Thursday, October 29, 2015

Love as a cycle of gaining and losing, joy and sorrow

We will feel togetherness and separateness. We will gain and lose. This in itself is love, as per Richard Powers: "Love is the feedback cycle of longing, belonging, loss. Anti-Hebbian: the firing links get weaker."

And as per Frank S. Robinson:

"Love is also a feedback loop. You push each other's buttons, doing and saying things that feed the attraction. Sometimes it can even be intensified by indifference or rejection, making the person seem even more desirable. But positive feedback works better. The fact is that, generally, we want to be in love, and given halfway reasonable material to work with, our psyches will try to make it happen."

Or that feedback loop, that cycle, whatever it really is, may be rationalized or explained by love, or called by the name of love, as per Albert Camus: "We have to fall in love if only to provide an alibi for the random despair we were going to feel anyway."

In any case, it is an experience we share in common. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.: "Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something."

On one interpretation, we must earn what is good and important in our lives, as stated by a character in a novel by Gregory David Roberts, and we earn it through love.

"I think that we all, each one of us, we all have to earn our future," she said slowly. I think the future is like anything else that's important. It has to be earned. If we don't earn it, we don't have a future at all. And if we don't earn it, if we don't deserve it, we have to live in the present, more or less forever. Or worse, we have to live in the past. I think that's probably what love is – a way of earning the future."

If this is true, then we cannot be cautious about it. Bertrand Russell: "Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness." And yet, the novelist Iain Pears: "You make her unhappy, then painted her sadness. That was cruel of you. You can love someone and make them unhappy..."


Richard Powers. Galatea 2.2. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1995. p. 152.

Frank S. Robinson. The Case for Rational Optimism. New Brunswick, N.J. and London: Transaction Publishers, 2009. p. 109.

Albert Camus, quoted in the Prospect (U.K.), quoted in The Week, Aug. 22, 2014, p. 17.

H. Jackson Brown Jr. Quoted on the "Sunbeams" page of The Sun, February 2006, p. 48.

Gregory David Roberts. Shantaram. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2003. p. 91.

Bertrand Russell, quoted in the Associated Press, quoted in The Week, Aug. 29, 2014, p. 17.

The character of Julia, to a painter. Iain Pears. The Dream of Scipio. New York: Riverhead Books, 2002. p 101.

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