Archive | June, 2012

How Deep Is Your Love? Plato’s perspective

29 Jun

To acknowledge an idea as “deep” is not necessarily to endorse it as true. It is to recognize that the idea operates at the foundation of our thinking and, by shaping our way of seeing, contributes to helping to construct our experience. Indeed, one of the tragedies of life is that so many deep ideas are not true. At any rate, I am claiming that two of Plato’s deep ideas about the nature of love are at work in our psychic depths and thus have a large and ongoing (if hidden) influence on our love lives. I am further claiming that one has a negative influence and the other a positive one.

So what are these deep Platonic ideas about the nature of love? Both are presented in the Symposium, Plato’s dialogue on love. Here, a group of aristocratic gentlemen, recovering from a previous night of heavy drinking, decide only to drink lightly on this night while taking turns giving speeches about love. The first idea comes from Aristophanes’ speech in which he presents a comic myth to explain what love is.

Aristophanes begins by saying that men and women are the separated halves of what was originally one whole being. This original being was round, had four arms, four legs, two faces, and two sets of sexual organs. It could generate great speed and power by coordinating its arms and legs to spin like a cartwheel at incredible speeds, almost like a human bowling ball. Although these beings were asexual and reproduced by casting their seed on the ground, they came in three forms—male, female, and mixed.

Aristophanes says these beings also had great ambition—so much so that they tried to ascend Mount Olympus to attack the gods. Although the gods were understandably outraged, they were perplexed about how to respond. They were inclined to destroy these beings with thunderbolts, as they had destroyed the Titans, but they did not want to lose the worship and sacrifices they provided. After a great effort of thinking, Zeus came up with a plan. He decided that rather than destroying them he would rip them in half, thereby depriving them of their strength and rolling power. In this way humans would lose their arrogance while at the same time doubling in number, thereby increasing the number of sacrifices offered to the gods.

The newly-cut-in-half beings suffered greatly, more so than Zeus had anticipated. They longed so achingly for their other half that they would throw their arms around each other, staying woven together all day in the hope that they would grow completely again. So great was their longing, that they began to die in each other’s arms. Seeing the great show of their sorrow, Zeus took pity on them and made a correction. He moved their genitals to the front, thereby creating sexual reproduction by means of the male penetrating the female.

Aristophanes then says this is how love was born into our being. Love being the force that leads us to try to heal the primal wound to our original nature through sexual union. We are seeking to find our “matching half” in order to become complete again.

Our primal wound also explains our sexual proclivities. Men and women who were split from a mixed being seek wholeness with the opposite sex and are often lecherous. However, women split from a female being seek wholeness with other women, and men split from a male being seek wholeness with other men. The men who seek wholeness with other men, Aristophanes says, are the only type who grow up to be political leaders and, when they are grown men, love only boys and marry only as required by local custom and to make children.

The key point in this comic myth is that it is not a desire for sex that brings us together but the desire to become whole. Sex is the vehicle, not the destination, and love is the fuel for the journey. In addition, it is because lovers find union with their beloved that they cannot bear to be apart.

For all of its outlandishness, this myth expresses the widespread notion that romantic love will end our agonizing loneliness if we can form not merely a stable relationship with another but a sort of metaphysical fusion with them. The idea is that when we are in love, we cease to exist as a separate individual and instead merge or fuse into a new whole being. When this does not happen, it is not love (Bardi, 3). 

Now before you dismiss this idea as nonsense, consider how deeply we are influenced by it. How often do we hear someone say they feel “lost” and “incomplete” without their romantic partner? Indeed, we think it is the very heart of romance to feel we need our true love in order to be complete. “I can’t live without you,” “You make me whole again,” “I need you”—all of these romantic sentiments express Aristophanes’ idea.

It is on this basis that Freud associated romantic love with the death instinct. That is, through love (understood as a sort of metaphysical merging) we seek the “death” of our previous, separate existence. This culturally validated idea that true love involves such a merging of identities is a source of great suffering. It is the classic double bind. As autonomous psychic entities, we resist losing our identities. At the same time, as culturally created romantic partners, we not only seek to abandon our separate existence in a romantic fusion, but we use the extent of our success in “becoming one” as a standard to measure the quality of our relationship and marriage. As a tragic consequence, many a healthy, autonomous couple has split apart because one or the other of them felt that their failure to achieve metaphysical “oneness” was a sign that love had died (Bardi, 3). 

