Love Matters

November 28, 2012

(The subject of this post has two meanings, one coming from “matters” operating as a name (a noun), and the other coming from understanding “matters” as a verb.)

This week in Avanzado 2 we’ve had the first session on the topic “Love.” I wondered why the Love & Revenge stories were all by women — I mean, it was women taking revenge on men they’d been in love with — considering revenge has always been a Big Issue in men’s lives. Wording aloud this question made me realize: revenge by men has traditionally involved beating up women, mutilating them, burying them alive (so to speak but also literally), terrorizing them publicly, raping and murdering them, and then also killing men — but honorably, for honor, like the use of violence, is a Man’s Business in patriarchal societies — in those honor rituals of death they set up. So picking those stories wouldn’t be fun. (I can’t understand why gender issues seem to be so invisible to the world, especially when the world we’re enjoying today in some parts of the world and only some of the people is so NEW in social terms, really, when we have so much to learn from their analysis if we really want to improve things including our human mind. I should note here that in Spain there are about 100 women murdered a year by men who were supposed to love them and thousands abused in their homes — the safest place for women some say. That’s real. On the other hand, I should note that we’ve managed to make society aware of this gender fact, this gender violence (the name is a scientific term based on the analysis of the patriarchal system whereby just for reasons of sex, men have enjoyed the right to “educate” and “punish” or “take revenge on” “their” women), to the point we now have a Law against Gender Violence — which we desperately needed to make society aware of this great invisible issue, as desperately as we needed the laws to protect children from violence, or immigrants running away from poverty and war from racism! Strangely enough for any rational human mind, feminists in our society are ignored or despised — always thought to be “excessive, bitter, man-hatters, intimidating, undeserving our trust, incapable of being fair and doing analyses”! And that’s why as a teacher I’m committed to offering information and insight from this social movement.) The lesson was fun and interesting and students shared interesting insight on the three stories: one was an Art Project by over 100 women based on a break-up fax one of them had received, another’s revenge was pretending to be a stunning-looking woman interested in dating the lover who had dumped her, and the third was about destroying the man’s most cherished belongings. There were some interesting comments, too, on the Top 10 Lines to Break Up! We had a laugh. 😀

I here I go!!! 😀 I do have some crystal clear advice for people in connection to love. In my half a century on this planet, I’ve come to realize that love, understood as a monogamous relationship involving living together all the time, should not go first in our list of things to “get” or experience or enjoy. It should come once we’ve learned/learnt to live and are able to stand on our own feet. My advice is people should experience the joys and miseries of human relationships with friends and lovers (they seem to get more respect from us than a partner or a family member). They should also learn from becoming independent (in the UK or the USA people leave their parents’ house when they’re 18, but in Spain this is not very usual: people tend to leave their parents’ house when they’ve bought their own house) all the important things we need to learn in life, basically, to stand on our own feet. Need and dependance (emotional, material) are not the only paths for loving people. I think it’s good to learn to be resourceful and independent. Because if you don’t do this, I believe your ability to appreciate what matters most in life is kind of crippled. Of course, I could be wrong. Anyway, love — in my view — is about love. And we don’t get many images of that in our very visual societies. Love is not about manipulation, abuse, neglect, revenge and the like! TV is nauseating on this topic. In the same way that passion is not about all that. We learn the wrong kind of passion in our societies. Passion is not about desperate need and total annihilation either. But there’s TV to refute all this I’m saying! Fortunately, then there’s always people. And we are learning faster since the 20th century. And whether people acknowledge it or not, socially and individually, feminism (and its sister, the GLBTI movement) has brought about a much better world for us all, where love and passion have greater chances of developing nicely! 😀

I was surprised to find a writer who had this idea I learned from living of We need to learn to love, so we shouldn’t start with the hardest kind of love! (My theory is different, but they share the approach, I suppose.) Here is the short story: A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud. (I mispronounce “Cullers”, it’s the /a/ in “some”, not a /u/, and I read trying to mark the pronunciation of the -ed ending so students practice this!) It’s written by Carson McCullers, a very special writer in my view (reading her novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter I felt like submerged in the world of the two deaf men and the independent girl. I can’t remember the story but I still remember that feeling!). She was actually born in the same year as Jane Bowles and Leonora Carrington, two of the other writers I have loved to read! What was it about 1917? 😀

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