GUC: Nature of love requires honest discourse with self
Opinions Column: Macro to Micro
Everything I love seems to perish. This may come off as a rather morbid statement but upon closer inspection, there may lie some glimmers of truth. Over winter break, the preoccupations that seem to fill up my usual schedule on a consistent basis were mostly put on hold. I had, for better or worse, time to ruminate upon a few matters. And due to such, indeed, I found that all I feel love for comes to an end. When I say, “love,” however, I do not mean only in the romantic sense but simply all that my heart forms an attachment to. For example, roses that my eyes find pleasing and my nose delights at eventually wilt and become dust upon touch. The flavors of food that my taste buds rejoice at last a few seconds only to become a faint memory or at most, are attempted to be captured in a hasty photograph. Individuals that my heart grows fond of might reciprocate or more likely frustrate but will nevertheless leave or die. To me, through my human observations, it seems that all I love, all that I would like for to last eternally in perfect fashion cannot help but succumb to their transient nature. Nothing seems permanent.
My poor heart, it appears, can never find the satisfaction it so yearns for. Yet, upon such a distressing conclusion, I found myself faced with another conundrum. If this is true, then why do I desire what can never be obtained in this finite world? Why am I given a heart that was made to love eternally when all that can be loved disappears, dies and disappoints? Is grievance to be the only result? The French philosopher Albert Camus argued that though the human being seeks meaning in life, it does not exist. Thus, this life is absurd because it inherently contradicts and falls short of the very needs of a person. Hence, if Camus were to try to resolve my inquiry, he might say that the desire for fulfillment in an unfulfilling life, the desire for eternity in non-eternal beings and objects is simply reflective of the absurd nature of existence. Yet, for Camus, despite knowing that such needs will never be met and that all attempts at attaining satisfaction are futile, one must still embrace the situation and struggle on regardless.
It is a grim realization and answer but, I would contend, an honest one at that. As Camus, through his own investigations, came to such a conclusion, I also need to go through a process of reflection, and find what resonates within me. My beliefs must be founded upon the investigative essence of my being. Anything less, like the imitation of another’s conclusion or belief, is an insult to the intellectual capacity that humans are given to wield. If I am honest with myself, I find within a quiet corner of my thoughts a longing for a source that is eternal — one that will not perish, that will not disappoint, that will not wear away into nothingness. All keys are made to fit their respective locks. All tools are made to serve a designated role. Is the wish to attain unyielding love within me to exist without purpose? These may or may not be found as suitable analogies but my intent is not to offer any answers. Rather, I would only like to share the questions that swirl around in my mind for endless weeks.
Each person must arrive at their own honest conclusion. It may seem that such a topic for a column is irrelevant when so much is going on politically, academically and so forth. But I do not waver in the belief that such "personal” issues need to be at the forefront of our agendas. If I do not take the time to wonder about such questions, am I doing my human condition any justice? I may graduate in a year or two, perhaps start a career, possibly travel, build a family and on and on — but after all of it (or sooner), I too will die. And so it seems imperative that I question my existence, the condition of which it is given and regardless of whatever answer or lack of I might reach, I can die knowing I was sincere and diligent in my efforts to resolve my existential state. That, to me, is worth more and closer to home than any degree, societal progress, or life milestone. With the start of this new semester, I along with countless others will be, again, placed into a dizzying schedule brimmed with classes, clubs and responsibilities. They will come and go. The nature of one's love, however, continues to exist. And with it, the ardent hope within every human to transform the ephemeral into the eternal.
Aysenur Guc is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in philosophy. Her column, "Macro to Micro," runs on alternate Wednesdays.
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