Friday, January 29, 2016

Quotes on love and freedom

Barbara Chase-Riboud:

"Love demands freedom. Love exists only in freedom – not only of choice, but place, gender, race."

Rollo May:

"Hatred and resentment are destructive emotions, and the mark of maturity is to transform them into constructive emotions. * * * Furthermore, if we do not confront our hatred and resentment openly, they will tend sooner or later to turn into the one affect which never does anyone any good, namely, self-pity. Self-pity is the "preserved" form of hatred and resentment. One can then...refrain from doing anything about [the problem]. * * * No one can arrive at real love or morality or freedom until he has frankly confronted and worked through his resentment. Hatred and resentment should be used as motivations to re-establish one's genuine freedom: one will not transform those destructive emotions into constructive ones until he does this."

Starhawk: "The self-hater is the literal embodiment of structures of domination.
"

Michael Keeling:

"As one of the participants in the SCM conference put it: 'Love is the right to protect the freedom of the other'."

Fernando Pessoa:

"How wearisome it is to be loved, to be truly loved! How wearisome to be the object of someone else's bundle of emotions! To be changed from someone who wanted to be free, always free, into an errand boy with a responsibility to reciprocate these emotions, to have the decency not to run away, so that the other person will not think one is acting with princely disdain and rejecting the greatest gift the human soul can offer. How wearisome to let one's existence become something absolutely dependent on someone else's feelings; to have no option but to feel, to love a little too, whether or not it is reciprocated."

Clive James:

"Was he [Arthur Schnitzler] right about the impenetrable mask? Wrong at the start, and right in the end: because love, unlike loneliness, is more of a process than a permanent condition. In the German, the "most impenetrable masks" are undurchschaubarsten Masken – the masks you can't see through. (We might note at this point that "loneliness" is feminine: arbitrary genders really are arbitrary, but in this case it's a nice coincidence.) When love comes, there is no mask: or shouldn't be. There is nothing to see through, because you are not lonely. There really is another person sharing your life. But later on a different truth – one you are familiar with, but hoped to have seen the last of – comes shining through. Unlike light in space, it needs a medium to do so, and the medium is the mask itself, seen in retrospect. You are lonely again. You were really lonely all along. You have deceived yourself.

It would have been a desolating view if Schnitzler had been quite sure of it. But if he had been quite sure of it he would not have gone on worrying at it. On the same great page – great books have great pages, and in this book page 117 is one of the greatest – he tries again. "That we feel bound by a steady longing for freedom, and that we also seek to bind someone else, without being convinced that such a thing is within our rights – that is what makes any loving relationship so problematic." The question here is about possessiveness, and the first thing to see is that there would be no possessiveness if there were nothing real to possess. So this is not loneliness concealed by an impenetrable mask. This is the other person, whom you love enough to be worried about her rights. You are worried, that is, about someone who is not yourself. You want to be free, and assume that she does too: but you want her to be yours. You could want that with a whole heart if your heart were less sympathetic. There have been men in all times, and there are still men all over the world, who have no trouble in believing that their women belong to them. But those men are not educated. If Schnitzler's writings on the subject can be said to have a tendency, it is to say that love provides an education. What is problematic about the relationship is essentially what tells you it is one. It might not be an indissoluble bond, but as an insoluble problem it gives you the privilege of learning that freedom for yourself means nothing without freedom for others. When you love, the problem begins, and so does your real life."

Sources

Character of Naksh-i-dil. Barbara Chase-Riboud. Valide: A Novel of the Harem. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1986. p 316.

Rollo May, Man's Search for Himself. New York: W.W.Norton & Co., Inc., 1953. pp. 151, 153, 154.

Starhawk. Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery. New York: Harper Collins, 1987. p 96.

"A Christian Basis for Gay Relationships," by Michael Keeling, in Towards a Theology of Gay Liberation, p. 106

Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet. Edited by Maria Jose de Lancastre. Translated by Margaret Jull Costa. London: Serpent's Tail, 1991. p. 161. (It is a collection of writings that were unorganized upon Pessoa's death in 1935).

Clive James. Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts. (2007) New York: Norton, 2008. p. 702.

No comments:

Post a Comment