a reaction to our own insecurities and repressed desires. We try not to, but we end up trying to control our lover. We try not to, but we end up trying to shape our lover. We adopt a different persona to be what we think they want us to be and, we try also to be who we ourselves really want to (but can never actually) be.

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre argue that these are the reasons for why truly passionate relationships almost always fail. Indeed, one of their central philosophical arguments is that we, as post-faith humans, need to come to terms with the fact that we ourselves are responsible for the consequences of our actions (e.g., the hurtful and horrible words we type and send).

Inescapably, our actions in acts of passion and love are our own. We cannot blame destiny, fate or some form of invisible hand that mysteriously controls us from above. The guilt trips, ego trips and insane irrational jealousies are of our own making. Our self-centred, short-term actions can, and often do, have long-run catastrophic consequences.

Does, as some have argued, knowledge of this agency and responsibility help us deal with our true love leaving us? I’ll say no. Indeed, knowing just how big a role our own actions played, makes the situation even more heart wrenching; the what ifs are rendered less abstract. Had we acted differently (e.g., shown more appreciation and understanding), we’d likely not have lost them in the first place.

I believe that true love can only be experienced once because all previous experiences of love pale to nothing in the aftermath of losing your true love. I believe that true love can only be experienced once because no alternative or future love can be contemplated in the everlasting aftermath of your true love leaving you.

The way true love kills us is unique for unlike other modes of death it keeps us alive to experience the depths of despair and desperation on a daily basis. We are condemned to this undying death minute by minute, endlessly and perpetually. This mode of death is all the worse for knowing that, had we acted differently, we would most probably still be hand in hand and side by side with our retrospectively realised One&Only.

From you to me
Our eyes locked. They locked for far longer than was culturally appropriate.
From me to you
These were consumed. They were consumed with the lights on and, with the lights off.

p.s. To grasp and pay heed to the logic of de Beauvoir and Sartre would be of real benefit to those who have yet to find true love.

Charles Perrault

(French | 1628–1703)

A French author and member of the Académie Française. He laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from earlier folk tales. The best known of his tales include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots), La Belle au bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty) and Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard).

Some of Perrault’s versions of old stories influenced the German versions published by the Brothers Grimm more than 100 years later. Perrault was an influential figure in the 17th-century French literary scene, and was the leader of the Modern faction during the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.


Little Red Riding Hood


Cinderella


Puss in Boots


The Sleeping Beauty


Bluebeard

To experience pure pleasure

must we suffer deep pain?

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.

I’ve read that evidence suggests pain may actually enhance the pleasure and happiness we get from life. The argument goes like this: without pain life becomes boring and dull. If we are given all the chocolate in the world, we would soon forget what it was that made our desire for chocolate so desirable in the first place.

By definition a permanent state of pleasure would not be pleasurable. We need something other than pleasure, for pleasure to compare to. But must it be pain? Could it not just be normality?

Must we take the rough to get the smooth…

📙 On the Road

Jack Kerouac | American | 1922–1969

On the Road is the novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States. It has been described as, “one of the great American novels.” Above all else, it is a story about loss. Ted Gioia contends that it is a book of broken dreams and failed plans. It’s a book about the search for something meaningful to hold on to,” writes Meghan O’Rourke, “the famous search for ‘it,’ a truth larger than the self, which, of course, is never found.”

My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.

Today, Kerouac is considered a literary iconoclast, recognised for his method of spontaneous prose — covering e.g., spirituality, promiscuity, drugs and poverty — and continues to be something of an underground celebrity. As Hilary Holladay puts it, “Kerouac was this deep, lonely, melancholy man… [you read this] sense of loss and sorrow on every page.” According to John Leland, aspects of the book such as the tales of passionate friendships and the search for revelation, “are timeless.”

Happiness consists in realising it is all a great strange dream.

📙 Remains of the Day

(Kazuo Ishiguro | British | 1954– )

This is a moving book about the repressing of our desires. It is about how class conditioning can turn you into your own worst enemy, making you complicit in your own subservience. This book will strike a cord with anyone who feels they’ve ever held themselves back when something that truly mattered was within their grasp.

Hear all about it here

The [remainder] of my life stretches out as an emptiness before me.

British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (who was born in Japan but moved to England at the age of five) is considered one of the eminent contemporary fiction authors in the English-speaking world, winning the Man Booker Prize for his 1989 novel, The Remains of the Day.

What can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves?