I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Life not as we would wish

This theme arrived, ready-made, at about three this morning. Is it in any sense original?  Viable? Interesting?

We fall in love. For now love is not returned but there is no animosity. We are, however, allowed the presence of the beloved.

The beloved stands before us and that is the reality: the looks, the predisposition, the intelligence, the good, the bad. But reality is a neutral state conferred by nature, uninvolved and unjudging. We are involved and we do judge, thus our version of reality is distorted. The longer we see and communicate with the beloved the greater the distortion.

We go away and, in tranquillity, ponder the beloved. Without any immediacy to rein in our thoughts we speculate and we fantasise. We invest the beloved with qualities that may not be supported by any form of reality, ours or the neutral one; we may even imagine an improved appearance.

We return to the beloved. We may be refreshed but those speculations and fantasies do not necessarily go away; they may even be augmented because by now our means of assessing the beloved are defective, compromised by our feelings.

These distortions may be the result of trying to imagine a "better" beloved. A disagreement between us may test this tendency and we may suppress its effects. But as any psychotherapist will say: suppressed tendencies merely move to another room.

Perhaps the beloved relents and loves us back. We unite and live together, each with our distorted versions of each other. At a later, sadder moment, a distortion is recognised for what it is. Recognised but not accepted as self-wrought. We call treachery, we seek to blame. But what or whom may we blame?

8 comments:

MikeM said...

"The longer we see and communicate with the beloved the greater the distortion." You present this as a given. I'm not sure I agree.

Roderick Robinson said...

MikeM: What I should have made clear is that distortions are deviations from reality; they are both good and bad. Also that reality, especially during these early days of what may be described as courtship, is unreachable. It is always diffracted through the prism that is us.

Over the long-haul the distortions may change (inertia may play a part, we - the prism holders - may have other fish to fry, the physical urges may diminish) but if we somehow come upon a part of reality it will be accidental. Will we have the ability to distinguish between this new phenomenon and past distortions?

But I appreciate your point and you were right to bring it up. What I postulate is not a belief but a (probably incomplete, possibly erroneous) view of the human condition. It arrived during a dream, though I was careful not to say so since - for me - other people's dreams are a complete turn-off. I offered it as a subject for discussion, perfectly prepared to be shot down.

I was pleased you stuck to the unspoken rules of the post; that it is preferable to discuss the idea as a generality and not to invoke personal experience.

Perhaps too hot a subject for many to discuss?

MikeM said...

I spent at least an hour (maybe two) on it and typed many, many more words than I posted. I would say that the real question is whether or not the objective reality you refer to even exists.

Roderick Robinson said...

MikeM: You're probably right. For objective reality to exist it must, I assume, be perceivable. But only a human could perceive it (animals would be incapable of perceiving its completeness) and all humans, not just those smitten with love, would distort what they experienced according to their individual make-up.

However, objective reality might exist, or at least be defined in some way, as a theoretical construct which could have some use in philosophical debate - a bit like the square root of minus one. Reduced to a generally accepted symbol it could form the basis of such matters as deviations from objective reality, thus allowing a degree of measurement. No doubt I'm being terribly facile.

I'm concerned that I may be jacking up your malady. It may be some comfort to know that this topic was born out of malady. I am suffering an unwelcome return of the bronchiectasis which could threaten my singing lessons - sad in that I appeared to have made a significant step forward in recent weeks.

Lucy said...

Am impressed with this, that you can dissect and analyse in this detail such a fluid and fugitive state, and one that might seem to belong only to a certain phase of life, one which is blurred and occluded by subsequent overlays of adjustment - qed, I suppose.

'At a later, sadder moment, a distortion is recognised for what it is.'

Is it perforce sadder, though? Or maybe what Brian Patten describes the faces beyond
the faces. And it seems to me that while those early in-love, compromising states may come to seem delusions, they can still form a kind of bond, contribute to a sense of continuity? 'Do you remember when we were both deluded, what fun it was?'

That thing with 'imagining an improved appearance' and then having to square it with the renewed reality was unsettling though, wasn't it? To be young was bloody uncomfortable at times.

Roderick Robinson said...

Lucy: However much I tried this was never going to be a sealed proposition, a complete argument. It would always be what others made of it and almost certainly those "others" would surprise me. MikeM viewed it as an exercise in logic and pointed out a possible flaw. I was delighted to accept his suggestion and run with it for a little while. Apart from being a very good suggestion it was offered in a dispassionate tone and this was was what I'd hoped for. By deliberately de-personalising the proposition (in the matters of self and gender) I had looked for reactions which remained abstract. MikeM obliged me.

The odd thing is that this somewhat complex sequence of causes/effects arrived via a dream. Normally I avert my face when dreams are mentioned: too often they turn out to be self-serving. But this was slightly different; the situation had been handed to me as if written on paper. Given its nature, transcription proved to be a doddle. As if I were translated back 25 years into my former editorial chair.

And you have brought completely new dishes to the party. I didn't know Brian Patten but I am reassured to find he's quite old - a mere 11 years younger than me. Pure ageism on my part but I envied him his concise "faces beyond faces". The shock when we piece together the second face and discover it is nothing like its first manifestation. How could I have got it so wrong? we ask. How could he or she have got it so wrong? Is the difference the result of a conscious act?

I used "distortion" advisedly, realising it might imply "for the worse". But something like "change" would have been too wishy-washy. I had in mind a change we appear to impose, perhaps even consciously; our wishes are part of the process.

But what I hadn't allowed for and what you saw were the effects of time. Elbow room for distortions to become distorted - notably to lose their original energy and perhaps to morph into something benign. The "sadder moment" was merely one of an infinity of possible options, as when couples in, say, their sixties feel the need to separate with no third-party involved. There may be other reasons but married observers have a tendency to see this as sad - no other word.

And yes, the difference between youth and age, as if the one state was merely a smoothed-out version of the other. To which cliché labels are attached: embitterment is certainly not the exclusive preserve of the aged. As to fun perhaps the only real difference is that it tended to be noisier in our teens. I am having fun responding to you.

Thanks for your entirely characteristic response.

marly youmans said...

I expect there may be two or three couples on the planet who--after falling from the illusions of first love--refrain from accusing one another of being idiotic or false or some such, and who instead allow each half to teach the other little by little whatever is amiss. However, I have definitely followed dreams into stories and poems and find it a good door.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah, there are many reasons I remain unattached and independent. Yet when my heart is moved, I write words on my Olivetti Underwood.

Prost, Marly, for your words ... "I have definitely followed dreams into stories and poems and find it a good door."