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Thinking about the unthinkable

This essay on romantic love and the modern world made me think hard about relationships, which is something I try not to do too much because it depresses me or makes me philosophical or both. Anyway, people talk a lot about sex and romance and friendship and it seems to me (as it does to this essay writer) that they're all aspects of the same thing - you love your lovers and your friends and your mistress and your spouse but they're all different ways of expressing love. Yeah, sure, sometimes you're just having sex for the fun of it (though I think this is more of a guy thing than a girl thing) but for the most part I don't think people have sex just to be having sex - they're trying to create or strengthen a bond that goes deeper than ordinary friendship.

The problems with this arise because we don't really have very good ways of distinguishing eros from agape from the kind of love we have for our family, and to a certain extent that's because of the way English is, but it's also because as a society we make assumptions about the kinds of love that are suitable for certain kinds of relationships, and when some people express love in a way that doesn't fit the societal template other people get uncomfortable. Complicating the matter is that there's no consensus any more on what the template is, as there used to be just a couple generations ago and still is in a lot of places.

Anyway, enough of my BS. Go read the essay. It'll make you think.

Via Eve Tushnet, who would probably lead me to where I ought to be if I read her more often.

Afterthought: Yes, the post title is a deliberate riff on the title of Herman Kahn's book on strategic nuclear warfare.