Last week, I went to a party at Erin’s. I started talking to Justin about the acoustic music that Erin’s friend (or non- friend, as it may be… side story) was playing as the main event. He said that he didn’t like it: it didn’t apply to him. At first I was a little bit insulted and thought he was saying that just to be funny, but I have given it some thought, and I, resultantly, respect him more for his statement. We started talking about reasons why a person would or would not like a certain work of art (For the sake of the reader, I refer to art in all forms… almost always the case in my writing. Music, painting, sculpture, film, and theater and performance arts- all inclusive.)
I posited the idea that almost anything can be dissected and understood, in reason and rational digestion and exploration. I believe that. I think that you can come to an understanding of your human animal and your instincts, personality, and general existence through dissecting it. Have a problem? Write it down, exploring every aspect you can think on about it, and it will unravel- the question is how big is the problem, and-for me especially- how much time and effort do you have to put into dealing with it? To really exploring it? Want to understand yourself a bit more? Choose a topic about yourself, and do the same, writing down every dirty little reason, all that you can muster to your recollection. Things will surface for you that you weren’t really even aware of allowing to let influence your life. (Lots of examples here… all side stories… ask if you don’t get what I’m saying…) Basically, I believe that things can be broken down into bite-sized, understandable proportions in an orderly manner and understood as such.
Then, Justin brought up the idea of love, challenging my claim to rational contemplation. He asked me how much personal taste came into play- most specifically about art. It got me to thinking, I mean, yeah. How much, and to what degree does personal taste effect personalities? I guess the better question would be how can I understand personal taste and love in a rational way that I have sought to understand everything else?
I really still think that I can account for everything that I really enjoy- there are aspects of joy in everything that I love- For example, I incidentally happen to really love paintings by the modern artist Piet Mondrian. At a base level, sure personal taste comes into play but I feel like I can account for every single element I enjoy, and I can articulate them individually, as well as on a whole. I love the idea behind his works- the revolutionary nature of what he was trying to do. I love the boldness of his colors- in their primary, unabashed harshness. I love the way that he set the record straight and proved that art does not have to be figural to maintain classical principles of balance and harmony as so many artists and movements had supposed. I love the history of Mondrian himself- his life is fascinating, and I can attribute that (cyclically) back to the enjoyment of his works.
I love music for various reasons, based on the particular song- I have found that I am more lyrically driven in my preference of music than anything else, but that to me is rational- a poetic stanza makes me want to be with a particular piece more and more. In other cases, particular beats and arranged phrases awaken something ancient in me that makes me have to move- either internally of physically, visibly. Of the history thing comes into play in songs that are familiar, as well as in the adventure. For me, music is also a social medium where adventure, exploration and learning are open and freely exchanged between individuals. I like being involved in that. But these reasons for “deep feelings and affection for” are broken- down, rationalized and well thought out elements of enjoyment. Not love.
So maybe his challenge still stands, though. I mean, maybe this passion and interest that I have in great 20th century art or really really good (personal opinions aside) music is NOT love. Maybe I don’t really understand the concept of love? I tried thinking about it in context of personal love- the type not of things or of ideas, but of a person, and therefore maybe real LOVE cannot exist for anything other than another human?
I looked to my family, as they are the people with whom I have to most experience loving. As a child, I remember thinking about my parents when they were away from me- I was worried that they wouldn’t come home, that they’d get into terrible car accidents, or they’d get lost, etc., and that led me to worry about what I would do in such a case. This wasn’t love, as I realize now, which (I hate to admit) I think I had allowed myself to believe. This was dependence, and it was crippling. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that I love my parents, but I still think that the attributes that I had given to love are not realistic. They are not love itself, rather they are characteristics that often accompany love- enjoyment, codependence, fulfillment, satisfaction, entertainment, grief, comfort, remorse, confusion, wonderment, delight, longing, and a whole list (miles long) of history, and those emotions are dissectible and compartmentally understandable.
Ok… I totally adore my little brother. Love him, you could say. But I feel like that is a rational kind of love- I love things about him, love his traits and attributes, and I admire him. I miss him when we’re apart, and I hope and pray for the best for him. I am interested in, and hope to have a hand in helping him achieve goodness in his life. I am willing to do anything in my power for him, and I would, given the opportunity. I want to give him everything. I want him to have everything that I have. Those to me come close to equaling love.
However, I feel like I just described to you a love that is more base and could be a motto of some sort of governmental protection agency or something… so what is it, then, this concept of love?
And is it really unable to be understood and opened up?
I was thinking about it more today as I sat in church, and was totally baffled at the outcome of my thoughts. I realized how driven I am by love, but also how little I understand it! In church, the point was raised that Christ loved and loves each person as an individual, because they are, individually, children of Heavenly Father, and also because Christ is love (That is an interesting concept right there, that I feel inadequate to understand right now, although I have tried countless times…). That is, after all, why he was able to make the everlasting, overarching, individual as well as universal Atonement. So how do I, as a mortal access that? Is it because of my nature as a child of heaven? Does all of the love in the world stand as a proof of divinity, and is therefore dismissible as “not able to be understood at this time?” Does my divine inheritance- do my very make-up, my genes and my cellular structure push me, fomenting this ability and capacity for love?Could Justin be right? I guess personal taste and love really do play a part. I guess love really can’t be understood. I just want to get into it and see how ways I can understand it. I want to see and be able to say that I can dissect and digest this concept, which I have come to be so practiced at doing to other concepts and ideas. Do I really have to chalk this up to the big mystery of life? Am I really unable to wrap my mind around this?