Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mind meets Heart

Rose meets Gregory and emotions meet rationality... that's Barabara Streisand and Jeff Bridges in a wonderful comedy (that didn't do too well at the box office): The Mirror Has Two Faces.

There's this one long - but wonderfully scripted - scene in which Rose, a professor of English Literature holds forth on why people fall in love. And Gregory, a maths prof. at the same university (Columbia) sneaks in to get a look at her because he's looking for a relationship that goes beyond sex (which is all he's had with some of his students).

Here's what she says to her class:

This is the scene at my sister's wedding.
She's getting drunk, regretting that she got married for the third time.
My mom's sprouting snakes from her hair in jealousy.
It was perfect ...We've got three feminine archetypes: The divine whore, Medusa -- and me.
What archetype am I?-
The Virgin Mary? -

Thanks a lot, Trevor.
No, the faithful handmaiden. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
It proves what Jung said all along. Myths and archetypes are alive and well and living in my apartment.

As l stood beside the altar beside my sister and her husband to be, -- it struck me that this ritual, a wedding ceremony, -- is the last scene of a fairy tale. They never say what happens after. That Cinderella drove the prince mad by obsessively cleaning the castle.They don't say what happens after because there is no after.

The be-all and end-all of romantic love was ... Mike?


You have sex on the brain.


But it wasn't always like that. The thirteenth century had ''courtly love'', which had nothing to do with sex. The relationship between a knight and a married lady of the court ...And so they could never consummate their love. They rose above ''going to the toilet in front of each other'' love, -- and went after something more divine. They took sex out of the equation, leaving them with a union of souls.

Think of this. Sex was always the fatal love potion. Look at the literature of the time. All consummation could lead to was madness, despair or death.Experts, scholars and my Aunt Esther are united in one belief:True love has spiritual dimensions, while romantic love is a lie.A myth. A soulless manipulation. And speaking of manipulation ...It's like going to the movies and
seeing the lovers kiss ...The music swells, and we buy it, right?So when my date kisses me, and l don't hear strings, l dump him.

The question is, why do we buy it? Because, myth or manipulation, we all want to fall in love. That experience makes us feel completely alive. Our everyday reality is shattered, and we are flung into the heavens. It may only last a moment, an hour, but that doesn't diminish its value.

We're left with memories we treasure for the rest of our lives. I read, ''When we fall in love, we hear Puccini in our heads.'' I love that. His music expresses our need for passion and romantic love. We listen to La Bóheme or Turandot, or read Wuthering Heights, -- or watch Casablanca, and a little of that love lives in us too. So the final question is: Why do people want to fall in love -- when it can have such a short run and be so painful?

Propagation of the species?

We need to connect with somebody.

Are we culturally preconditioned?

Good, but too intellectual for me. I think it's because, as some of you may already know...

While it does last, it feels fucking great.

Go unearth a copy of the film from your local library. While it does play, it's good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well - that's one way to look at it. I don't think we understand this phenomenon called 'love'. It's got way beyond hormones or propogation of the species or marriage or romance or Plato. Keep an eye on it, though. When it hits us, it is more destructive than any tsunami, and not always as 'fucking great' as it is made out to be.