In one episode of Seinfeld, Jerry tells Elaine that 95% of people are undatable. "So how are all these people getting together?" Elaine asked. "Alcohol," Jerry answered.
We would all agree that meeting people can be difficult, particularly in the matters of love. And we would all agree that finding the "one" is even more difficult. The latter is evidenced by the abundance of clubs, bars, lounges, in our society. Someone is definitely looking, or else these places wouldn't exist. Eventually, however, people do get together. In fact, most people find someone, get married. The question is, then, do they live happily ever after? Well, with divorce rates higher than ever before, not to mention countless people struggling through unhappy marriages, the answer is clearly "no".
It can be argued, that back when divorces were not common, for religious or legal reasons, people tended to stay in unhappy marriages. And even before that, the main focus of humans was to keep a tight community structure, or else fall to pieces and disappear in history. As apes, our minds and socially organizational habits kept us alive, in hostile times when our lives were threatened. But now, people are everywhere, and we have no natural enemies (except for one another). Particularly in this part of the world, we enjoy freedoms unprecedented in human history. Nowadays, we have the freedom to want. Not to need, but to want. As such, even our need for each other has been eliminated. Truly, can one be an island, as never before. Now, we can live an entire life of only wanting and satisfying our wants.
Marriage is the modern-day equivalent to what the apes had in their communities. Are marriages on the whole failing? In a time where spreading genes is no longer necessary, are marriages needed anymore?
Jerry Seinfeld hit a nerve with his joke. Since it's more or less the way we evolved until this point, the need for companionship and community is instilled within us, even though it is no longer "necessary" within life's framework. So what should we do? Do we resist our animal instincts, and carry on with "progress" within this new world? No, not necessarily. I have never been a fan of Ayn Rand's selfish lifestyle proposal (the Metrosexual). A selfish lifestyle suggests that others will eventually get hurt. And since we do interact with people (in most cases, I hope), then ultimately hurting others will result in hurting ourselves. People should, I believe, seek to fulfill their needs for companionship. Fulfilling our needs did get us this far in life. So the next question is how do we fulfill our needs for companionship? What is it that we seek in companionship?
Is love dying, or is it simply harder to find in our modern society? Or is love, as most people dream of it, some fantasy that has existed in people's minds, pervaded only in movies and books? Does the romantic love exist, or is it man-made?
To answer the above questions, I will use the help of every Existentialist's wet dream: Descartes, who said "Je pense, donc je suis." Simply put, your own feelings as an individual are enough justification for that romantic love to exist. If you can feel it, then it must be there. This feeling is vastly individual, but it's there in some form or another in all of us. My hypothesis, within modern society, is that people don't know what to do with that feeling. In the end, "95% of people are undatable" for each of us, in that finding someone to love is hard enough as it is, let alone all the other factors in life that would get in the way of such a love.
We as humans may have need for companionship, but we don't need "romantic" love. Until now, all we'd needed to do was pass on our genes and make sure our kids did the same when they grew older. Now that we have the egocentric freedom to want things, love becomes just another want, and people won't settle for anything less than perfect. The real love falls somewhere between "romantic" love and "needing" love. People often complain that the fires of passion with their mate eventually die off, and that's how they justify ending the relationship, no matter the attachments (children, ten years of marriage, a profound friendship). The latter is a very selfish way to view life. Consider that rather than the fire dying off, it simply transformed into another element: earth. Love transforms itself over the course of two people's being together. Often people perceive the transformation as the "dying" of love, wherein it is really a metamorphosis, a growth. If the fire is truly "dead", then my reasoning is that that particular case was a mistake from the beginning, whether the two people saw it or not (live and learn).
If love is what you want, look for it, fight for it, and stick with it even if things get a little inconvenient. Part of the excitement of life is that things aren't always easy. Maybe that's why often those people who have the least seem to get the most out of life. If all of this sounds too difficult and burdensome, then just go out and have fun, but don't pretend to be looking for "love".
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