the (mandatory) valentine’s post

Honestly, love is already a very overrated concept. It has been talked about in every form of media, inscribed on every possible surface (on paper, or as vandalism on walls and toilet doors), uttered in all the world’s languages. But despite the term being mutilated beyond recognition, love still stands as a bastion of man’s most mysterious concept/emotion.

When I was a kid, I remember how I have always loathed the questions “Define love” or “What is love?” (apart from “Who is your crush?” and “What is your most embarrassing/happiest moment?”) in those infernal slam (slum?) books. If the owner of the cursed tome was one of those adamant types who always wanted everything filled in, I’d put in some cheesy bullcrap like “Love is like a rosary that’s full of mystery” or “Love moves in mysterious ways”. Now I realize how absolutely retarded those answers are.

Years later, I still don’t know how to define love. Or if it’s actually even possible to define it. As I see it, it’s something like music–undefinable. Only to be experienced. A lot of writers have tried defining love. Tried describing what it is. Tried encapsulating its essence within the limits of words, only to fall short at the last stroke.

And so, I turn to other writers, trying to seek guidance on this labyrinthine matter. Jessica Zafra had this fun essay on falling in love. The operative word here, she says, is “falling”. All broken bones and bruises kind of fall. The term fall implies no free will in the part of the people involved, unlike “jumping” or “diving”, for instance. When you fall, you can’t stop it. You’re helpless. You either pray for some winged being to save you or wait for your splatting on the cold, hard ground of broken hearted-ness.

If this idea had a tinge of romanticism in it, then you have Jean-Marc Montjean’s (a character in Trevanian’s novel, Summer of Katya–really brilliant book) definition of love: as a form of shared state where two people feel some sort of security. Basically, it’s like sharing a blanket. It’s warm, it’s mutual, but it also sort of objectifies love.

There’s also love as something that connects people together. The novel The Rule of Four touched on how love is always a triangle. Or a parallelogram. Or any multi-sided shape, really. Person A loves Person B, while a Person C loves B. You can continue this connections indefinitely, thus forming a gigantic web of complicated love lives, flings, or relationships you never wanted. This interconnection also happens to be the premise of The L Word.

Then of course, there’s the scientific view of love as simply a bunch of hormonal responses which happen in the brain and not in that bloody, beating mess in your chest. But this definition is not without its magic. You feel these hormonal responses only in the presence of the person who is able to elicit them from you. The mystery here lies on ow that person is able to trigger your brain, making it release the hormones that you perceive as love.

So what did I learn today. Well, one, I still can’t define love. Two, it’s cliche but it really is complicated. And three, however we see love or however we “define” it–as a life-saver, life-wrecker, as the shit that hit the fan, as a longed for dream–man will always pursue it. Be it painful and unforgiving, we will still hear about it escaping from people’s lips, transformed into sweet nothings, which may or may not fall upon another’s waiting ear.


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A shy and quiet person who loves anime, books and Japanese food.

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