I Love You
Does anyone ever want to be stupid?
From an early age, I wanted to be smart. I'm sure if given the choice, I would have preferred to be a professional ball player (does it really matter the sport), but I was not given the choice. Due to poor eyesight, my eye-hand coordination was abysmal, which means out on the play field, I was among those last picked, which means I dropped out of organized team sports as early as possible. No one missed me.
I mention this only because instead playing on the high school football team or whatever, I read books. Lots of books. Books about everything. Whatever books I could lay my hands on, continually, throughout my entire life, first thing in the morning, last thing at night, most of the time in-between. In fact, I figure between the ages of ten and forty (I don't read nearly as much as I used to), I read at a rate approaching a book (or a book worth's of content) every single day. And for those of you who haven't already done the math (in their heads, no less) or for the rest who can't be bothered to whip out a calculator, that means I've picked up and perused something along the magnitude of 10,000 tomes of knowledge (plus more than a few magazines, websites, and what not, but whatever). Point is, that's a lot of knowledge.
And one of the topics that was hit on in those books more than once was Love.
What is love?
What is the nature of love?
Is love natural?
Limited to man?
And so on and so forth.
Being young, arrogant, and cocky, I didn't have a problem coming up with an answer to any of these questions.
Question: What is love?
Answer: Love is putting another person before oneself.
See, easy. You may disagree with my definition, but it's mine, it's what I came up with, and it served me well (or not so well, I'll let you decide) for well on thirty-five years. Until earlier this week, in fact.
Where Tit for Tat goes wrong.
If love is putting another person before oneself, then love pretty much doesn't exist. Almost no one puts others before themselves, so love is a fiction. It's something we say... but best not to say it first, if you know what I mean.
And over the years, I developed some rules regarding saying 'I love you', to wit:
I suppose I could go on (he said, not really having any idea what the next item on the list would be if he did go on), but it would get repetitive (once again, not knowing what I'd say, I'd probably have to repeat myself). And since, I don't feel like repeating myself (no, really, I don't), I'll slyly change topics.
- Never say I love you first.
- Take note if another person says it.
- Stop saying it if they ever stop saying it.
- So, basically play a wait and see reactionary game.
You see, defining love as putting another person before oneself is so obviously a rarefied occurrence that for most of my life, I simply stopped saying anything like it altogether; and in it's place, simply list off another's positive attributes (i.e. Truths about them).
'I like spending time with you.'
'I respect your opinion.'
'I am happy when you are around.'
'I like the sound of your voice.'
'I would be sad if you went away.'
Stuff like that. These words may or may not mean love to you, but since love had no meaning, they were as close as a person was likely to get from me... unless I really didn't give a shit and saying 'I love you' was just easier than anything else, you know, say at family gatherings and so on (I am practical enough not to have desired a protracted philosophical conversation with many a dead relative). So, saying 'I love you' was one of those white lies; and being a lie, I avoided saying it as much as possible.
A Paradigm Shift
Just when you thought Love couldn't be stripped of any more meaning.
So, fun things have been afoot in my life. Not a lot of words here, or maybe too many. So, perhaps, more like experiences that I wish to catalogue, but in another's writing I would find them to be gratuitous; thus, I'll try to be brief.
Now, none of the above really addresses the point directly, so let me tell one more little story. Being angry, being a jerk (but then, 'asshole', such an excessive term, but whatever, angry man, here, for months on end, so), I found good and many reasons to share the wealth. In short, I caused grief for those that I loved. But, and here's the thing, while they were reacting to my anger, I felt that I was being victimized by their... whatever (not important, what is important is that); since they loved me (or thus they claimed), they were saying crap like, 'We love you Brett,' when obviously they were trying to fuck me over, so a pack of fucking lies that 'love you' shit. Oh, and hey, I'm fun at parties, too. Strangely, I don't get invited to as many of those as I used to...
- My father died recently.
- Please, save your condolences, just another meaningless bit of politeness to me... or, you know, that's the wrong attitude, so 'thank you for your concern'.
- My grief was so minimal, that it made sense to redefine grief as that which I was experiencing after my father's death, no matter how meaningless those experiences might seem.
- Thus, I was happy to define grief as that which happens during a typical period of mourning.
- I was actually happy, pleased in a bizarre sort of way when I finally cried, that I was able to cry. Yes, I cried over my father. See, I am human. I never thought I would.
- As my father died, I was angry.
- Anger is a phase of grief.
- I was angry. I was in grief. Ergo sum, even though perhaps I'd been an asshole to numerous people for months, hey, not my fault, see, because grief.
- This sort of blanket forgiveness to myself I found amazingly useful.
- Some homeless chick hit me.
- I suppose the good story would be how we were haggling over the cost of services to be rendered and she was insulted by my lowball offer. But truth is, I was looking at her, she saw me, walked my way, and I looked away, not wanting to establish rapport (and her asking for money), whereupon she hit me (in disappointment and frustration, no doubt).
