Sunday, November 23, 2008

A course in true love

"The course of true love never did run smooth" Shakespeare tells us.

Is this an empirical observation or a theoretical one? Is it possible to conceive of a love that would both be true and run a smooth course? Or could it be that 'true'-ness of love depends upon the course being unsmooth? And not only in the sense of observability - so that it is impossible to distinguish between love true and untrue till it is put to the test - nor even in a superpositional sense with love, like Schrodinger's cat, being both true and untrue until its path roughens. No, could it be that it is only through being thwarted that love becomes true? That the translation of desire into love requires interference, the emotion not diffused but filtered, winnowed, the more exacting process generating an output more exact? Could it be that the lust, far from being perjured till action, is in fact made more truthful by being more abstract, that being never enjoyed it is never despised? Could it be, in short, that love is only true until it is achieved?

Not that true love is imaginary, you understand, but that only imagined love is true.

[Have been reading Anne Carson's brilliant Eros the Bittersweet, in case you're wondering. Oh, and see also Browning]

5 comments:

km said...

Is it possible to conceive of a love that would both be true and run a smooth course?

It's only the literary construct of true love that calls for an unsmooth course. Drama without conflict is pointless.

What if the course ran unsmooth but the love turned out to be a false one?

Annamari said...

1. I totally agree. Not only pointless, but also an attempt to ‘idiotize’ the public by means of extreme boredom.
What if the course ran unsmooth but the love turned out to be a false one?
2. Than, a very short story.

Falstaff said...

km / annamari: Ah, but is it ONLY in literature that that's true? Is 'real' life really that immune to the need for drama?

Annamari said...

...it is only in literature that true love calls for drama.

I shall admit that my life is far from being immune to drama. And if life denies me its dry vermouth, than I bring it upon me ( love perceived as painfully sweet)…

However I do not think this does apply to most people, but all of them.
In “real life” some people are immune to drama and many others do build resistance to it (in time). And if they had lived happily ever after, it is not because they were indeed happy, but that there is nothing , but nothing to tell (write) about it…

km said...

Falstaff: is real life immune to the need for drama?

Only if you are a zombie.