Unfortunately, there is an even darker element to this. Freud’s association of romantic love with the death instinct opens the door to a number of other strange but revealing connections in our depths. For example, just as the romantic urge can become a dysfunction when it aligns with the death instinct and seeks not just a committed relationship with another but a complete fusion with them, so too can lusting after great wealth. It happens when we want lots of money in order to move out of our neighborhood, get all new clothes, quit our job, and get new friends. In other words, possessing great wealth will enable us to “die” to our old life.

As grim as these dysfunctions are, it may be that the deep inner emptiness that leads to them is not an inherent quality of the human condition, as Freud thought, but simply a natural spiritual response to the denigration of self-worth. These dysfunctions occur when it is a sense of lack that is driving us and not a compassionate and loving urge to give and to serve. Once the feeling of inadequacy and metaphysical lack is established in the psyche—the very feeling Aristophanes based his comic myth upon—then products we don’t need can be sold to us on the basis of the implication that the reason we feel empty and unfulfilled is because we don’t yet have them.

As far as romance is concerned, the idea and feeling that each of us needs something “other” in order to complete ourselves represents a failure to accept our intimate selves.

Work cited

Bardi, John.  Plato, Romance, and self-inquiry. Humanist, February 2011

Plato, Plato: The Collected Dialogues of Plato, translated by Gebundene Ausgabe, New Jersey: Princeton university press, 1871. ISBN: 9780691097183.   

 

 

Courtship Vs Dating

21 Jun

Courtship can be a wonderful season in the developing romantic relationship of any couple. Courtship is also an important period. It is worthy of a couple’s utmost consideration. A bad date can be quickly forgotten. It may cost you a little time, a little money, and perhaps a little annoyance. A bad courtship, however, will cost you a piece of your soul—your emotional and mental substance. Dating is observation. Courtship is involvement. Dating is time allotment; it is an end in itself. Courtship is directional; it is moving towards something. Dating has no strings attached. Courtship involves some mutual responsibility, more vulnerability, and a greater need for trust. Dating is marketing. Courtship is negotiating a potential sale to its close. A person once said to me, “What you are saying is that dating is casual and courtship is serious. I hadn’t thought of it in precisely those terms, but she was right. Unfortunately, in our society most people take dating seriously, and then they continue to date without really taking the idea of courtship seriously. Few people truly have a clear understanding about when they move from dating to courtship. Essentially for Yvethe and I, we went from being friends to courting, bypassing a lot of the negatives and got all the positives of dating. We are recommending the principles of what we did to everyone, even though the way you meet and what God may direct you to do may be quite different.

Courtship is the time when you begin to date one person exclusively, frequently, and with the purpose of determining if this is the person with whom you truly want to spend the rest of your life. Courtship begins with a decision to date only one person and ends in a formal engagement or a definitive dissolution of the relationship. In other words, the end of courtship is either an engagement or a breakup. A good courtship can be exhilarating and joyful. A courtship that is conducted poorly or ends badly can leave a person feeling bitter, angry, frustrated, disappointed, discouraged, and even depressed. Therefore let’s do courtship right!

Perhaps the appropriate word to describe a good courtship is growth. A couple should experience a growing together in closeness, a growing passion, and a growing identity of “us.” Courtship is not only allowing, but also cultivating the growth of a relationship. The word courtship comes from an Elizabethan era in which the ladies of the court were wooed and won by knights and lords of the court through the process of frequent visitation, attention, gifts and compliments. A man generally asked a woman’s father for permission to court his daughter, which implied that the man seriously and openly desired to pursue the possibility of marriage. In saying “yes” to a courtship proposal, the father was granting the man permission to visit his daughter, give her gifts, accompany her to formally to social events, etc. The two young people were rarely left alone, but perhaps were allowed to sit on the porch swing and talk, take walks together in the neighborhood, and perhaps even go on chaperoned buggy rides. In our world today, courtship is likely to be thought of as “going steady.” Even though the social norms have changed, a good courtship still should be couched in extreme courtesy and respect. It should be marked by sexual purity. Before you begin to date a person, you should have carefully evaluated that person’s character. Dating gives you further opportunity to get to know the person from the inside out. Courtship is the time for evaluating consistency and for deepening communication.