- If we lived in caveman times, I would have bashed her skull against the nearest rock, covering my hands in the goo that only moments previously had been her drug addled brain.
- Sadly, we do not live in caveman times.
- Happily, I am a self-aware cromag and realized within an hour or two that she had done me a great service. See, I'm a hunk of burning love... or physically fit enough that a punch to the chest from a meth-head in the throes of withdrawal is a meaningless form of assault. I mean, she could have cut me, stabbed me with a syringe, pulled out a gun and shot me, or spit on me, and who knows what nasty shit I'd be trying to fight-off this very minute if she'd spit on me or worse yet, bit me. So, hitting me was a sort of blessing. It could have gone so much worse.
- Finally, all anger is self-directed. Claim to be angry at whatever you want. I am always angry at myself. The reason I wanted to murderlize that... er, um, lady, was because I'd handled the situation wrong and had not been paying enough attention.
But whatever, here's the thing, the final piece in the puzzle. It doesn't matter that the wrongs that I suffered were all in my head (but then, were they, were they really). What matters is that I felt wronged and the wrong doers (such a watered down phrase, so back stabbers the lot) were telling me they loved me.
Oh! I reasoned. So, that's how the game is played! Love is just a word. It's a word that's said at certain times, to certain people, in certain ways. Obviously it has no meaning. None whatsoever. And I've been playing the game wrong for most of my life.
Time to change how I play the game!
I love everybody now.
It's true. I love you... and you... and you.
And since that might not make all that much sense, it's a good thing there's another section to this, here, rant.
A New Way of Being
I am God's Perfect Child!
Deal with it!
Let's connect the dots one more time.
Does that make sense?
- Grief is that which a griever does.
- Love is that which a lover does.
- I don't have to justify it or explain it.
- And if I call it grief or love, that's what it is.
I mean, I'm sort of thankful that homeless girl hit me. Obviously I was doing something wrong, something that created a negative impulse in her and she was letting me know the best she could of my transgression. Of course, if I ever see her again, I'll move my self-preserving ass to the opposite side of the street just as fast as my legs will carry me, while she'll probably hiss at me, and in this way, we will love each other.
OK. I see your point. It sounds like bullshit. And it is, but that's just because we're talking abstractly.
When I walk through an intersection, I am very careful. Oh, but do I get angry at those thoughtless drivers... or did, those cars were not respecting my space, but they are never going to respect my space, what I need to do is respect their space, hop out of the way, and let my love shine through by being generous to those around me, by allowing them the ability to drive like the maniacs, hell bent on mowing down pedestrians, that they are.
I don't know. Somehow, it doesn't feel like I've hit the nail on the head. Love is empty. Love is meaningless. Love is just a word. I write this website. It is free. I want you to read it. I want you to prosper. I want your children's children to read this website. Does that make any more sense? In a very real sense, at the core of my being, the way in which I have decided to spend my free-time, reading, writing, coding, analysing, presenting, it's all an attempt to move mankind forward, to move humanity forward. If I didn't love you, why in the world would I do such a thing? I mean, come on, every day, I hear such good things about (and see the fine results) of doing meth in the park (I mean, after all, you get to hit people), so there are alternatives...
But then, I was saying something (important). And that's that love is meaningless. (OK, so maybe not so important.) Love is a garbage term in a way, because if it's so open ended as to mean anything, then it's not predictive. For instance, come tommorow, I may decide to hell with writing rants (just like today, for some reason today, I decided swearing was OK, even though I've avoided it for the most in these rants, thus far), and my life may change, my ways, methods, and means may change, but in the end, I believe that I am one of the good guys, and I wish you the best, because I love you.
See, empty words.
But would you rather I wrote about how much I loathe you all? Of course not.
Fact is, I am no longer an intellectual. I don't care about the game. I don't care about the definition of words or keeping score or anything like that; no, not any more.
I mean, I am so unbelievable rich (in the way of things that money cannot buy: i.e. a full set of teeth, a keen if misguided intellect, and so on and so forth); and I was so close to being brought down by some stupid homeless chick (when all I really had to do was quicken my pace and/or run away); that it would be profoundly stupid of me not to love each and everyone of you with all of my heart. And if to do that, all I really need to do is throw away some silly self-made definition that never did me any good in the first place, well then, that's a small price to pay. And, hey. Let's face it. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm all about paying the small prices in life. It's just my way.
Given that I am a lover not a fighter.
Love is that which I do (by definition).
And since this is what I do,
in writing this page,
I love you.
And in reading this page,
you have loved me.
I know it reeks of nonsense.
But in there, somewhere, lies the truth...
Love is everything.
Love is nothing.
'Love is all we need'.
© copyright 2016 Brett Paufler