Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Love is...

It’s that time of the year again…the time when love goes on sale and there are more than a few punters willing to invest their time, money and efforts to support their “cause”. Personally, I’ve always maintained that Valentines Day is nothing more than a commercial ploy; a term coined by the capitalists and bureaucrats, designed to exploit the masses and pilfer that which they can’t claim from taxes and essentially screw everyone out of their hard earned cash through psychological indoctrination and manipulation.

But “What is it about love that makes us so stupid?...” We’re stupid for buying into the cult practice, we’re stupid for not buying into it, we’re stupid if we’re in relationships; we’re stupid if we’re not madly in love with someone. Either way, from all perspectives, in varying opinions, we’re stupid.
What is Love anyway? Is it the roses and chocolates that he buys for you? Is it the way she looks at you? Is it the fact that he takes you out on a date? Is it those invisible heart strings that tug every time you see each other?

Call me a cynic…I’d actually like to call myself realistic and pragmatic…but I don’t believe that society’s idealistic perceptions and notions of Love exists. Sure there is lust and infatuation, two of the most common emotions that most people mistake to be love. In essence, what people actually love are the feelings and emotions that resonate within their souls when interacting with the object of their affection. It is not so much the other person’s physical existence, then it is about how that person makes you feel intrinsically when you’re in his/her company. It feeds the ego and self-esteem and in these terms Love is a very narcissistic emotion. It’s all about you, and how you feel, and what pleases you…well that is the mass produced version of Love anyway.

The one thing I do love is history. It allows you to capture moments in time before any inkling of you existed and one can even learn a few lessons from the lives of others. I recently stumbled upon a historical account of St. Augustine, and some of his works, the most notable being The Confessions, an autobiographical account of a period in his life. Augustine of Hippo, also known as St. Augustine was a philosopher and theologian, born on the 13th of November 354 in modern day Algeria to a catholic mother and pagan father. He was of Berber descent, not Roman as many believe, and lived a hedonistic lifestyle in his early years, much to the dismay of his religious mother. After undergoing an overwhelming personal crisis at the age of 32, Augustine decided to convert to Christianity, abandon any ideas of marriage and devote his life to God and priesthood. His personal friend, Possidius detailed Augustine’s personal traits and portrayed him as “a man who ate sparingly, worked tirelessly, despised gossip, shunned the temptations of the flesh, and exercised prudence in the financial stewardship of his see…and spent his final days in prayer and repentance”.

For me, the most captivating of Augustine’s thoughts are those of time and free will. Augustine believed that “God exists out of time in the ‘eternal present’; that time only exists within the created universe because only in space is time discernable through motion and change”.
Augustine also explains that “Any can be saved if they wish…while God knows who will be saved and who will not, with no possibility that one destined to be lost will be saved, this knowledge represents God’s perfect knowledge of how humans will freely choose their destinies”. These very sentiments were confirmed 200 years later, by our beloved Prophet SAW and was relayed to me a few months ago by Mufti Ebrahim Desai, when I enquired whether Dajjal (The Anti-Christ) would go to Hell (since his actions have already been pre-determined before his advent whilst the Devil consciously disobeyed The Almighty i.e. he was good and became evil).

Augustine is also famously known for his contributions to Christianity in the form of a psychological explanation of the Trinity and Original Sin of which I personally don’t accept to be true. But these aspects do not interest me as much as his views on love and lust.

“There seethed all around me a cauldron of lawless loves. I loved not yet, yet I loved to love, and out of a deep-seated want, I hated myself for wanting not. I sought what I might love, in love with loving, and I hated safety…To love then, and to be beloved, was sweet to me; but more, when I obtained to enjoy the person I loved. I defiled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I beclouded its brightness with the hell of lustfulness.” (Confessions 3.1.1)

According to Augustine, it is important to note the difference between love and lust because lust is an over indulgence whilst love is peace. He even stated that he was in love with the notion of Love and embarked on a lifelong journey to find the ever elusive Love. He eventually found Love in his relationship with God and came to the conclusion that only God can truly love you unconditionally, because human love is flawed and breeds emotions like “jealousy, suspicion, fear, anger, and contention.” Augustine believed that to love God is “to attain the peace which is yours.” (Saint Augustine Confessions)

