I was supposed to be reading Gilgamesh when I flipped over to some Love Poems from the Ramesside period of 1300-1100 BCE. One describes a girl’s shyness over a boy who rides in on his horse. Another is a boy’s depressed state that he blames on his love (he says he’ll feign terminal illness just so she’ll see him one last time). Yet another describes how a girl will seduce a boy by getting him to go swim with him while she wears her new sheer swimsuit from Memphis.
Love is a biological thing I guess. When I was younger, I never would have admitted it. It seems so real – like the most real thing that could exist. But it’s all hormones and emotions tied into a drive to keep the species going while providing an existential excuse to continue on through the hardships of life. Not a bad bargain I guess. And yet it sucks to see life through the eyes of wisdom. Know why the Teacher in Ecclesiastes sounds so depressing? Because wisdom is depressing when viewed with temporal human eyes. That’s why love appeals to us. It causes us to go beyond ourselves. The mountains at sunrise, the roar of the beach, the completion of a song, and the best paintings in the world – these all draw people beyond theirselves. They point to the existence of things beyond the mind of mankind. This is where my ontology meets reality. This is why it matters and how I can agree with Graham Harman about the centrality of aesthetics in philosophy (although I not as strongly).
But seriously, love hasn’t changed because it’s tied to human nature – every magnificent moment and every damned disaster.