We’ve all known couples who were on again, off again in their relationship. If such a couple ends up at a marriage ceremony, those who witness the event and have known the couple for a period of time are likely to think, “This is an upswing. A downswing is sure to follow.” They may even be taking bets with their other friends about how long the honeymoon bliss will last. I have met and counseled couples who are worn out from their dating highs and lows, and then they have erroneously concluded, “We don’t seem to be doing very well in dating. Let’s get married.” That’s like saying, “I can’t bench-press seventy pounds, so let’s stack three hundred pounds on the bar.” Trust me—if you can’t get along with a person for a few hours a day, four or five times a week, you surely aren’t going to be able to get along with that person seven days a week for the next fifty years! There should be an easiness of compatibility in your dating relationship as you move into courtship. There should be a growing easiness in your relationship the longer you court. Don’t continue to add layer upon layer of time and commitment to something that does not have a solid foundation. Always provide a second chance but if there isn’t any change and you have been clear, it may be time to move on.

20 tips for women about courtship

21 Jun

20 tips for women about courtship:

  1. Only consider courtship at a time in your life when you are ready to consider marriage. Until that time–foster the virtue of friendship and hold off the romance until you are really ready for it.

  2. Only enter into a courtship with a man whom you would consider marrying. A woman might consider “just” dating any guy that she’s attracted to as long as she has no sense of long-term commitment. The problem arises when she’s grown attached to him after a period of time and can’t bring herself to breaking off the relationship, even when it’s not good. She may end up marrying a man that she otherwise would not have. Set the stakes higher–only court with a man you’d consider marrying.

  3. Enter a courtship to discern whether or not you are called to marriage with a certain man. Courtship is dating with a purpose. If you know that you would not consider marriage with this man, or you are not ready to consider marriage yet, then don’t enter into a courtship. Stay friends or acquaintances for the time being. Courtship is about prayerful discernment, which means you will decide either that God is not calling you to marriage with this man or that He is not. Both outcomes are valid in a courtship!

  4. Take time through prayer to discern God’s will. You need to foster prayer in your lives individually and as a couple. You can not know God’s will without prayer.

  5. Base your courtship in the family: As much as possible, spend time with each other’s families. This is so important–for if you do end up married, you’ll want to get along. Family is an invaluable resource and such an integral part of who we are. You will learn much about each other by seeing how each other relates to family members. And your family, in turn, can give you much insight about the man with whom you are courting (and his family, about you!) Family sees things we don’t always see. Love can be blind at times–family (and friends) can really help to correct our vision. If you are far from family, make every effort to get home and spend time with them. And in the meantime, adopt a family (friends from Church, for example) to provide for you all the benefits of a family-based courtship.

    Items 6 – 15 deal with setting guidelines for yourselves from the very beginning of your courtship. (If you’re starting over–changing from a dating relationship to a courtship model–then begin now with guidelines.) The following points will cover areas you should consider in those guidelines.

  6. Emotional Intimacy: Guard your hearts and do not dive emotionally into a courtship relationship head first. Give yourselves time to learn about each other. Do not open up all your intimate secrets, desires and longings to each other immediately–just because you are courting. Allow your relationship to grow naturally. Keep the mystery alive by not revealing everything all at once. The problem with “dumping” on each other emotionally early on in a relationship is that if you later discern that you are not called to marriage you could have many regrets over having shared those intimate thoughts and secrets with someone who will not be your husband. You need to be honest with each other, but that does not mean you have to reveal everything right away. As the relationship grows, you will discover a natural pace for sharing those emotional intimacies.

  7. Physical Intimacy: Decide what your limits will be and write them down. Remember that as you store up your treasures of physical intimacy before marriage–every sacrifice that you make to stay pure becomes a jewel for you to share with each other in marriage. At that time–you will be able to delight in the beauty of giving yourselves to each other completely and totally. And your pleasure in marriage will be magnified by your time of waiting.

  8. To kiss or not to kiss: Are you going to allow for kissing or not? Kissing is NOT a sin. It is not bad. It does not mean that a couple is less virtuous in courting if they allow for kissing. It is a decision you make as you set your guidelines. So think through the reasons why you would choose to allow for it or not!

