THE DOING WORD

1 Nov

Love, love is a verb, love is a doing word. Love is all you need (after you get the money). Love is not a bed of rose petals, rose is not the feathers on a duck. Love is a knife, love is a tidal wave, love is a long way down bouncing off the sharp rocks. And yet: love. Love me do; she loves you – yeah yeah yeah.

Love is a blunt and stupid word. Love means… what? Storge? Eros? Agapêton? The ancient Greeks had no word that fits the sentence: I love ice cream. Did they love food? I’m sure they did. But food was hard work way back when and love was a dangerous thing that needs must be controlled. Now we have choices and our profit on’t is endless dissatisfaction. The Bhudda tells us this is at the heart of all misery.

What was love in the days of religious war and famine? A brief moment? An impossible dream? I’d wager that the peasants that laboured the blood-mudded soil of Western Europe once upon a time did not have love. Couldn’t afford it. Marriage, child-bearing was a business matter. An economic issue. He might have a face like a mule’s but he’s a good worker, he doesn’t drink ale, much. And he won’t beat you up. Much.

A woman’s body was not a thing that belonged to her. What it did was central to a functioning economy, to the political order. She didn’t have rights but she had duties. And love had nothing to do with it. But… love. To be in love, to fall in love. This is a natural thing. The historicists are wrong. It is, this is obvious to everyone experienced with it, a physical thing. Love is body chemistry. It’s the electricity that fires thought. Many a girl was ruined by love.

Rembrandtsussana

“Susanna and the Elders”, 1647
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)

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