How to die before your love does

“I grew up breathing the love of my mom, a love so tacit and sobering that to me, it was almost completely transparent. She never ran after and begged me not to touch the knife like others; she let me play with it, let me cut myself, and let the penetrating pain attest to her earnest warning. She never immediately responded to my shouting her name when I was lost in the mall; she let the rising fear (that quickly overflowed the eyes) teach me that I should have stayed beside her like she said. My mom – she let things happen.

Thus every time I felt like being on the childish verge of rushing to her arms, the ground would crack open a valley of doubt between us.  Only later could I decipher the muffled and bewildered voice gripping my heart back then – “Why, mom? Why?” – so I screamed, voicelessly, as if all the sound would fall right through the separating chasm.”

Now I know why – or so the rest of this essay used to go. This whole thing was meant to be an application essay, to be the freak show in which you distort your feelings, put a clown mask on your experiences, and pull out of the magic hat a self you don’t even know. All for the sake of being liked. My role in the freak show this time is that of a son, who, after all the years, realizes that the tough love is to allow him the freedom to make mistakes, that it prepares him for the unloving world, that he loves his mom so much – and a bunch of other bland, half-assed, popular philosophy of life.

No, I did not need to realize anything to always love my mom (and always not do so adequately.) Love that needs reason is a love conditional, hence a love that is destined to perish under certain circumstances. From the grossly, bluntly material reasons (like my parents are rich or my girlfriend pretty), to the more subtly spiritual ones (he understands me, she makes me smile), they are reasons after all, those that tempt you to abandon your current eternal love for someone else that either give you more cash or light up more smiles. I, honestly, cannot see the difference.

I can almost see your eyebrows frown and hear your voice protest: “No – what a gross comparison – a person that gives me money and one that makes me happy? The latter so much rarer, so much more precious – how dare you?” Yes, yes, the latter is so much rarer; yet that only guards you against the probability, not the possibility, of finding a love truer than your true love. (Your stomach should squash now.)

Some told me that is okay for them. That they can be happy with someone for the present all the while acknowledging that he or she may be gone any instant. Go grab a friend, then, people – why bother talking about love.

Because the love that cannot die is the love that does not need a reason to live. The love that cannot be overturned is a love built on uniqueness and exclusivity – for you can always be richer, prettier, more understanding, more tactful, more sophisticated, more of anything – but how can anything be more unique and exclusive? Just as I love my mom for she is my mom, and not because she has taught me more or less than other parents to their child. Those calculated feelings are strictly for essays.


This entry was conceived when I realized that this blog has never been too personal – most of it would fall more comfortably under the social critic category, unlike my former blog, as my longtime readers would notice.  In fact, “realize” is a wrong word,  for I have been staying detached with full awareness and absolute deliberation.

The reason why this blog does not get personal, you ask? – Well, it’s too personal to disclose.

  1. ldao90 said:

    Have you ever read Frankfurt’s Reason of love? Your argument is just like his. ^^ We do not love our beloved because they are X, Y, and Z. But we love them that’s why we think they are X, Y and Z. Those “reasons” become actually a consequence, not the conditions.
    He also argues that if we need a reason at all to love someone, when that someone doesn’t possess those “reasons” anymore, we’ll stop loving them.
    That is not the case for parental love. A father might acknowledge that his child is much uglier, not as smart, and meaner than other children, but that never makes him love other children more than his own child.
    Similarly, in your example, one can say “I love her because she makes me smile”, that can simultaneously mean “I love her that’s the reason why she makes me smile”. The outrightly material reason, of course, does not count here.
    Also, love is blind most of the time, so you actually get those “reasons” a lot. ^^

    • anhqle said:

      Oh joy, I was actually lent Frankfurt’s Reason of Love by a friend, but never quite finished it (Dear the friend, I know you are gonna read this, so apology in advance 😦 I was gonna blame it on a lack of time, but that’s the lamest excuse ever, so…yeah…I still know exactly where I keep it though. And I did finish On bullshit! If that helps….)

      Anyhow, back to Frankfurt: did he really say so? 😀 Every thinker, his genius aside, owes a lot of his distress, hence motivation, to his historical time: Hobbes has European civil wars, Kant the rise of science, and Marx the looming of capitalism. My point: love, unlike those above, is such a timeless, ageless puzzle, a puzzle that you trouble with, I mull over, and everybody think about. So it is the one issue at which I feel like being on equal footing with any thinker that ever lives 😀 Indeed, everyone is on equal footing when love is involved, for that matter 😀

  2. ldao90 said:

    Not quite. I’ve learned this course called “Love- the concept practice” at Brown (it sucks hardcore btw) and we learned like FIVE different theories love, all of which contrast one another tremendously.
    Kierkegaard and Simone Weil, for example, both think that love is the matter of religious belief. Love is exclusive to God. Plato argues against any Love that is not “pure”, even if it’s parental love.

    Anyhow, Frankfurt is one of the few philosophers and among the majority “normal people” that think of love as above 🙂

    • anhqle said:

      By “equal footing”, I actually mean exactly what you said: equally, everyone has the right to love, to think about love, to be justifiably entitled to his own philosophy of love. As in a quote that I have read somewhere (or perhaps one that I hazily came up with myself, for I have spent the last 15 minutes googling for it only in vain lolz):

      Cứ mỗi khi có hai cuộc tình giống nhau, là thế giới bớt đi một tâm hồn.

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