  9. Saving that first kiss: Many couples decide to leave kissing out of their relationship–as kissing has the power to ignite their passions. They choose to wait until the altar for their first kiss. They also might be coming out of past relationships–where they are struggling to keep control over their passions. They might be coming from a position of never having been kissed before, and now that they’ve waited this long–they want to go all the way with it! There are a variety of reasons why some couples choose this path.

  10. Saving that “next” kiss: Other couples, who have allowed for kissing in their relationship, sometimes decide to cut it out and wait to have their “next” kiss at the altar–which could be quite a wait! But they’ve seen how kissing is stirring passions that are making it harder for them to stick to their goal of staying pure in their relationship.

  11. Kissing with limitations: Some couples allow for kissing–but they limit how and when and where–which is wise if they want to keep it from stirring those passions that can be so easily ignited.

  12. Hugging: Are you allowing for hugging–and in what context? Hugging is a completely acceptable and beautiful expression of affection, support and love. However, prolonged hugging—while all alone and at times when you might be feeling weak (like late at night)—can stir passions. Just be careful that you are guarding the context well so that it doesn’t begin to undermine your good intentions.

  13. How, where and when you spend time alone: During courtship you obviously will want and need to spend time alone together. But how and where are important questions. If you are spending time alone late at night or in complete isolation, you may just find that your resistance to temptation is weakened. It’s best to find time alone together while doing something–going for a walk, cycling, canoeing, playing sports, taking in a show or going out to a restaurant, etc.

  14. Avoid the near occasion of sin. This is not to say that a couple who is courting will only stick to their goal of purity if they are NEVER alone together . . . as if to say the only reason they resisted temptation is because they never went near temptation. But there is a teaching that exhorts us to “avoid the near occasion of sin”. We should not deliberately put ourselves in temptation’s way. Hopefully, any couple who makes these resolutions–even if they were given the opportunity to break them–wouldn’t break them, because they are persons of integrity! But we are all weak at times. All it takes is one moment of weakness (and be sure Satan will be watching for it) for you to make a mistake that you could regret for a lifetime.

  15. Don’t give rise to scandal. But what if we’re not being tempted? Why wouldn’t it be alright to be off, alone, in isolation together–for example staying late over at one or the other’s apartment alone? This is where we get into the whole issue of giving rise to scandal. The problem a couple faces here–even if they are strong enough to resist all temptation–is the impression they are giving to others. “So what?” You may ask. “Let them gossip–what do we care? We know we’re not doing anything wrong!” When others perceive you to be leading an impure life, it gives others a sense of it being okay to not embrace purity in their own relationships. They’ll be thinking, “After all, they’re doing it and they’re a nice Christian couple. Obviously it doesn’t make any difference if we do or don’t.” Even though you had been embracing purity, you still misled others to believe you weren’t. In this way you would not be helping to build the body of Christ by your good example. Rather, through the scandal you would have given rise to, you would have inadvertently led others to sin. It is our sense of responsibility in the body of Christ that leads us to make the necessary sacrifices for the sake of others when we decide not to give rise to scandal.

    Accountability: We all are more responsible when we are held accountable for our actions. Make a list together of your resolutions and guidelines for your courtship and give that list to some mentoring couples and accountability partners. These could be your parents, other married couples from Church, friends, roommates, family members. Basically you are looking for people you trust and respect to be able to talk with openly about your relationship. They should be able to ask you at any time how your are doing–if you are keeping your resolutions–and you need to be able to answer them honestly.

  16. Mentoring: Along with this idea is the need for mentoring couples–ideally that would be your parents, but it is not limited to parents. These couples should be well-versed in the Church’s teachings on marriage and the sacraments. They should be couples who can advise you on all kinds of issues related to marriage: finances (especially tithing), family networking, Natural Family Planning and the gift of human sexuality, balancing work and family life and so on.

  17. Time to pray and time to play: Obviously prayer time is important for a couple who is courting–as they are trying to discern God’s will for their relationship. But a couple should never neglect to be sure to allow for play time! Have fun. This season of life should be fun and filled with excitement and adventure. Don’t forget to make time to play.

