Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Darwin and the evolution of Love, Lust and Lounging- Jeff's attempt at redemption

I have decided that the fees charged by the modern day "head shrinks" are a bit out of step with the obvious uncertainty and fear that we, as a society, all seem to project. So, as with our judicial system, I have decided to bring my thoughts, rants and raves to a forum of my peers.

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" U.S. Navy Admiral David Farragut

As of recent years I have found myself pondering and wondering, what it is that makes people tick?
What is it that causes political and religious strife?
How do two people meet and decide to spend the rest of their lives together?
What causes them to choose otherwise?
How does a person really know and understand when they have hit rock bottom?
How do they know when they are at the top of their game?
Why would the average person question self reasoning, and yet, trust a Doctor they see a few times a year, implicitly?
Why does a sane and reasonable person trust political systems that fail them over and over again?
While I have neither great answers nor epiphanies to these age old questions- I do have a desire to understand them and by understanding them, perhaps move up on the cosmic ladder, or, at least, understand what it is that I am questioning all the time.

I bet you thought I was going to really dive into all these questions, huh? Nah, I am just going to try and throw out into the bright lights of public judgment a little bit of my life, thoughts, and questions. And perhaps, gain a better understanding through others what my life is all about.

Chapter one- Love or something like it.

If one was to go back far enough looking at the ideological concept of love one might suspect that "love" was more of a strong bond. A bond created in the brain in order to help with survival.
Did our distant ancestors experience the same kind of love that we do today? Did they feel love when it was found, as well as when it was lost?
Did Neanderthal humans feel butterflies in their stomach when they ran across a woman from another clan?
I would guess that they did.

As humans, we all have an incredibly strong urge to be social. But, above that is the urge to be truly understood and excepted, and while a "group" of people will rarely do both for us- if we can find those individuals that we truely connect with.

And folks, isn't that what is really boils down to?

And yet, how many of us have been in a relationship and either mentally or physically strayed?

Does this mean that the idea of one person providing understanding and safety is incongruent to what we really desire?
Does our desire to feel safe and accepted far out way many of our other personal or social desires?
If so, why?
Is it a throw back to a land before time? A land, in which, humans were few in numbers and spread as thin as butter on a dieter's piece of bread?
Did the origin of love derive from an instinct- or is there something more?
As with most people, I would like to believe that love comes from more then genetic coding of primordial ooze.
I would like to believe that love, its self, is part of a much more complex and intricate purpose. A purpose that we may never fully understand, but WOW, we really desire it.

Chapter Two- First Loves How does one define a "first love"?

I remember very well my "first love". It was at a summer camp that my parents always sent me to when I was a wee lad. The camp had everything a young boy could ask for. Swimming, archery, boating and GIRLS! It was a Co-ed YMCA camp and it was nirvana to a boy just coming into his own. Her name was Jenny. She was 3 years older then I was, and why not-I have always had a thing for the older gals. She had long straight black hair styled much in the way that any respectable rock and roll groupie, at the time, would have had. She had piercing blue eyes that had an almond shape to them. Her body was that of a water nymph that had been allowed onto dry land for a single day.... ah, see how our memories can embellish? lol I remember, going so far out of my way, to catch a glimpse of her that I would inevitably get lost trying to find my way back to the boy’s side of the camp. But it worth it. In one summer I had already figured out all of life's mysteries and decided who I was going to be with for the rest of my days. Unfortunately, nobody explained this to her. I am fairly certain that she barely noticed me the entire summer. Why would she? I was a 11 year old gangly underling in the camp's social hierarchy. She was a 14 year old Goddess, in her prime. At least, that is how I saw it. So, as with every season, changes occur, summer turned to fall and before I knew it I was back home. The last thing I was able to do before the summer's intoxication ended, was to have a picture taken with her and a quick, "see you next summer", written on the back, but alas, our life together was not to be.
Funny enough, of all the things I still have in my possession after all the years and moves is that picture and that memory of what I really considered my "first love".
Was that love? Or just a physical attraction? Could it be considered a "puppy dog" love infatuation?
For those of us that have decided that their is, in fact, more then one soul mate out there, it could have been love, right? For the rest, it was a "puppy dog" love infatuation, with many more to come.
But when does it stop being a "puppy dog" love infatuation and become what we adults, call "True love"? Do you think that perhaps, we can go through our entire lives with one "puppy dog" love infatuation after another?
And if so, can we still be happy, even though, we are told from birth that the "right one" will come along?
The older I get, the more it seems, we all base our happiness and success on those around us of similar age and backgrounds. We all strive to rise to an invisible bar of success and perceived happiness, which, inevitably causes the bar to continue to rise. Until, one day, when we are old and grey thatwe finally seem to gain a new understanding of what our "mortal coil" is all about.
Do we also gain a new understanding of "love", or is it an evolved understanding?

