Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What is Love?

That is the eternal question first asked by Haddaway waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1993 (I’m better than Wikipedia, I am).

So what is love? I don’t know. Countless others have spent years trying to decipher its meaning and have found only partial success. I suppose on the most basic level, it’s just a biological mechanism that binds us long enough to successfully reproduce. Of course, it’s so much more than that, right? Check out a pair of fantastic TED Talks by Helen Fisher on the subject.

Helen Fisher tells us why we love and cheat.
Helen Fisher studies the brain in love.

I may not know many things, but I do know that love is hard work. Sometimes it’s butterflies in your stomach and other times warm reassurance. It can mean having to move half-way across the world, or just bringing some flowers, poetry, and a box of chocolates. Or driving in the middle of a terrible snow storm to get your buddy some meds.

There are many kinds of love: love for one’s spouse, family, friends, oneself, puri with bacon and tea, sixties Spider-Man, that crazy red-faced guy and his buddy who used to collect cans around the McGill campus, and so on. I’m lucky enough to have experienced most of them. I’m curious about what life is like for those who have never experienced any. Sometimes I wonder if that’s where far-right conservatives come from; perhaps they each just need a big hug.

At my sister’s wedding, I had to read the famous love verse from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

(At my Nana’s funeral I got to read the much cooler, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and last, the beginning and the end ....” My Nana was awesome like that. But I digress.)

Is that love? Well, I suppose that does cover a lot of territory. Still I prefer this quote that is often erroneously attributed to Dr. Seuss but insofar as I can tell is actually from Robert Fulghum

“We’re all a little weird. And life is weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness – and call it love – true love.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

One more thing: if you’re looking for a good, unique gift, I can’t recommend My Forever Child highly enough. They truly take the time to make beautifully engraved handcrafted jewellery that convey messages of love and hope. I got the believe hope-miracles necklace for my sister and it is the first gift in 33 years that actually made her happy. I like it so much I got one for Jellybean as well. Give them a try.

Okay, last one, I swear: that latest episode of HIMYM was finally a good one, but still sad. Someone needs to let them know that comedies are not supposed to make people sad. Especially not on Valentine’s Day.

-Le Norm

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