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"I Love Thee...I Love Thee Not...I'm Confused": The Idealism and Realism of Love Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Feyikemi, Jun 18, 2005
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“As for me, to love you alone, to make you happy, to do nothing which would contradict your wishes, this is my destiny and the aim of my life."

Are these words not the sweetest one can ever say to the love of his or her life? Apparently for Joséphine of France, these words were enough to marry Napoleon Bonaparte and cut short her numerous liaisons with various French politicians believing that she had actually found the love of her life. But history does not end with “and they lived happily ever after” for while seemingly contented in their marriage from the public’s point of view, both Napoleon and Josephine resumed their insatiable passion for having affairs with other people which almost led to their divorce in 1799 – three years after the dreamy courtship and marriage.

How could two people, joined by such magical words, break a solemn vow of loving and living for each other till the end of their lives? Not few would argue that true love exists only in the ideal world; its alter ego, the real world, is where one should firmly ground his or her feet when it comes to love. Still, many ask: why then can we not live in the ideal world of love? Does the adage "love conquers all" hold not any meaning anymore? Again, many would say, it does in the ideal world.

People who believe that everything perfect is in the ideal world are called idealists. Oftentimes, they are viewed as eccentrics more than perfectionists because they do not adhere to the rules of the real world; they try to change real perspectives to those that are ideal. Ideally, when it comes to courtship, love and marriage – fidelity, complete honesty, and loyalty are the main components of an idealist’s perspective. On the other hand, realists of the real world believe that since man is not perfect, ideals are non-existent. They believe that in love, it is possible that fidelity, honesty, and loyalty can exist only to a certain degree; that these components can attain neither completeness nor perfection. That anyone who wishes to have an ideal love would do better to stay single till old age.

The adherence to reality is very much evident in the present time especially among young people. No longer do they believe in having sex only in the bonds of marriage; sex, they say, is the best manifestation of love, love that would hopefully proceed to marriage. No longer do they believe in fidelity; love they say is a lifetime process of searching for the right person and not a once-in-a-lifetime commitment to only one person. Reality, it seems, has become so distorted that people have lost their sense of morality and ethics. Men juggle relationships left and right justifying their actions by saying that they would be faithful once they get married; they couldn’t find the right woman just yet. Women, on the other hand, seem to be willing playmates in this sort of charade; reasoning out that they can do what men can and it has nothing to do with machismo. Women, pretending to be idealistic, hope that the right man who comes along would be understanding and accepting; but not just yet.

If these are the echoes justifying immorality, one wonders what determines who the right person should be for another; one asks what determines enough. Again, realists would say it depends on the person and his or her perception of things. But is reality always right when it is subject to every individual’s perspective and judgment? Or maybe man has found a way of circumventing the rules of the ideal world, substituting it with that of the real world because he is aware of his shortcomings and lack of sound judgment. How then did he create a real world? How can he distinguish right from wrong if he eludes the voice of his conscience?

Perhaps humankind is just weak and quick to succumb to what is pleasurable thinking that ideal happiness in an ideal love belongs to another world. Idealism acknowledges Realism because it is from the ideal that real was born; it is our lack of courage and determination to be perfect that we create a world of our own where all we do is right and justifiable; that being morally upright, faithful, loyal, and true are but illusions because Realism denies Idealism.

When in love, we listen to the words from great lovers such as Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Paris and Helen of Troy and never reflect why these great loves ended in tragedy. It would be better to listen to the wisdom of the Old Skin Horse in the well-loved children’s fairy tale “The Velveteen Rabbit”:

"What is ‘real’?" asked the Rabbit, "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are real you don't mind being hurt."

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WRITING IS MY PASSION. I have always loved writing - both in English and Filipino.

I would like to believe that I have touched some people's lives with the feature articles and poems that I've written in the past. And I hope my future writings will affect many people.

I delve into the deepest and darkest areas of the human soul, where very few people deal with and many prefer to suppress.

My style is always to let out angst in a creative way.

I also write about love, joy, and inspiration and I'm looking at sharing them here.

clarita zarate | Jul 12th, 2005
I see that you pondered upon this subject. What you say rings true and is the biggest cause of war s in the world.

Esnaen M. Catong | Sep 20th, 2005
I agree that love is indeed one of the greatest words in this world... DOES LOVE CONQUER ALL?

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