Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tirade del Amor

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Well, at least that is how Shakespeare put it. I do not really know what there is to love and whether it is feasible to find something to love in this world. I do know that as a feeling, love is the most disturbing of emotions. It has no rhyme or reason to exist in humankind, yet, it does. I read book upon book on the subject and stay in a quandary over what exactly this unsettling pursuit is supposed to be in my life.

I find it is much simpler to hate. For some raison d'être there is much more of this most negative manifestation in all we do in this world. There is war, and crime, and abuse, and prejudice, and intolerance, and disdain for all that is kind and true. How can one see the need for tenderness in the face of callous disregard for the very humanness we all share? The answer is fully plain. We live in a society programmed to do instead of feel. As an emotion, hate always drives some manner of action, and the deeds resulting are more interesting than those emerging out of benevolence and concern. Hate grows out of anger and anger grows out of indignation. And all of it grows out of fear.

As imperfect organisms, we tend to go embrace ideals familiar to us. In modern society our ideals are driven by external influence. We read a newspaper, or a magazine. We watch television. We go to the movies. We listen, read, perceive, and misinterpret, pretty much on a universal basis, that which is put before us. We have cable and satellite TV. We have hundred of channels to watch on numerous issues specifically designed to capture the attention of the viewing public. There are several levels of viewing possibilities. Local stations offer toned down language in programming to ensure a wholesome environment for our children, but only until nine or ten o'clock. Then the cable giants take over. There are horror movies, and martial arts movies, soft-core pornography, stand up comedy focusing on the vulgar and frighteningly graphic documentaries on the ills of society. We teach our children with these mediums of expression. We have MTV and reality shows displaying abrasive, abusive, pornographic, and intensely misanthropic content. There are sound bites and imagery flashed at us in millisecond blasts negating the ability for anyone to make any rationale decision as to their veracity. All we see is brought to us at the speed of light and we have little chance to discern true value.

We glorify the negative in the guise of rugged and determined individuality. We have series that glorify the life of organized criminals. We have contests where people submit to disgusting and revolting behavior in order to achieve monetary or professional gain. We teach biology to our children by allowing pornographic material school them in the process of reproduction. We glorify the deviancy of society while negating the positive.

Where is the Love Channel? Where is the Values Channel? Where is the show that teaches us that it is okay to display affection for one another? Not anywhere readily found. What we do have are afternoon talk shows parading solutions to societal ills hosted by would be, wannabe mavens of collective reform whose real intention, in my opinion, is hawking their latest help-yourself-by-buying-my-book-or-attending-a-seminar-that-costs-more-than-most-of-you-can-afford.

I could keep this tirade going if it were not for the weariness I have over the negative side of human existence. I marvel at the propensity for self-destruction we have, and question my own motives in putting these words on paper. I do so because I live in a country that, at least idyllically, allows me to speak that which bothers me, and that which enriches me. I started to investigate love, and I regressed into the easier side of the issue. I seek the feeling by searching for the action. I do not know that love is necessarily a definable action. I know with hate, there is a manifestation for the feeling, and we flaunt it regularly. I do not know if we illustrate love as well as we should. I think that we believe that we must do something with our hate, and little time in contemplation of what we will do with our love. I think the difference might be that hate, in our practice, demands engagement while love just requires sensation. Sensation occurs in humankind and does not have to be directly attributable to an outside influence. By this reasoning, the sensation of love needs no focal point and can be quite comforting. One can just love without reason and it can occur with little or no action. Hate requires a commitment to action in response to a perceived hostility or animosity toward someone or something. It entails work, and work is definitely an action. Love gives of itself, without much effort and is generous in what it gives. Hate takes all it can get its hands on, and is miserly in what it gives back. This, ostensibly, asks the question: do we seek generosity or parsimony? Generosity gets my vote.