The Human Condition: Love

So it’s 2017 now, and I have a little more time on my hands. People have been doing that people thing they do where they ask what my New Year’s resolutions are/were.

I don’t believe in resolutions, though. Maybe it’s because I lack the discipline to change some aspect of my life. Maybe I just don’t care to bend to the tradition, or part of me is adamant that we shouldn’t wait until the turn of a new year to make promises for the next 365 days.

I maintain that I prefer to have daily resolutions – or even weekly ones. And my resolution is always the same. It’s a catch-all really: Be a better me than I was yesterday…last week…last year. Somehow the steps make it seem much more attainable than making pie-crust promises that are as easily broken as they are made.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

In recent years, I’ve picked up this New Year’s Eve habit of ruminating on the whole year behind me. While so many other’s around me are awaiting their cultural equivalent of watching the ball to drop in Times Square, I ruminate on all that’s happened so far, stuff I might have done differently, how well or how poorly I have dealt with things, and how far I’ve come on the journey to be the person I want to be, and the life I want to live.

Sounds deep, doesn’t it?

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One thing’s for certain, it’s sobering. I ring in the new year with a clear mind and a light conscience. Serenity. I feel like I have been granted the power of acceptance, the gift of grace, and the beginnings of a self-awareness I can’t say I had before.

The beauty of a clear mind is that thought becomes infinitely more open to new possibilities. Our eyes become more open to things we missed before. We become cognisant of much more than before.

My little epiphany came about 2 days ago, in a conversation I was having with my best friend. We were talking about relationships and whatnot and together we stumbled upon something that stuck with me. It’s probably been discovered before, this is 2017 after all, but this was one of those times when you have more clarity about a situation when you find yourself in the middle of it.

So the topic of the conversation was the games we play when it comes to love. Not him and I specifically, not a certain gender, just human beings. He alluded to this notion that if men would think logically with the head on their shoulders instead of using the one in their pants, they’d gain some sort of advantage over women.

I guess coming from his perspective that’s a fair assessment. My response to that is what inspired this post actually, largely because it surprised us both. It was such a humanistic, gender-neutral thought.

Why does one gender have to have an ‘advantage’ over the other?

That selfish need we have to gain headway is such a destructive concept. Maybe what we need to do is stop thinking we need to hold the high ground. Maybe this is one of the reasons why there’s such a disparity between genders – we focus so much on gaining advantages, we’re always playing games, always divided.

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And in a cycle of chaos, everybody is always trying to gain the upper hand, because everyone is forever under the impression that the other person is trying to one-up them. Of course, his rebuttal was the most beautifully human tragedy: we’re all afraid to get hurt. We are all petrified that if we give our entire selves to someone, we will eventually get hurt.

But that’s the great risk, isn’t it?

We put all these defence mechanisms in place for failure, because we are so deathly afraid of it, and yet the greatest risk is trying, knowing that there’s a chance we will stumble and fall.

We know this because the world does it to us all the time. We put our faith in people. People who know that the world is a cruel place and therefore, by our natural human logic, we hope that because they know, they won’t be the same way.

We can reconcile the reality of the world screwing us over seven ways to Sunday so much more easily than a single individual. It’s human nature to acknowledge that we have an underlying ethical responsibility to take care of each other, but how often do we act on it?

The truth is that if a relatively non-sentient thing like the world can screw you over collectively, a single sentient being has the capacity to do the same – wilfully and deliberately if he or she so pleases.

But I’m not saying anything we don’t intuitively come to know, am I?

Sadly, we expect that because the every human being is armed with this knowledge, and because we have an ethical responsibility to one another, that we don’t use the capacity we have for evil.

And that sort of perfection doesn’t exist.

We expect something that we ourselves cannot give. The promise that we won’t get hurt. The promise that the other will honour our trust by not betraying it. It’s never that simple, is it? You can’t really ask someone to honour your trust regardless of circumstance – we live in a world of billions of other people, and the world just has a way of indiscriminately derailing whatever plans we think we have for ourselves. .prom.jpg

It is only when the same is asked of us that we realise that that promise requires a level of perfection and foresight or which humans are woefully incapable. And it is nearly never others’ emotions that ultimately decide our reactions, it is our relationship with the world and the tragedy of circumstances.

Love is not a game we play with advantages or wins and losses; love is the measure of Man and Man’s ability to overcome adversity.

What does it mean to you?
CiJhae

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