Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The problem of looking for love, today, is a problem of handling multiple selves.

What we look for when we look for love is for someone: who will allow, and not just tolerate, these selves; who will have the curiosity -- and consequently the patience -- to want to understand us, and continue to understand, and not force us into spiritual cul-de-sacs and hold us hostage; who will nourish -- and not mutilate -- our various selves. Someone for whom we will be more than willing to spawn more selves, on our own terms, as we reciprocate.

Do we have many selves? I think it's safe to say that. But we need a little clarity here as to what we mean about a self. Is it the same as a mood? Because then that would mean what we are looking for is someone who will just tolerate our mood swings. And if a self is different from a mood, how?

The difference between a mood and a self is, in my opinion, one of longevity and democracy. Where a mood comes and goes as it pleases, a self seems to be ... umm ... self-sustainable. While there seems to be a default mood that all moods are supposed to defer to once their fifteen minutes under the spotlight is are over, our selves, on the other hand, seem to co-exist peacefully, having agreed among themselves as to who will take over when, depending on the utility of a particular self under the given circumstances. Where a mood is puerile, a self is mature. To make it more fascinating, perhaps a self is just a grown-up mood that refused to go away.

So then, do people have multiple selves? I'm going to be slightly presumptuous and say that the majority doesn't, based on anecdotal evidence (very suspect, yes). And even among the minority which does, most of them -- that is the majority of the minority -- are not aware of all their selves, in the first place, or what drives these selves. These people, then, either struggle to accomodate these selves in a world that is, it has to be said, more kinder to such schizophrenia than it was before because it offers more opportunities for peaceful reconciliation of our multiple selves without self-destructive rebellion, or, are confused about these selves because more often than not a greater degree of ... ummm ... self-control is required to attain a reconciliation of selves than it is to shun parts of themselves to retain the illusion of control; it's easier to give in to order and method than it is to push oneself to the precipice overhanging the abyss of madness that such schizophrenia naturally is. Because, all said and done, the precipice induces a vertigo that is tempting to succumb to, a tempting vertigo at that*. "Madness is like gravity. All it takes is a little push."**

So, this then is the challenge of love: How well do we know ourselves? How well do we know each other? How selfless can we be as we strive to realize the essence of our selfishness? How patient can we be in our efforts at self-realization in the face of hormonal impatience? How willing are we to allow, understand and nourish? How willing are we to give in to the madness of our selves and yet not go mad ourselves?

* - Now why is it tempting?
**- Line from the movie
The Dark Knight.


vestige of the world said...
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vestige of the world said...

You've written that majority doesn't have multiple selves.I disagree.
They rather live in sheer nescience.
They are comfortable with such ignorance.
I disagree with you on another point.
Co-existence of selves need not be peaceful.
Sometimes they keep warring with each other.