When I look at my Grandparents I am amazed and envious at what they have in the way of a true "partnership. They have been married forever and a day and now, unfortunately, my Grandmother has Alzheimer's. A wonderfully incurable decease that strips away from a person their very soul and mind. And yet, my Grandfather diligently tends to her every single day. Pills, food, re-explaining everything from the last 5 min. thru the last 4 years.

Is this "true love" or is this the "arc of the convenient" of ideals and hopes that we are all striving to find?

I am not in a position to make a judgment on that. ..... But I do wonder how I might react to a similar position.

Would I have the "love" and the patients too hang on to a situation in which I knew the outcome. An outcome that is predetermined. An outcome that is written in stone and no matter what I could possibly do, remains the same.

We are taught that we make our own future and reality, but this situation seems to supersede this concept.

I admire my Grandfather. He is a rough and gruff old guy, but the dedication that he shows to his wife is phenomenal. As the rest of the world deals with its chaos and seemingly insurmountable issues, he patiently attends to his wife. This MUST be what we all regard as "love". It has to be.

There was a time, in the not so distant past, that when a person had grown old and/or incapable, they would excuse themselves from the tribe/group and go off on their own to die. This was an entirely unselfish act that was dedicated to the tribes/groups overall health and survival.
In our modern society, this would be considered a legally punishable offense.
What changed?
Or what evolved? Or devolved?
If my Grandfather was to honor his wife's desire to "let go" and "go into that dark night" alone, in order to fulfill the natural circle of life- would he love her less- or more?
For everyone that is married, this question must inevitably must come to the surface.The answer to the question is as sad and joyful as life itself. And most importantly, we hope that we can find someone in our life that we can trust more then we can trust ourselves in order to feel safe- ah, there is that pesky safe idea again. Wow! What a switch back road we live.

Chapter 3- The Origin of Love-

The Greeks believed that all humans were once conjoined. Man and Woman were inseparably together in a rapture. They had two faces and eight limbs and it stemmed from the ultimate show of love from the God Mars to the Goddess Earth. And then one day Thor got angry, when he fell in love with a female human, but he could not separate her from her male half. So he asked Zeus for permission to smash all humans with his war hammer. Zeus said, "No, I will split them all in half with my lightening bolt and then you may have your human wife". Then Zeus shot down lightening bolts and split every person in half. Thus leaving all men and women searching for their "other half" forever in time. However, it is impossible to fully rejoin two people because it is our souls and not our bodies that most desire to be reunited. Could this be the truth in which we all seem to be in search of? Could it all be this simple? Is there a chance that we can only be truly fulfilled when we find our counterpart? What about the concept that we have been spoon fed most of our lives- " you can't be happy with anyone else until you are happy with yourself"? Which one is correct? Which one fills the huge questioning void that most of us ask ourselves at some point in time? Chapter 4- Do we place too much importance on the concept of "Love"? If I was to tell you that I would give you anything in world that you want, BUT it would shorten your life by 20 years. Would you take my offer? Or, if I was to tell you that I can give you immortality, BUT you would have to watch as all those around you age and die. Would you take the plunge? Isn't the outcome of "love" somewhat similar? Unsure and tenuous, at best? A huge Casino style crap shoot? For most of us, we plod through life week by week year by year. We create a life that suites our primary needs and is somewhat fulfilling. And then one day, BAM! We meet someone that changes our entire balance, much as an ear infection affects our ability to walk straight. Very soon we find ourselves evolving and revolving our life around someone that, until recently, we did not know even existed. Why are we so willing to change our goals and in many cases our core beliefs and values all for the sake of "this crazy little thing called love"? I am not sure about everyone else, but I have worked hard all of my life to create "myself" and my identity. Who I am, what makes me, me. And, like many others out there, I have found myself more then willing to throw all that hard work to the side when the "right" person comes along. Inevitably, it always seem great and magical for a period of time and then, much like loosing a job, there comes that one day when I either choose "greener pastures" or she does. Then the wonderful process of picking up the pieces begins. Packing up the proverbial desk in my cubical of life. Saying my goodbyes to people that I am sure I will never see again, and yet we go through the polite process of telling them to "stay in touch" and "I'll let you know where I end up and what happens". Finally take that walk of shame out the door. Vowing to never go through this crap again. Yeah, right! As the dust of life starts to settle once more, I always find myself contemplating," where would I be right the second, if I had not gone down this particular path"? "Would I have been better off, worse, or the same?" More importantly, "did I learn anything from this"? Inevitably, I reach the same conclusion- no matter how much I try, I will, more then likely go through this process again and that is no good asking "what if". So, once again, "Do we place too much importance on the concept of "Love"? Dear reader, I will leave that to you to decide. Each of us has an inalienable right to pursue what makes us happy. The most we can possibly hope for is the ability to learn from every min. of everyday, what it is that truly makes us happy. It may seem to the casual reader that I am against this idea of love and life time partnerships, but that could not be further from the truth. I simply question the way in which most of us pursue our pot of gold, and why we do it so vigorously. To be continued-