I’ve witnessed the idealistic views of Love, often by those who have not witnessed Hate. And most who have not witnessed hatred come from nuclear families, cosy homes with married parents who bicker occasionally about matters that are as serious as dry laundry. There is a thin line between love and hate, which is called evil…and every good emotion and act, is balanced out with its evil counterpart. I’ve seen the evil side of Love, what it can do, how it can tear people, families and even countries apart. People do strange things in the name of Love. The very emotion that inflames passion can incite enough destruction and devastation that could rival a nuclear explosion.

A simple yet effective example of Love at its best and worst is evident in the television series Prison Break Seasons 1 & 2, where every single character is driven to abysmal acts and despicable behaviour…all in the name of love. Michael Scofield loves his brother and therefore plans to help him escape from prison. Lincoln was framed for a crime he didn’t commit because he was out trying to get money to support his loved ones. Sarah’s actions are motivated by her love for Michael. Veronica is inclined to help with Lincoln’s case because she still loves him. The rejection of the one he loved pushes a physically and emotionally abused T-bag to become a murderer, rapist and paedophile. Sucre was imprisoned for trying to get enough money to buy an engagement ring for the love of his life by robbing a convenience store. Abruzzi eventually dies when he goes after Fibonacci, whose testimony would have ensured that Abruzzi never saw his loved ones again. C-Note is driven by his love for his wife and daughter. Even agent Mahone’s actions are influenced by the love he has for his wife and child.

So love is not as pure, idyllic and innocent as most would like to believe. It has its dark shadows and what lurks there, no one wants to know. It’s a rather complex and intricate emotion and is not bound by restrictions and limitations. Love is capable of anything, and transcends the boundaries we set up for ourselves.

I’ve come to see Love as more than material gestures. Love is when you look in the mirror and you like what you see. Love is when a mother feeds her baby, patiently waiting for the child to swallow. Love is a friend’s unwavering support through good and tough times. Love is smiling up at the sky even when it is pouring on your face. Love is a concerned friend’s long-distance phone call to see if you’re ok. Love is a husband nursing his sick wife back to health. Love is a child’s laughter that warms your heart. Love is when your parent’s discomfort is a source of anxiety for you. Love is when you give your sister your last piece of cake even though it was so delicious and you wanted it for yourself. Love is when something positive happens in your life and you think of your Creator. Love is finding money in your pocket when you thought you had none. Love is that hug when you see a good friend after a few months. Love is the pain you feel when someone you knew has passed on. Love is the good memories shared by people.

Love is self-less and unconditional. Therefore, Valentines Day is everyday.


  1. Love is wanting the best for him even after he turned out to be a total ass. Not that I would know or anything - just a theory.

  2. Ahhh this post was soothing

    I love this:

    “Any can be saved if they wish…while God knows who will be saved and who will not, with no possibility that one destined to be lost will be saved, this knowledge represents God’s perfect knowledge of how humans will freely choose their destinies”

    and this:

    "Love is when your parent’s discomfort is a source of anxiety for you"

    and this

    "Love is smiling up at the sky even when it is pouring on your face"

    I'm going to bookmark this for those chocolate-less moments...

  3. love is everyday..... totally totally agreed!
    but for some westernized soul it comes once a year.

  4. "Love is when your parent’s discomfort is a source of anxiety for you"

  5. love is the song which leave the billboard charts but yet remains fresh, soothing, inspiring and complete in my heart.
    it is when i am all alone, i hum and i hum it so perfectly that even after years it makes me smile. shsssshhh no one needs to know !!!!

  6. I love the way you talk so openly about how you feel:) It is as you say, a characteristic of yours:)Id like to think love exists. But not the love we think. Love-love for me comes when two people experience things like a death, or birth or old age together. They have that intense experience that entwines them. I do not believe you can love-love someone after a few months of going out. I do believe you THINK you do though.

