| What is Love? Some famous definitions from 400 years of Literary History!

What Is Love? Famous Definitions from 400 Years of Literary History ~ Brain Pickings.

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.”

After those collections of notable definitions of artscience, and philosophy, what better way to start a new year than with a selection of poetic definitions of a peculiar phenomenon that is at once more amorphous than art, more single-minded than science, and more philosophical than philosophy itself? Gathered here are some of the most memorable and timeless insights on love, culled from several hundred years of literary history — enjoy.

Kurt Vonnegut, who was in some ways an extremist about love but also had a healthy dose of irreverence about it, in The Sirens of Titan:

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.

Anaïs Nin, whose wisdom on love knew no bounds, in A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953:

What is love but acceptance of the other, whatever he is.

Stendhal in his fantastic 1822 treatise on love:

Love is like a fever which comes and goes quite independently of the will. … there are no age limits for love.

C. S. Lewis, who was a very wise man, in The Four Loves:

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

Lemony Snicket in Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid:

Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby — awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess.

Susan Sontag, whose illustrated insights on love were among last year’s most read and shared articles, in As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980:

Nothing is mysterious, no human relation. Except love.

Charles Bukowski, who also famously deemed love “a dog from hell,” in this archival video interview:

Love is kind of like when you see a fog in the morning, when you wake up before the sun comes out. It’s just a little while, and then it burns away… Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality.

Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.

Ambrose Bierce, with the characteristic wryness of The Devil’s Dictionary:

Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

Katharine Hepburn in Me : Stories of My Life:

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.

Philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell, he of great wisdom, in The Conquest of Happiness:

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky puts it even more forcefully in The Brothers Karamazov:

What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in a letter to his ten-year-old daughterexplaining the importance of evidence in science and in life:

People sometimes say that you must believe in feelings deep inside, otherwise you’d never be confident of things like ‘My wife loves me’. But this is a bad argument. There can be plenty of evidence that somebody loves you. All through the day when you are with somebody who loves you, you see and hear lots of little tidbits of evidence, and they all add up. It isn’t purely inside feeling, like the feeling that priests call revelation. There are outside things to back up the inside feeling: looks in the eye, tender notes in the voice, little favors and kindnesses; this is all real evidence.

Paulo Coelho in The Zahir: A Novel of Obsession:

Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.

James Baldwin in The Price of the Ticket: Collected Non-fiction, 1948-1985:

Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.

Haruki Murakami in Kafka on the Shore:

Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It’s like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven’t seen in a long time.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Airman’s Odyssey: Night Flight / Wind Sand & Stars / Flight to Arras:

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.

Honoré de Balzac, who knew a thing or two about all-consuming love, inPhysiologie Du Mariage:

The more one judges, the less one loves.

Louis de Bernières in Corelli’s Mandolin:

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

E. M. Forster in A Room with a View:

You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.

English novelist Iris Murdoch, cited by the great Milton Glaser in How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer:

Love is the very difficult understanding that something other than yourself is real.

But perhaps the truest, if humblest, of them all comes from Agatha Christie, who echoes Anaïs Nin above in her autobiography:

It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.

Archival postcards courtesy the New York Public Library

_________________________________________________________________________

SIMPLE

And Doc Truth’s personal favourite:

Gnomic Verses
Love to faults is always blind
VII

LOVE  to faults is always blind;

Always is to joy inclin’d,
Lawless, wing’d and unconfin’d,
And breaks all chains from every mind.

~ William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.

… not to omit:

‘Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, whileloving someone deeply gives you courage.’ ~ Lao Tzu,

and:

“Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. 
It may be that you will not meet again in life.” 

~ Jean Paul Richter German author (1763 – 1825)

 

hate love1

| Outdated: Rethinking America’s Exceptionalism!

Rethinking America’s Exceptionalism ~ The Globalist.

Can Americans exist without the ideology of exceptionalism that has carried them for over two centuries?

Myths enclose those who believe in them. They are not subject to debate or rational consideration. One cannot hold them up to the light and parse them for their true and applicable aspects as against their false and misleading ones.

They are there, stories whose frequent telling has inscribed upon them a balanced, inalterable structure. This gives mythology its enclosing character. One lives either within it or not, one either accepts it as a guide to “what happened” or not and, finally, “what will happen.”

