Sunday, March 04, 2007

Extreme sloth

Pretty Lady cannot be bothered to be witty and clever this evening. She is Loving Herself, and Believing in herself, and Waiting for Good Things to Come. Incidentally, she is stealing her column from Salon magazine:

For these believers, self-knowledge is much less important than self-"love." But the question they never seem to ask themselves is: If you wouldn't tell another person you loved her before you got to know her, why would you do that to yourself? Skipping the getting-to-know-you part has given us what we deserve: the Oprah culture. It's a culture where superstition is "spirituality," illiteracy is "authenticity," and schoolmarm moralism is "character." It's a culture where people apologize by saying, "I'm sorry you took offense at what I said," and forgive by saying, "I'm not angry at you anymore, I'm grateful to you for teaching me not to trust shitheads like you." And that's the part that should bother us most: the diminishing, even implicit mocking, of genuine goodness, and of authentic spiritual concerns and practices. Engagement, curiosity and active awe are in short supply these days, and it's sickening to see them devalued and misrepresented.
These people may speak for themselves; Pretty Lady has, in fact, met a great many people who told her they loved her before they got to know her. They looked her wetly in the eyes and declared their shameless, undying adoration for her theoretical existence, and then considered that their worldly task regarding Pretty Lady was done.

Pretty Lady had something to say about this, but oooo! Shiny!

20 comments:

danonymous said...

not a hundred percent sure if this is on target but this is where I go with love.
I'll say "I love you" to a quite a few people and sometimes it is understood and sometimes misunderstood. I love you does not need to be limited to spouse, kids and parents. I love you can mean...
I support you in your quest for yourself, I love you for your struggle etc, etc. It is as much as saying to the other person that I respect you as well.
For what it's worth....

Chris Rywalt said...

I've mentioned before that I fall in love too easily. In fact I told my psychiatrist that and he began to croon, "I fall in love too easily, I fall in love too fast..." Which was funny, because I only knew the instrumental version of the song from Miles Davis. It don't need words, man.

But, yes, I fall in love too easily. I don't think you need to know someone before falling in love with them. Knowing someone is intellectual, and love is something else. Love is...we usually say deeper, but that implies more important, and I don't want to imply that. Love is a different level, a different module in the nervous system, a different aspect of the soul.

When I was younger I didn't believe in love at first sight. I thought it was infatuation, or pheromones, or (as my friend Dave would say) "being taken with" someone. I actually firmly disbelieved in love at first sight -- in the idea that love could exist before friendship, before knowledge -- even after being with my wife for over ten years.

Then one day while explaining how we met and started our relationship to someone, I realized: We'd just fallen in love at first sight. Period. I don't know how or why, I can't explain it at all -- but that's what makes it love. Like painting: If you can write an essay explaining it, it's not art, it's a painting with an essay. If you can explain it, it's not love, it's words in the shape of love.

Love, for me, is simply a feeling I get when I meet some people. Not everyone. Some. I just love them immediately. Like Yossarian falling in love with the chaplain.

Anonymous said...

chris, i love you.

Chris Rywalt said...

But Anonymous, you and I have been having a love affair for years.

Well, it's more love/hate. Anonymous has certainly said some mean things to me at times. But you do only hurt the ones you love, right?

prettylady said...

It has been Pretty Lady's experience that love at first sight is indeed a genuine phenomenon, exactly as Chris describes it. However, she has also noticed that the people who actually declare that they love her, at first sight, don't.

No, these people are succumbing to a facile sort of Spiritual Pretension, which entirely occludes the possibility of actually coming to love anybody in a genuine way. She first encountered this phenomenon at a Younger Life meeting in junior high school; since then, she has encountered it regularly among the more evangelical element of any sociospiritual tradition one cares to name, except the Zen Buddhists, who are so abnormally narcissistic and cold that they think of love as a sort of Intellectual Phenomenon that they have, thankfully, grown out of.

People like this irritate Pretty Lady more than just about any other kind of irritating person. They mean So Well, and they are incapable of understanding that when they declare "I love you," it is STILL All About Them. They haven't gotten far enough along in their personal development to realize that there might be something lovable about another person, which cannot be perceived merely by glancing in their direction and giving them a patronizing hug.

Anonymous said...

oh chris, that was some other anon who said mean things. I've only ever said nice things.

Chris Rywalt said...

Pretty Lady sez, although not directly at me:
...when they declare "I love you," it is STILL All About Them.

I don't know that I can say it's not all about me. It may very well be all about me. I may be a crazed narcissist. I'm not sure how to tell, really.

I remember one of Kurt Vonnegut's characters, in Jailbird, I think it was, who never said "I love you" to anyone, because she thought it was like holding a gun to someone's head. Either they say "I love you, too" or they're forced to reject you.