    Lovely post Azra:)

  7. Real love, is loving the imperfect person perfectly. I absolutely love this saying.

    Real love for me is giving of yourself, unquestioningly and never asking for it in return.

  8. I will not bore you with my idealistic banter on here so no comment... lol

    Really enjoyed reading this :)

  9. Thanks for your comments everyone :)

    I do believe that love as an EMOTION exists, but not in the way the world perceives it to be. Love is not all rainbows and fireworks. Love is not infatuaction and lust. Its in the little everyday things and thats what makes it real. Like I said, the worlds notion of love is "taking" from others, its all about you. But real love is self-less, it requires nothing from the other person :D

    Dew - When you study Psychology, you learn that there are many types of old age together is considered companion love etc. In my second year, we studied the symptoms of love and fear both are very similar ie. increased heart-rate, heavy breathing, sweaty palms, nervousness etc. and it was found that people who go through catastrophic, disasterous and intense experiences often mistake those symptoms of fear to be Love, when in fact, its not love at all but the symptoms are the same!

    I think alot of people are infactuated with other people...and then they convince themselves that they're inlove when in fact they're not. Becuase real love is timeless, and exists long after the relationship ends.

  10. Your continued belief in the existence of love is in and of itself idealistic.
    Love and all other emotion is merely a byproduct of the release of certain chemicals in the brain.
    That almost all of these chemicals can be artificially produced and then utilised to produce the same emotions sorks to this. The body tries to find 'love' because that particular chemical soup is beneficiald for human health, that's at the long and short of it.
    Lust is merely a response to the biological imperative to reproduce. That's why nursing women have really low libido's!
    The whole thing is just biochemistry designed to produce optimal conditions for human life.

  11. UJ - I definitely believe that Love is more than chemicals secretion in the brain purely based on the relationship between a mother and her child. That is pure love because even when you hate each other, you still love each other. And it's a bond that transcends Dopamine and Serotonin...I think thats where miracles from the Almighty are at work.

  12. I enjoyed reading this...thank you.

    People throw the word 'love' around way too casually without knowing the real meaning behind it.

    And I also do not think much of Valentines day...never have :-)

  13. i loved this post.. thanks for sharing :)

  14. I 'love' the last paragraph. Sadly, I have nothing as deep, or even nearing it to offer in return. So in your case, with this post, love is giving something amazing and expecting nothing in return :)

  15. >>It feeds the ego and self-esteem and in these terms Love is a very narcissistic emotion.

    LOVE it! :p i think my zesty has taught me, without intention, that love is whatever you make it to be. be it infatuation, lust, chemistry, compatibility, something shorterm and buzzing or long term and stable. its whatever you make it to be.

    i'm sorry..havent read most of this entry - only because i want to read it but dont have time time atm. however, i also wanted to leave a comment as im missing the whole of SA blogsophere, thanks to my minus-pc state :@


  16. It is said that a genius is profound without reflection....that means you either a heluva lot or your just a genius...Awesome post....anyways i had some ideas about the mag thng,hope im not out of line here....
    1.fisrt things first advertisers are key,they make the engine of the mag turn about making a full trial mag on powerpoint perhaps?and exhibiting it to potential mag advertisers to get them interestd
    3.these days i find flash memory sticks and cdz are so cheap,perhaps these can be an alternative to paperbak?
    4.if the advertisers dont wna budge how about making the mag anyway,puting it on disks,distributing it free with 1 catch,tell the people 2 visit a website,then see how many hits the site gets in relation to distributed copies?if it goes well this could be used 2 entice advertisers
    Anyways im sorry for the absurdly long post,hope it helps

  17. TCQ, NK - Thanks for the kind words.. :D

    Saaleha - Don't worry, I dont need anything from you :P

    Sofi - I think Zesty is right to an extent, hope alls good with you :P

    Mini - You just like drama :P

    AD - It depends on what people define as love because people generally lie to themselves alot.

    Nazeer - I do and have reflected alot, sadly I'm no genius...I've just been handed a very tough life from childhood and the lessons I've learnt qualify me in my assessments :D We are working on the mag will take some time due to other priorities, but we're definitely getting there.
    Thanks for your input and support :)