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Prose Probings - Collected Essays of Alan Harris - Love Book

Prose Probings - Collected Essays of Alan Harris

     We are forever looking for love in our lives. We look for a sweetheart who will turn into a loving spouse. We look for love from our parents and respect from our children. We look for love from our government, hoping our leaders will be compassionate with us and our countrymen. But strangely, we often get into our worst messes when all we are doing is looking for love. A marriage may split up due to one of the partners looking elsewhere for love. A teenager may wreck his car and his body by driving too fast in a quest for a certain kind of love from his peers. Desperate for love, people ruin their minds with drugs which give them a temporary surge of a counterfeit feeling similar to love.
     Does anyone ever find love? If so, where is it? Observation suggests that love, real as it is, cannot be found and isn't anywhere. When you go looking for it, you are going to find something else. What you find may keep you occupied for awhile, even addicted, but it's not love. Love is the most priceless treasure that life affords us. Religions enshrine it, billboards exploit it, professors categorize it, and newspapers report on its perversions. But it is nowhere to be found.
     Love is a song that threads its way through our lives from beginning to end, but did you ever try to find a song? You just know when you're hearing a song, and you just know when you're experiencing deep love, but you can't find either one. The song is a process. It weaves its way through the vocal cords and through the air molecules, but neither the vibrations, nor the ears that hear them, nor the voice that produces them, is the song. You can write notes on paper to suggest a song, but the notes are not the song. A song is a process that cannot be the same twice. Even if you hear a recorded song twice in succession, there are two different songs because you yourself have changed slightly between hearings. A song is a participatory, unrepeatable process. And so is love.
     The nature of the forces which motivate a person to take his or her own life usually remain hidden from those who are left behind, for if the suicide has been completed, no further psychological inquiries can be made, and if incomplete, only tentative hypotheses are possible due to the fact that there really was not a suicide. However, there does seem to be a common mental condition which underlies not only suicide (whether completed, abandoned, or thwarted), but also the loneliness and depression which often lead up to this act. Such a mental condition goes by many names, but I will call it "separateness," or more accurately, a separative consciousness.

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