Perceptions of self and other are often rooted in myths. And so it is for Americans. And yet, our time is a time of de-mythologizing.

For us, we Americans, that means we are now called upon to advance beyond the mythologies that carried us from our nation’s very beginnings until 2001.

That is why this is such a big moment historically, as large as when our common narrative was first articulated, in its quite mythological form, almost four hundred years ago.

This point should not be difficult to grasp. Many Americans understand already, it seems to me, what truly happened in September 2001. But for others the point may prove nearly impossible to accept.

It did not help that the Bush Administration chose to case the events of September 11th as a call to arms, a time to reaffirm the very things that, in those horrific moments, had finally become untenable.

We had clung to the notions of American power and exceptionalism already for far too long — and with ever less good reason or grounding in reality.

This inability to come to terms with where we stand as a nation — and where the United States stands in the world — becomes readily apparent when we observe what we call our “culture wars.”

Providentially blessed?

Or when we listen to our national political discourse. When we consider policies for health care, immigration, education or the proper regulation of our markets, does it truly make sense to claim that our institutions, as established, are providentially blessed? Is it wise to keep spinning the myth that we still live in sacred time and should therefore be immune to change?

Do we not face conditions at home and abroad that are evolved such that we, too, must consent to a changed America, lest it fails to advance? If we are not ready, or capable, as a nation to do that, can we seriously say that we are evolving historically and are ready to leave certain beliefs and practices behind?

Given our internal divisiveness, even the question — to say nothing of any answers — seems nearly intractable. Too few of us seem able to face it. The unworkable condition of our national politics represents an uncrossable divide.

“In the end we couldn’t connect,” House Speaker John Boehner, a conservative Republican, said as he emerged from talks with President Obama in the summer of 2011. “Not because of different personalities, but because of different versions of our country.” This is the point precisely.

Letting go

A question arises that may determine the future of the United States itself: How can a people disabuse themselves of their mythological beliefs?

Fortunately, this challenge is not without precedent. There are examples threaded through history: The English, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Germans, the Japanese, certainly the Chinese, they all had to undergo such a transformation to find their common core, or a new one.

All of these peoples (and many other, less powerful people, too) have let go of the national myths that had once driven them on. These myths may linger as stories, but they are understood to be no more than that.

No doubt, this process of de-mythologizing one’s own nation is painful. In every case, it was a response — whether to defeat, decolonization, internal decay and sometimes more than one of these in combination. In short, the disillusioning of a myth-driven people is always a national reply to the knock of history.

Editor’s note: This essay is adapted from Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century by Patrick Smith (Yale, 2013). Published by arrangement with the publisher. Copyright © 2013 by Yale University Press. For previous excerpts see here and here.

________________________________________________________________________

Hegemony A

| Don’t be gullible – it’s April Fools’ Day!

April Fools’ Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.

In ItalyFrance and Belgium, children and adults traditionally tack paper fishes on each other’s back as a trick and shout “April fish!” in their local languages (pesce d’aprile!poisson d’avril! and aprilvis! in ItalianFrenchand Flemish, respectively). Such fish feature prominently on many French late 19th to early 20th century April Fools’ Day postcards.

The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer‘s Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 by Pope Gregory XIII as New Year’s Day of the Gregorian Calendar in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, sometimes questioned for earlier references[1].

Contents

Origins

A ticket to “Washing the Lions” in London

Precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria, held March 25,[2] and the Medieval Feast of Fools, held December 28,[3] still a day on which pranks are played in Spanish-speaking countries.

In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392), the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is set Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two.[4] Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, Syn March was gon.[5] Thus, the passage originally meant 32 days after April, i.e. May 2,[6] the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381. Readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean “March 32”, i.e. April 1.[7] In Chaucer’s tale, the vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox.

In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “April fish”), a possible reference to the holiday.[8] In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1.[6] In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as “Fooles holy day”, the first British reference.[6] On April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.[6]

In the Middle Ages, up until the late 18th century, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation) in most European towns.[9] In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on April 1.[2][3] Many writers suggest that April Fools originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates.[2] The use of January 1 as New Year’s Day was common in France by the mid-16th century,[6] and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon.

A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK and those countries whose traditions derived from there, the joking ceased at midday.[10] But this practice appears to have lapsed in more recent years.

_________________________________________________________________

APR FOOL

External links:

BST 1