If love is the answer, then what is the question?

“everything fornicates..” – the motto on a COIL T-Shirt.

A sad thing about the English language, our language is often inadequate in discussing love.

For example, many languages have 2, 3, or more words for love, themselves relating to different aspects, types, or degrees of love. We use “love” to mean everything from fucking (ah, I meant “making love”) to our food preferences (“I love honey”), to affections between friends, or a mother and daughter.

“God is love,” says Saint John.
This is a common sentiment in America, in particular from people into liberal Christianity, or the New Age. But if we say “God is love” what exactly do we mean by this? This is an important question, you know. Because if we are to use language to communicate, we must do so with precision.

What do we mean by “God” and what do we mean by “love”? If we give love out of a need for reciprocity, is this love?

If we give love freely, in an almost disinterested way, is it love?
We are conditioned, in this society, to see some things as love, and other things not as love, but is it possible to have both a needy type of love, and a type of love disinterested in reciprocity?

Can we have both Love as need, and Love as gift? “But that’s not true love” someone may say.

Really? Prove it – is it possible that what you think is true love actually is the furthest thing from love? Conversely, can it be that there are multiple types of true love? Of which yours is only one? Perhaps there are many types of love, all stemming from the same root. Perhaps some loves involve the ego, and others require stepping outside of our self, outside of our ego, actually displacing it.

If we sing “all you need is love, love…” then what exactly is this love that we all need?

Can we describe ecstasy?
Can we describe pain?
Can we describe the color red?

Words break down before the immediacy of the experience.

The Latin has her dilectio, and her amor The Arab has both his Ishq, a pure passion, and his Muhabbat – Habba, Hubb, a more affection love, and he also has his Wadd. And he has (my personal favorite) his hawa, physical passion and desire. And the root of the word hawa is nothing other than the wind.

The Greek has her agape (love as charity) philia (friendship love) storge (natural affection)., and lastly she has (my personal favorite) her all consuming eros.

Hebrew like Arabic has ahav and ahava, from the same root as the Arab’s hubb, ahaba, mahaba, etc. But the Hebrew’s usage was rather broad, ahav could be sex, it could be the love of a girl, the love of God, the love of one’s fellow man. But Hebrew also had “Yedid”, and other words as well.

And we poor English speakers, we have only “love”, and “like” – and perhaps “fancy”, but fancy is a mere euphemism.

Language can be a tool, and like all tools: a pencil, a brush, a crowbar, its usage depends on the hands welding the tool. Love, is it an emotion? Is it energy? Are any of these words even sufficient to describe what love is? If we call love “energy” then what *is* this energy we speak of?

I believe that a major project of our generation is to take the words we have been given, and from them mold tools to use upon our consciousness, for the transformation of our selves, and of the world.

But I believe we will fail in this undertaking, and simply rest in the assumptions we have inherited from our parents, and pass them on in turn having understood them even less.

Is it possible that a major component of the slavery system that is consumerist society lies in words, is it possible that cages of words have been woven around us and that we must master the word itself in order to free ourselves? Is it possible to imagine for every word and indeed every sound an essence, indeed a soul, something intangible, belonging to realms apart from the gross physical matter we perceive?

So what then is the soul of these sounds and letters l.o.v.e. ? So take that COIL T-Shirt that says “Everything fornicates”. It’s s funny statement. Is not the very foundation of reality, indeed, the drive towards union?

Atoms cling to each other, particles cling to each other, molecules attract each other and cling fiercely by forces massive. Is it “Love” is it “Passion” is it “attraction”?

What is the difference between passion and compassion, when the same word is the root of both?
Such questions puzzle me and keep me wondering. And I am convinced that most of my peers have as little of a clue as I do to the answers..

Everything fornicates, put plainly indeed, everything fucks.
Where, then, in this, is love? If Love is the urge and desire towards some sort of union with another, then love is the very force holding the cosmos together. A blind will, or perhaps something greater still.

but we understand it so little, and thus, the cause of our collective misery as men, and women.


3 Comment

  1. It amazes me too that English lacks a traditional word for the ultimate form of romantic love, despite most people experiencing it at some point, but now (since 1977) we do have “limerence” and can use that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limerence

  2. Yeah, it amazes me as well. And it saddens me. I mean, English is so good for certain things, like business, and commerce, but not so good a means of expressing other things, ultimate things.

    I believe that we are verbal beings – that only by putting things in words can we really comprehend the totality of our situation. By reserving one shitty word, love, for an immense domain of human sentiment and feeling, our experience of these feelings become muddled. This, I believe, contributes to the massive absurdities behind the Anglo-American experience of romance. What is “true love” ? well, there are so many.

    So many “true loves”, one we know how to ARTICULATE them.

    On the other hand English allows certain things to be articulated, and explored, with great ease and directness.

    Every language has its flaws.

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