Some people just won’t leave you alone with your BS. You open your mouth, say something controversial and now you have to back it up! Thembelihle is one such person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the warm beautiful, relentlessly truthful soul she is. She fixes heads and hearts too so all things being equal, I may just need her for either or both of those so I can’t be too blasé about anything she says or better still, demands.
Love is fascist, I say. She looks at me with a mixture of incredulity and disappointment. Without a word she says, “love’s not like that my friend” or something close to that. Resounding disapproval and a challenge to back up my BS. So, instead of being on my bike to nowhere, I’m here appeasing Thembi.
But seriously, love is fascist. It has these supposedly non-negotiable premises that you should just sign up to honour and obey, for better and worse. I am not talking about relationships, no, I am talking about the concept of love. Yep, that very thing that no two people can agree it is – yes that one. That thing that Isaac Hayes, Teddy Pendegras, Barry White all bellow silky sweet nothings about. Except that it is fascist, that part they leave to me. Love demands nothing less than total submission or else… It is not like one lover man or woman can decide on their own meaning and definition of love. There’s apparently a universal meaning and definition and we all should get with it – so to speak.
I’m not easily, readily taught but I’ve learned a few things along the way. I have learned that we are disappointed by our expectations and fooled by our beliefs – not people or events. What’s that got to do with love, you may ask. Probably nothing but there’s no context that can contest with love when it comes to being fooled and being disappointed or feeling that you are. It is the stuff loving is made of no wonder the biggest love songs are so sad. Some would even suggest that love is the way it is since the beginning of loving itself so we should all get over ourselves and get with it – in a manner of speaking.
You see, that’s the BS right there! For starters, when exactly was this beginning of loving? Was it before or after that period when women were clobbered over the head and dragged to a nearby cave? Before or after Christ? So much has been written on this love thing that one’s head spins at the mere thought of the stuff. The one thing sensible, in my view of course, is MaBaeps’ favourite Shakespeare’s sonnet: … for love is not love that alters when it alteration finds. Or something close to that.
Undoubtedly, feelings are real. Feeling love and in love is equally really or thereabouts. I’m tempted to ask “what is real” but neither you nor I would want to unzip those pair of pants, would we now. The thing is this, there is a collection of feelings that commonly numbs your mind and pulverises your being into thoughtless submission. It does so about people, events and all manner of things. Tom Robbins writes powerfully and more coherently about this state and I’m not worthy to even attempt paraphrasing. The book is called Still life with woodpecker. More about that book and Tom some other time. For now, love is fascist. No sooner than you are declared or you declare to love or to be in love, you are a goner. It’s tickets. It’s no longer about anything other than you are in love. Try contesting that – it’s dawn and firing squad for you.
“How can you say you love him/her when you…?” You love him/her so… Take your children, if you have any; it is incomprehensible to some that it is precisely when you dislike your children the most that you need to love them. It is the thing that chains you to the little shits even when they push you away and act like absolute tossers. It demands nothing less than total submission. Thought is pretty blunt an instrument when it comes to love and yes, it yields to no reason. It is reason in and by itself. It is the one thing that says “because I say so” and actually means it completely.
On what basis then do you or anyone else think that it is something to be tamed and domesticated? Circumscribed by rules and controlled? Enticed with little rewards threatened with punishment? Think of fascism. You step out of line, tries to reason or differ; you are summarily taken out at dawn, lined up and shot. Finish. You dance to the tune of the fascist - you are spared or even rewarded. Love doesn’t even give a toss that you are in love. It does what it will do regardless. No neat little lines of reason and rationale, no balance – hence “falling”. Head over heels at that – the worst kind of fall. The down a flight of stairs kind.
So what is to be done – except steering clear of the fascist that is love? Perhaps we could take a lesson from the wild. Okay, that is too risky. How about the nature reserves or game parks? Take the lions for an example. They get together in a pack probably feeling all manner of emotions for each other. They don’t make a big deal of it. They don’t get all oooh and aaah about nothing. They get together to hunt, to eat, to survive.
How about instead of signing up with the fascist, we just get together to hunt, eat, raise the offsprings and survive? Because humans are different, better even than animals. Looking at the world and what it has come to, I very much doubt that.
I have no doubt though that love is fascist. It simply won’t let you or anyone just be. It is the worst kind of fascist too. The kind that somehow gets you to accept it as the mere order of things and that somehow it is a good thing. The kind that claims to be patient, kind and all manner of things – except it won’t let you just be who you want to be; not when you have signed up with it.The heart, the symbol of love, the blood pump – just you cross love, blood will flow. Litres of the stuff have been spilled, in the name of love, the fascist.