Landscape photo of Julia Epiphany at a seaside town.

Amorous Celebration

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Last month I wrote about how pornography and nanotech are indirectly like the descendants of erotica and science, and now this month I get to write about how we celebrate the mystery of love on Valentine’s Day..!

From a historical perspective, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding Saint Valentine, and what truly we are celebrating on the Fourteenth of February each year. As usual there are a lot of politics and religion involved, and more recently all the related marketing and commerce, all of which combine to affect our views of how and when we celebrate our love for one another.

As ancient Greek philosophers might ponder: is something erotic because of some quality that thing has, or is it because we all collectively say that thing is erotic? Are a pair of three-inch black stiletto heels sexy because they make actual intercourse better in some way? Fetish, passion, lust, and longing are all factors that contribute to the magical mosaic.

Part of the magic of love is that it’s a mystery nobody really wants to solve. Biochemically we can synthesize the molecules produced by the brain that makes us feel euphoria, but those chemicals alone do not amount to love. Phrased another way, if a pencil were placed between someone’s fingers and their hand were physically moved by someone else in such a way that words appear on a paper, who authored the writing?

Love is like a fluffy cloud that slowly changes shape in the sky. We frequently associate love with euphoria, but love goes beyond pleasure in the corporal sense. Love can be described as a form of honesty or vulnerability, and so sharing our love with others would also be trusting them with our innermost delicate thoughts and feelings.

I once watched an interview on television where the interviewee remarked in French that “…sexy is not what you show, but rather what you hide.” A person could be stark naked wearing only a smile and still be shy about their inner passions. Similarly, someone could be fully clothed yet still be totally transparent about whom they adore and why.

Which brings us to the tapestry of relationships and the ways people cherish one another. We all know love isn’t measured by kilogram, inch or electron, but instead the “how” we express our passion for others could indeed be the reflection of that sentiment. How, not what.

Immortalising our love for one another is a freedom we can’t ever be tricked into waiving. No commerce or group should endeavour to dictate how sincere love could or should be expressed, any more than they should attempt to control our understanding of the laws of physics. It would risk setting the heinous precedent that draconian rule is a reasonable path toward progress. Even posing the question reveals the asker doubts whether people can in tandem to being able to acquire wisdom to make informed decisions, are also able to do so while respecting the world around them.

By “sincere love” I mean love that is truthful and honest, caring, positive and/or inspirational. Sure we can declare that we can have a “platonic” love for one another, or inanimate objects or ideas, but let’s not split hairs. Loving someone with your heart, your very soul is a genuine sort of love that transcends time and space. There is no substitute for peaceful, romantic love.

That’s what I believe, as an optimist or realist, regarding love and the love for oneself and for others, and I hope at least a few of you agree with me. There are lots of other ways to describe love of course, and each culture throughout the world and across time will have their own ways to share love, in their respective societies and/or languages.

We can only hope that our future counterparts will understand what we mean by “love” today, that we honoured those feelings of love, and that future historians can see for themselves whether our contemporary concepts of love are compatible with how we’ve understood love in the past, era after era.

In the Western world, for the most part we’re free to express love and sex together but obviously those two things are not the same. Too much of one abandons the other to the cold, so we should take great care to ensure they are always in some sort of balance. Not in a zero-sum sort of way, because love and sex are not measurable in that sense, but instead to understand them both together, like how porn and tech coexist.

So we’ve come full-circle back to Valentine’s Day and what that means. Often we associate Valentine’s Day and snuggling with our lover(s) in the middle of a cold winter, as being the very picture of romance. But in the Southern Hemisphere, Valentine’s Day is well into the summer and some of the hottest days of the year are in February, no pun intended.

Maybe what we needed subconsciously was to have at least one day every three hundred and sixty five days to dedicate to whatever it is we call love. Almost like the sentiment we call love has a life of its own that demands to be recognised, shining its beacon like a lighthouse through the haze of our busy lives to remind us of our own humanity.

I wonder, would it be possible to find a way to celebrate together for an entire week..? Wishful thinking, perhaps, but it can come true if the desire is there.

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