Archive for June, 2012
In my current series of blog posts on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, I left off last time talking about the rational aspect of true love.
Now, of course very few men and women would be satisfied with their partner loving them for purely rational reasons. Let us suppose that for some reason Ferdinand has to choose between his marriage with Miranda and his rich kingship of Naples. He chooses Miranda and poverty, and quite literally has to be a “patient log-man” for the rest of his life. As the initial amour wanes, he also finds his patience waning, and regret over the fulfilling life he has given up comes knocking at his mental door.
Say this feeling of regret grows increasingly stronger, and his feeling of love diminishes into nothingness. He still carries those logs for Miranda and their mutual children. Steered by Reason, he still does his best to serve and help them. But all his service his tainted by regret. If such a state lasts for years, and his negative feelings are consistently much stronger than any feelings of love, he probably should have a talk with Miranda whether there might not be other alternatives for them and their children’s futures.
Reason is vital for love; otherwise it would have hardly made sense for the author of John’s Gospel to tell us that Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another. Clearly, then, love has to be more than just a feeling, and sometimes it has to act against one’s feelings.
But it is equally clear that one cannot erase feelings from love on a permanent basis. Reason might be the helm of love, but feelings are the wind in the sail. Taken together, they are what we call “character.” The more developed someone’s character, the less schizophrenia there will between his Reason and his feelings.