I always thought that was a very sad way to view it. When I say I love someone, I don't feel that that obligates them in any way. In fact I don't usually say anything because I don't want people to take it the wrong way.

Chris Rywalt said...

Oh, and Anonymous, I'm afraid from where I sit, you're all the same person. You are large, you contain multitudes!

prettylady said...

In fact I don't usually say anything because I don't want people to take it the wrong way.

Exactly.

When I fall in love with someone, either at first sight or over the long haul, I usually don't tell them, as much as I show them. Showing them involves paying serious attention to their concerns over a long period of time, and assisting as seems appropriate.

Telling them comes much farther down the line, and involves a great deal of tedious repetition. The words have become so devalued by inane, thoughtless usage over the years, that either I must say it about fifty times or not at all.

starbuck said...

When I fall in love with someone, either at first sight or over the long haul, I usually don't tell them, as much as I show them. Showing them involves paying serious attention to their concerns over a long period of time, and assisting as seems appropriate.


I've tried that one... Showing a woman doesn't work. You have to tell her 10 times a day.. and after a year or two it comes out one day like this. "Yes! Of course I love you! I say it 10 freaking times a day! Can't you hear?!... uh oh,honey, I am sorry.. no I didn't mean it. It's just that I zapped myself while I was changing this light switch when you came a asking... No, I don't want a divorce.. yes I love you.. Yes, Yes.. YES DAMMIT! (sigh)"

Was that a little over the top? Is everyone looking at me like my choo-choo has gone around the bend?

(paranoid feelings)

Chris Rywalt said...

Starbuck sez:
Showing a woman doesn't work.

In case it's not obvious, you should rewrite this to read "Showing some women doesn't work." Like most things, it depends on the particular person.

It even changes with the same person over time. My wife never ever used to hear me when I told her I loved her. I used to say I didn't have a volume setting loud enough for her to hear it. Now, she seems to hear it all the time, even if I don't say it.

Crom said...

Someone at the Job recently was opening some Valentine's foil-wrapped candy when she noticed that there was some type of quiz on it and decided that she must subject all of us within earshot to it's profound query;

"What movie popularized the phrase 'Love means never having to say you're sorry.'"

A female voice piped up, "Love Story. You know the one, Al Gore starred in." Whereupon a colleague of mine wearily opined the following, "Love means never having to say you're sorry? What kind of crap is that? Love is a constant stream of apologies, I don't know what the hell she's talking about."

This almost cost me a new keyboard and monitor, because unfortunately I had a mouthful of bad government coffee that nearly redecorated my area.

oriane said...

Didn't you just love Ali McGraw's new documentary about global warming?

The Aardvark said...

You are large, you contain multitudes!--Chris Rywalt

anonymous, thy name is Legion!

-----------------------

If people would merely own up to their errors,
and really apologize (I'm sorry, it's my fault, I shouldna oughtta done it) our relationships would go so much better. Narcissism is key: I am perfect, therefore I have done no wrong, therefore your pique MUST be your fault.

Hurts my head.

helen reddy said...

I am large. I am invincible. I am Wooooman.

prettylady said...

Yes, indeed, Aardvark, someone very close to me once confided, 'You can have your pride, or you can have a happy marriage, but not both.'

And they say that Pretty Lady knows nothing of successful relationships. Hmph. She is surrounded by them. She could write a book..and this book would be big enough...to stun an ox...about successful relationships...in which she has no central role.

bobert said...

Some time ago I walked into a cowboy bar south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two buddies one hot, summer afternoon for a couple of beers.

When the barmaid, waitress, waitperson (whatever) came up to our table I looked at her and something in my teeny little brain said: "OK, that's her. Now where do we go from here?"

Other collections of brain cells immediately started clamoring about "holding the phone" or "What the hell you mean, that's her?", stuff like that. They lost.

My most immediate concerns were:

-1) That she wasn't already married.
-2) That she wasn't a lesbian.

A bit of sneaky snooping confirmed that 1 and 2 were not a concern, and it was full steam ahead after that. Still took three years of hard work.

Now, no way did I feel that it was love at first sight. I have no idea what it was, other than the rock solid realization that she was the one, period.

I have no explanations, but it all worked out just fine.

prettylady said...

Bobert, darling, that's the way to predicate the most important aspects of your life on hard-core empirical rationalism, there. Congratulations!

The Aardvark said...

....and this book would be big enough...to stun an ox...about successful relationships...in which she has no central role.--PL

Oh, gad...I wish I could give you a huge hug.
You quite break my heart sometimes.

Desert Cat said...

Narcissism is key: I am perfect, therefore I have done no wrong, therefore your pique MUST be your fault.

Hurts my head.


Agh! My migraine! That is the most maddening thing I have to face, right there packaged neatly in a single sentence. I just don't know how to deal effectively with that.