Tuesday, February 26, 2008

meanings of love

In the aftermath of my little meltdown yesterday, I've been thinking a lot about what words can mean. And I've been thinking a lot about the way we react to words, as well as the way our words shape us in those reactions. I think I think too much.

The following is something someone told me long ago. I wrote the reaction long ago too, and adapted it to use at my wedding last spring.

A friend of mine once told me this:

“I believe the way we talk, the words we have, partially determines what concepts we have available, what tools we have for dealing with and clarifying reality around us and more importantly within us. There are some areas in English, however, that greatly need expanding. English is one of the most plastic of all languages, adopts and absorbs and modifies anything from anywhere, yet it’s so stilted in some crucial areas.”

One of these areas, I’m convinced more and more, is the concept of “love.” So much confusion and misconception could be cleared up just by adding some words to expand it from its simple singular existence into something that more accurately reflects the myriad ways in which we employ the word. It goes far beyond the romantic connotations. Adding more words would add corresponding concepts into the national consciousness and clarity to the vagueness, and maybe a little revelation and self knowledge. It could save a lot of wasted lifetime nationally.

The ancient Greeks had, what, 4 words for different types of love? The Hopi Indians have a dozen. We have one. A person can say I love my car, my mom, my house, my artwork, drag racing, milkshakes, my lover, my song, freedom, my dog, flying, the smell of burning rubber, my country, my spirit, God, and even sports teams, and that person doesn't mean the same thing at all by each 'love.’ And when we do speak of romantic love, we don't love each person the same way. It's not even about amount--they are just different, different frequencies and flavors, and sometimes not comparable.

I think that making assumptions from the vagueness of language causes a lot of problems and damage. People automatically assume the other person is talking about the same
concept/emotion/experience they mean just because they're using the same word. I think English needs some tuning up clarifying words. Maybe we should add some.

It probably won’t matter though. No matter how many words you have in your vocabulary for a concept, it doesn’t matter if you don’t truly believe in the concept in the first place. We give it lip service, but we don’t pay attention. I think that’s what our problem really is: too many of us “love” our cars and our houses and our flags, but we have never truly learned what it means to love each other.

And to love ourselves.


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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and