Before I begin this essay, a short proem is probably necessary. If you are in love with someone, you probably shouldn’t read this, but you may do so at your own discretion. This was written in light of my recent decision to follow, above all, the yogic path, as I feel it will, when combined with a great deal of research into the sciences, philosophy, languages, and the arts, allow me to benefit the most sentient beings. This path requires me to abandon the prospect of romance for the most part. In rare circumstances it will be permissible, but only if said relationship would be in the best interest of my goal of alleviating the suffering of as many beings as possible. In any case, I had to really think this through, and so this is the result after having done so, written literally thought-by-thought, as a stream-of-consciousness. All else aside, I think it’s pretty awesome to be able to reason your way out of attachment, aversion, or any other afflictive emotion.
I’ve been pretty lonely most of my life, and it’s been getting pretty intense recently, but loneliness doesn’t matter: we’re always alone. In lacking physical human contact, what I lack is a mere object. If I had an animatronic robot with human-like skin, I would still be said to be “alone.” But this is merely the physical, human discussion on the other hand, is plentiful through all the electronic devices at my disposal (cell phone, laptop, and so forth). But it’s not conversation I want is it? It’s not even physical contact–these are mere symptoms, side-effects of what I’m really after: the affectionate love of another. But then, what exactly is that? I can never experience the mind of another; therefore the mind-state of “love” is expressed purely through the words (speech) and physical actions or contact (body) of said person who “loves” me. And if I’ve already shown the relative emptiness of the speech and body–the very vehicles of communicating mind–then I’ve also in turn shown the emptiness of the mental side as well.
The whole experience of “love” is one which entails physical and verbal interaction which supposedly show the mind-state. Returning to the animatronic robot, if it were fitted for sex and said constant words of unconditional affection, it would fulfill effectively my body/mind’s internal (perhaps biological) need for “love.” But like all such things, love is an externality, and thus my mind does not depend on it for its clarity or contentment. These qualities exist within the mind itself, where they can be triggered by external factors, but notably need not be.
And further, why would anyone need love? Are we that insecure that we require the validation of acceptance by another? Or is it selfishness, ego, or pride which makes us cling to the notion of someone becoming attached to us? Because that’s what we’re talking about here right? Romantic love consists primarily of variant forms of attachment: eros, philia, etc. leading up to devotion and agape. Agape is found from holy men all over the world (or by a personal deity, if you ascribe to such a belief) if that kind of unconditionality is thusly needed. Devotion though is not so readily found in others; certainly not devotion exceeding self-devotion (which to me is the real definition of “I love you”). But then, why do we so badly need to feel another’s devotion towards us other than our own general insecurity? That’s right: the need for love is a manifestation of the ego’s fear for itself. The ego feeds off any kind of validation. Such desires indicate an ego that is strong, and thus a mind which is heavily insecure in its own identity. The romantic relationship is not necessary for happiness if one takes the path of self-transcendence or self-extinction–the path of the sage or yogi. Clearly, I do not require romantic love while traversing the path I am now taking (but my strong desire for love is evidence of the great insecurity of my own mind, and all the work I have yet to do).
…But of course, as the Arabs say: God knows best. Only time will tell (and probably many friends of mine who end up reading this) whether I am correct or not.
To clarify the above post, here’s an analogy that i used in explanation for someone in the comments:
We all live in our own enormous skyscraper. The higher we go, the happier we are, but we almost never make it beyond the first floor or two, or really even get higher than the basement. So to experience the “happiness” of height, we leave our skyscraper and climb dangerous hills or piles of garbage even, which first of all never get as high as the skyscraper, and which we also often fall down from and hurt ourselves. Most people don’t even know they have a skyscraper, and of those who do, few go through the effort to climb the stairs. What i’m doing is recognizing the futility of climbing dangerous, rocky hills where i often experience great pain, for the unmatched bliss i can attain through climbing that which i already own, and know to be safe. Given that my goal is to reach the unmatched and blissful height where i can see the true nature of everything below, it’s silly for me to continue chasing dangerous piles of rubble. But for those who aren’t seeking such a difficult goal, any height will usually do for the moment (i often wish i could say this for myself).
Now if that makes any sense, i’ll be very glad. The hills of rubble are romantic love, which albeit can be gateways to higher forms of love like true agape, but these purer forms of love can be found within the skyscraper of the mind as it is. There is no need to look any further. So long as my happiness depends on the external, i will still experience suffering. So long as i experience suffering, i will not possess the wisdom that will allow me to benefit the world. In sum, to see romantic love as empty is necessary for my own peace and contentment for the time being.