Towards Happiness? On Romantic Love and Hope

These thoughts are insane. This is more of a discussion prompt than anything else. I am ready to take back nearly anything and everything below.

1. I don’t talk about happy things very often, and I regret that, because one reason why I push this “let’s all know more” thing is that I’m hoping knowledge can make people happier. Even sad love poetry discussed at length lets one know that there’s nothing that can be felt that hasn’t been felt before. One doesn’t have to feel alone if one doesn’t want to.

2. And yet it seems that an emphasis on knowledge creates giant obstacles to happiness. We recall that Dickinson poem where it looks like asking too many questions about a lover will destroy love. The problem goes deeper than potential nitpicking, of course: it looks like, regarding any lover, that the hopes one has invested in a lover and the lover her/himself are always in conflict. Our hopes for someone refer us to something like Providence: we make them greater than they are, we hold them up to standards that their everyday selves couldn’t possibly achieve. We think all will be well in due time. Nevermind that Providence can be an exceptionally cold thing, so much so we may not care how much the object of love loses as long as they’re satisfying our expectation.

It would seem that to rid ourselves of this problem, we can rid ourselves of such hopes. But no one wants to be loved so basely – even God believes and trusts in us. To take someone as they are truly is to take in who they want to be and who (we think) they’re going to be. Our hopes matter, and when we love, our hopes are connected with their hopes, even if there is some distance between the two sets.

3. If you’re wondering where I got the above discussion from, I got it from thinking about an anime for pre-teen girls called Inuyasha. I’m not kidding: the title character once had a girlfriend who died when the two were tricked into attacking each other. She hit him with an arrow that would eventually put him asleep eternally; he being not quite as nice mortally wounded her. The series starts with him waking up because of a future incarnation of her spirit, and while those two start getting feelings for each other, it turns out – don’t ask how this works, I said the anime was for 9 year olds – someone wasn’t really dead. What provoked this line of thought was when the original girlfriend, who has somehow become more powerful than ever before and leads the old boyfriend indirectly, attacked the reincarnation so as to kill her.

4. So you’re probably looking at the Wikipedia page linked above and realizing how ridiculous and girly this series is, and wondering where my sense of shame went. The worst thing is that I haven’t seen the whole series yet, so it could go in a direction that makes these thoughts invalid as regards its own themes.

But I’m wondering right now how crazy this world is, where thoughtfulness is where one would least expect it. There’s something about knowledge which approaches the mystical as it tries to make sense of this tragic girliness, where love is a drama where people who govern nations, rescue others, hold their ground in combat all fail to make any sense of it. Something about knowledge changes, where it can’t be predicated on apprehending lots of very particular things, perhaps the product of gossip or a skewed vision, in order to love someone. It has to involve a sense that everything will work out well, and that unity with another is worth it. A greater Providence emerges, which has just as many risks as not loving at all.

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