  18. Keep the romance alive: Remember that courtship is a time of romance. Don’t cheat yourselves out of that. Enjoy dynamic, exciting, God-glorifying romance by seeking ways to give of yourselves to each other, to serve each other and to show your love for each other in simple ways. Romance–true romance–is about blessing the other by giving of self . . . and that’s what true love is about, too. So you see, the two go hand in hand. Couples who engage in an intensely physical relationship often lose out on this very point–because physical pleasure has become the focus of their relationship. By converse, couples who do not distract themselves with physical intimacy have more time on their hands to spend creatively doing romantic things for each other and together–blessing each other with their loving deeds and gestures as often as they can.

  19. Be active in your faith community: Courtship is a great time to grow in faith together–and to spend time together in your faith community. In this way your relationship is supported by like-minded people who will become for you that community that celebrates with you in times of joy, consoles you in times of grieving, and that lifts you up you in times of hardship. We cannot live in isolation–we need that community to be there for us, which means, we need to be there for them as well. Be involved, have fun taking in events and activities together, volunteer service time together, and join in prayer groups and Bible studies together. These opportunities to spend time together, in a larger group setting, help you to learn much about each other by seeing how each other deals with a variety of situations and other persons . . . and are great opportunities to dedicate your time and talents to the Lord.

  20. There is a great deal that can be said about courtship. And each family will establish their own model–sometimes a different model for the varying circumstances of each child. What is import is that you discuss these things in the family and when the time comes in your life for courtship you will be prepared with an excellent game plan!

Love is….

11 Jun

Love is ………..    

Love is caring

Love is sweet

Love is truthful 

Love is virtuous   

Love is giving  

Love is daring  

Love is risky  

Love is persistent

Love is kind 

Love is surpasses or imaginations and thinking. Love sustains. Love is makes lives easier.

For more about love click the link below

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Link

click the link below

11 Jun

<a href=" ” title=”click the link below “>click the link below

Love attitude

9 Jun

By Samuel Mwangi    

There is no emotional force as powerful as the emotion of love. Its potentiality has a huge effect on human beings. It can develop a destiny and it can destroy destiny. There has been unending discussion on what is love and the discourse on love is far from conclusion. Many people view the subject of love with ambivalence, mainly due to their inability to understand what they define as love. Today they have a deep attraction towards someone and they can do anything within their means to win the attention and acceptance of that person. However, within a short period, the feeling is gone and one cannot even understand what made them be attracted to the other person. In another instance, one is driven by altruism and goes out to help that other person even without receiving anything in return.

Love is an attitude. It is an attitude and a desire to be of help to another person. It is giving yourself to the edification of another person. When viewed from this perspective love seems harder and complicated than what one can wish. Yet this is the attitude that makes it possible to love. When one is aware of what it means to love another, the word love stops from being a casual word to describe feelings of attraction to a member of opposite sex. When driven by the definition of love as an attitude to help and to dedicate yourself to another, it becomes easy to identify whether you are in love or not. Desire to use and to satisfy ones sexuality cannot be termed as love maybe romance.

Other than being an attitude, love is commitment. Commitment is the willingness to work hard, give your time and energy to someone. Love is commitment. Commitment is taking responsibility. So, love is taking responsibility over someone. It expending energy, time, and resources to the well being of someone. That is why love is costly. When understood in this manner one must take precaution before using the cliché “I love you”. It is fatal to use the word love if not backed by the attitude and willingness to take responsibility over the one you say you love. Consequences of misunderstanding what is love have far greater implications than what we can imagine.

My intention is not to scare anyone against loving, or expressing one feelings, it is to make you aware of the potentiality of those words. Ensure that when you say “I love you” it is backed with the right attitude of self sacrifice and commitment. Remember these wise words ” It takes three seconds to say I love you, three minutes to explain, three hours to demonstrate, three hours to demonstrate, three days to appreciate it, but a life time to prove it”. Anonymous  

You can read more about love on the link recommended below.

 

Samuel Mwangi is the author of So You Want to Get into Courtship, a book that addresses issues of love and relationships among students. The book offers details of how to make most of your singleness, how to become the person your partner is looking for and ten pillars of long lasting relationships.

You can make a free online trial order of the book at courtshipbooks.kbo.co.ke