Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Love and Dr. Cho

During a social marketing lecture one night; the infamous Dr.Cho was emphasizing to us the importance of "knowing our audience" in developing a successful marketing campaign. She cited her friend's definition of love:

"Love is complete understanding." (Dr. Cho's Friend, 2002).

I don't know that I'd agree with that statement. Certainly, I don't think you could help but love someone you "completely understand". But as for the reverse? Well, I disagree. Maybe it just has something to do with fancying myself as too enigmatic to be "completely understood" by anyone foolish enough to love me, but I just don't think it's as simple as all that.

My undergrad course of study centered around a good deal of biological anthropology (e.g. evolutionary science) at its end. My fave professor, the hilarious and Santa-esque Dr. Bob, often engaged us in debates and discussions regarding the evolution of "romantic love". Why was such a thing adaptive, and when and why did it originate? Dr. Bob and many of his colleagues describe romantic love, or "pair bonding" if you're referring to early hominids, as a phenomenon that came about in order to assure the continuation of the species. You see, hominid young require so much attention that little time is left for such dalliances as hunting, eating, and protecting oneself from predators. Thus, it was important to have an extra pair of hands (and teeth) around for these activities. One parent cared for the young, the other focused on "chores". Voila! Romantic love is born. Ya gotta have a "reason" to stick around your australopithicine female once her teats start to droop and her (bipedally muscled) rump starts to sag.

So when did the "complete understanding" begin? Is the love felt by those earlier compadres of ours lessened by their potential inability to completely understand each other? Or was it much easier to do so in "those days"?

God knows I don't completely understand everyone I love, have loved, or will love. In fact, I'm not sure I'd feel safe saying I "completely understand" anyone. Hell, my cat doesn't even make sense to me most days.

If you ask me (and, by virtue of reading this, I'd say you're doing so), love is more about the desire for complete understanding. About "understanding" and recognizing the bad along with the good; and accepting, even embracing, it all--instead of trying to tease apart the pieces of someone; devouring only those you like or that meet your approval--like picking the carrots out of a bowl of lamb stew so you can eat the meat instead.

In my life, I've been more of the carrots and I've been more of the lamb. And I've flung aside the most important parts of someone-- pretending not to see the carrots because the lamb seemed so good at the time.

I've learned since then. Hell, the stew's just not as good without the carrots.

So, "complete understanding"? I think not. But suffice to say I think that loving anyone or anything (including yourself) does require a certain level of understanding, and an inquenchable desire for more. Not to mention the ability to see it through when the predators are nipping at your heels.

No comments: