When something is removed from its historical context, it appears as an oddity, if it is even noticed, for some anachronisms are subtle. Most often any anachronism which one may encounter today has been made palpably obvious; its likely appearance is utilized in a movie; it may be done to obtain a laugh, or to present a mystery which is to revealed or unfolded through the vehicle of the film…
A number of years ago, while attending a class on PLC’s (programmable logic circuits) – a class whose attendees ages varied by as much as 45 years – the topic of sexuality and love became something of a break-time (spanning several breaks in class) controversy. A young girl – an electrician, let us name her: “Joan” – couldn’t get her head around my remark, viz: “If love is an emotion, it betrays!” Joan actually giggled when I made the claim and intimated – by her demeanor – that my remark was rather stupid. And yet I tried to explain the meaning of the remark; of course Joan repeatedly interrupted (interrogated, is more descriptive of the experience, and of course such experiences are commonplace to one that articulates a criticism of the accepted culture and its corresponding decay…) me as I attempted to explain, in answer to her question.
As it turned out it was the Holiday season, I think post-Thanksgiving, and several weeks into Advent, thus secular Christmas songs were ubiquitous, and so I asked this girl if she had ever heard the song: “Let it, Snow”. It took me several lines and a bit of the tune before she acknowledged she knew the tune. I pointed out that the song was an anachronism because the guy in the song isn’t going home (“…But if you really hold me tight, all the way home I’ll be warm…”), because the girl will not require him to wait until marriage. In rare instances, the romance which the song encapsulates, today survives, but such are rare indeed; romance – and being raptured by a woman – thrives when sexuality is limited, and bound with a lifelong commitment. Joan didn’t understand that, and again interrogated/interrupted me as I tried to explain…
I explained to Joan, in another way, and this one struck home! I asked Joan to imagine a young man – call him “Joe” – whom with she met and had fallen madly in love, and he was madly in love with her; shortly after they meet, they move in with each other; of course they cannot be with each other enough. She – Joan and Joe are made for each other and spend their every waking hour trying to be near each other, and when they dream, they are in each other’s dreams… Joe claims that Joan is the most beautiful woman in the world, and aches when they are apart, even for a few minutes, and Joan feels the same way about Joe… This romance continues for several months, and then Joan’s best friend – let us call her Cindy – comes to visit from Cleveland, Ohio.
Joan is a comely lass, but Cindy is drop-dead gorgeous! Although Joan doesn’t notice Joe’s reaction to Cindy, Cindy notices and she likes it! Cindy detects that Joe finds her physically attractive, and as it turns out, that Cindy isn’t as good a friend, as Joan had thought her to be… Well, it doesn’t take, but a few days before Joe is completely infatuated with Cindy, and Cindy with Joe. Joan finds out when she walks in on them as she returns from work… In the aftermath, Joe wants nothing to do with Joan, and Cindy tells her best friend: “Sorry, Joan! We didn’t intend to hurt you!” And that is that! Joan, of course, may feel betrayed and used and – as those which vainly pine for another’s attention – broken-hearted, but there are fewer and fewer “happy-endings” in modern romance because the basis of romance – the unfamiliar/mysterious1 aspect in relations – has culturally been abandoned… Our culture has more and more – post-Kinsey – reduced sexuality, and sexual-relations to the physical/material; a casualty in this reduction has been romantic love because feelings do not, and cannot, in and of themselves entertain an “ought” and they certainly cannot – by definition – be resolute.
Chesterton argues: ‘that romance originates in Christendom, and answers a double-sided spiritual need through a combination of the familiar and the unfamiliar…‘ (We only paraphrase Chesterton, one may need to read Chesterton’s Orthodoxy to appreciate how he sees reality… If you haven’t read Chesterton, you are depriving yourself of a great, great joy!) Now Chesterton is not addressing romantic love, but romantic loves may be subsumed under Chesterton’s thought; those which have experienced the intense passion of a non-sexual (i.e., absent sexual-intercourse, but not absent petting), sexual relation (Once upon a time many men and women were virginal on their wedding day; Alfred Kinsey was a liar!), may today understand why “she walked on water,” (I guess women may have similar reactions to men, but if one looks at all the art – various genres – originating from man’s love/desire of a woman, it should be clear that men are more deeply affected by women, than the reverse); the unfamiliar, to which Chesterton refers, has to do with each holding back (i.e., inhibiting base/animalistic urges, subordinating such impetuses to a rule reason; note that this not lying, or deceiving; see note1 below), and has much to do with desiring to be more, and better2 so as to capture fair-lady…
Joan now understood then what I meant by: “If love is a feeling, it betrays!” for she had experienced – if not directly, then indirectly, through something like what I had described. Those ordered – or dominated – by pure emotion and/or desire, may burn hot, but they do not burn long and as fickle creatures, they are subject to desire, and possess not the requisite qualities to long enchant, nor be enchanted with, their mate.
1 These unfamiliar/mysterious aspects are made manifest in each denying to themselves, and their impetuses to satiation of their desire in disregard of the other’s moral dignity; each not being conscious of what soulful attraction the others moral dignity plays in their attractiveness. As men and women, voluntarily deny their impulses – as they formerly did, prior to the sexual-revolution – they become, through such denial (i.e., their characters, and personalities, demeanors are altered) creatures of greater depth, and thus become more intriguingly/enchantingly noble, and therefore more likely that the rapture of the other becomes a permanent bond (i.e., till death do us part).
Within a culture which embraces objective principles of moral-virtue, in its institutions (so as to be ubiquitous), and within common-parlance, monogamy would find support; the initial romantic appeal and attractiveness, of the male for the female, and the female for the male husbands and wives for each other would be reinforced, deepened and mature (through life-choices whereby each subordinate their immediate, and/or selfish interests/desires to their bond of union/love; each choice – made as one – knits their souls ever the closer, ever the more one…), to become couple that still feel “flutters” at the sight of their beloved, even after years, and years of marriage.
2 What is meant by: “more” or “better” has to do with the actualized-potency of what it is to be a moral creature… A moral creature may subordinate any, all impetuses/appetites to regulation (non-rational creatures have not such a capacity); it is from this same capacity to impose limits upon one’s conduct, through which a moral being may become what they are, and it is from whence romance may emerge, and be sustained.
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