I once knew someone who was infatuated with a girl. Despite repeated (and utterly undignified) rejection he continued to pursue her. In the face of humiliation he pressed on, constantly trying to win her over. We all told him it was futile, that his self-immolation for someone who clearly didn’t give a damn would only end in disaster; that he was beginning to look pathetic. But he wouldn’t listen. It seemed what little brain matter he had that should have been reserved for the faculty of reason and the comprehension of reality had been completely shut down by whatever primitive emotion he was feeling – it had completely taken him over; inducing the delusion that this girl harbored some hidden affection for him as well, when in actuality all she had for him was revulsion and disdain. Such a fine line we toe between sanity and insanity, don’t you think?
I have always had both pity and a warped sort of admiration (not without some condescension) for people who wear their heart on their sleeve. It takes a unique sort of bravery to voluntarily place yourself in a position of vulnerability time and time again in the name of love (or even the mere chance of love). But is it bravery, or stupidity? To be brave you must be able to comprehend the risk of harm. To be truly courageous you must have fear. If you have no fear, or if you recognize not only the possibility of pain, but the inevitability of it, and still forge on with impunity you can only be one of two things – an idiot or a masochist.
It would seem we are all idiots and we are all masochists. When it comes to the human endeavor of finding love I think we become the most stubborn of optimists, as well. Even when hope is reduced to a momentary glimmer, and all our reason tells us something can only end badly, can only end in pain, we insist on fixating on the 1% probability of a good outcome.
“It may be improbable,” we think. “But it’s not impossible.”
Why are we so willing to throw ourselves under the train? Is it the notion that happiness is the presence of pleasure and not merely the absence of pain? (Hey, that kind of rhymed.) Why do we tend to abandon reason and judgment when emotions overwhelm the senses?
I have always been a proponent of reason. Even at the age of six I was never satisfied when I asked a question that began with the word ‘why?’ and received an answer of ‘Just ’cause,’ or ‘Because I’m your mother,’ or ‘Because I said so.’ It always made me want to pull out my hair.
“That doesn’t make any sense!” I would shriek.
So I was surprised when I started to ‘not make any sense’ myself in my recent banal tale of unrequited
love affection. The use of the word ‘banal’ may be redundant because all love stories are banal and trite. What irritates me most about this emotion is that it reduces the feeler to a cliché. It is inescapable, it is inevitable, but we will all be reduced to kitsch by love.
This philosophical rant shall be continued at a later date as my dirty laundry beckons.
Please visit again soon, Idiots and Masochists! (I say that with utmost affection as I am the most idiotic of idiots.)