Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Note on Unrequited Love

Sometimes unrequited love is quite beautiful, especially when both parties are mature about it, and have acted graciously.  There is never any need for cruelty when both parties are  mature and respectful, nor any need for changing any feelings (but the need to change some expectations and intentions).

In the case of brain function and architecture, it seems that nature is efficient for our purposes only when we delimit its impulses toward some more refined goal-seeking behavior.  The problem is that our purposes are usually "duct taped" onto primary urges as their sloppy diplomatic gesture to the world or "objective reality" in request of being fulfilled as some desire.  

That might remind us of the Daoists who claimed that it is man's artificiality that is the problem, and that because it was not derived from a virtuous sincerity. Our methods were clumsy and inefficient because our motives were not as pure as they ought to have been for the circumstances of our actions.  (Some good academic discussion on this topic is here)

Aristotle reminds us that True Friendship (friendship par excellence and in epitome) involves a bond between two persons of genuine virtue.  Many people claim the office of friendship, but they are entitled to that claim no more than their proper claim to virtue allows.  And the truly virtuous will assign their libido last place in life, and assign their development of character first place. And only by this is sublimation truly possible.  The hypocrisy of suppressed feelings is also merely a sort of ineffectual duct taping over the the truth.

Unrequited love, when held respectfully in the heart, is a treasure unto itself.  If one has such feelings, and they are genuine, then it is likely they will be detected by the other.  Sometimes they develop for a lack of knowing significant things about the other, such as their relationship with someone else.  In that case, a revelation about that will be inevitable and if that love was respectful, it will not unduly encroach.  These things can be felt and intuited.  In this case there is no need to be harsh, just as the other was not being crudely demonstrative.  People might sometimes be unsympathetic to their suitors, but to be cruel or evil in rebuffing or manipulating is hideous.

Unrequited love of this kind is sublime, is undying and of inherent value, and has a benign effect on both parties when allowed to be what it is without unduly acerbic treatment.  If the friend zone can be gracefully achieved by those two people, then it is proof that the love was in no way wasted, as the person loved was worth loving as a person, as a friend, and also that they have integrity.  It is unfair to expect integrity for feelings which they may even have toward you (not requited love, but consonant feeling), but not to expect integrity for feelings they have for someone else.  It is perversely selfish in that case.  If they are willingly bound to another person, even for reasons we dismiss as "not right for their best interests", then it is not necessarily endearing to persist in directly feeding one's own gracious behavior into the scene as a form of persuasive contrast qua intervention.  That has to be done very subtly and without any sense of pushiness.  But better, with some mature sense of the danger involved in pursuing a person who has a vested interest in what seems to be an unhealthy relationship.  Their reactions to the advertisement of feeling from an unwanted suitor (or even a suitor they might find desirable), is not likely to be healthy either.

But when the both parties are mature, and it is a case of the chips falling the one way rather than the other. a gracious demeanor about the whole thing, from both sides, allows for a friend/colleague zone which makes the memory of both persons to each other to be a pleasant one.  There is not necessarily a demand that the third party to the couple change his feelings about his loved one.  It is just that, in the case where such feelings cannot be returned, the third party must reasonably change his expectations, or risk running aground on the rocks of delusion and insult.

No comments: