Love the Greatest Adventure: An Inquiry into Romeo and Juliet, Like Crazy and Brokeback Mountain

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Love is the greatest adventure.



Especially if we want to live our lives to the fullest.

 

It is the moment where true beauty overcomes our reason and will, our plans are torn to bits and choices get made and voilà, life happens. Though, it is possible that we can be seduced by what appears to be beauty, beauty is itself inseparable from the great leap.

 

Everyone knows the story: Romeo and Juliet, coming from opposing feudal families, should not have fallen in love, but they did! God bless em, it was a hard road.

 

I saw a movie once called Like Crazy that captured with accuracy the modern lover. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they fall in love. Their lives, however, are complicated, separated by boundaries, borders, and red tape. Anna is an English exchange student studying in America where she meets Jacob, a local resident. In the initial stages of their love they make the leap, and the process of creative destruction takes place. When Anna overstays her student visa and is subsequently barred from entering the United States, their relationship becomes all the the more difficult.

 

The barriers of their long distance relationship dismantles what appeared to be mutual self-gift.

 

Love without sacrifice, is not love.

 

Anna and Jacob had sparks, they seemed to be perfect for one another. But something was missing… no one dies at the end. Even when they are back together, they fail to see past the immediate problems, the obstacles. They both fail to make the leap that love is, the final leap, the leap that tears open to human heart so that it may become an abode in which the beloved may find a home.

 

You see, when children play at romance it is like a game of house. One puts the “wife” hat on, and then takes it off. The other puts the “husband” hat on, and then takes it off.

 

When adults live romance, people lose everything and gain everything in the same breath. People die and people make mistakes, but at least it is real.



True love is complete gift.

 

Look at the tragedy of Brokeback Mountain.

 

These men, so called lovers, would not give all of themselves to anyone, neither to their respective wives, nor to each other. It is not primarily a sad story because of the persecution; it is a sad story because love failed to give. Ennis would not die for Jack, and vice versa. No matter how good the sex was, without love, the story is heartbreaking; neither had the courage to give everything.

 

Do we?

 

Doubtless someone will say, “But if there wasn’t any persecution, they could have loved each other!”

 

Whoever thinks that the point of Romeo and Juliet was a denunciation of social boundaries misses the story completely.

 

True love crosses any threshold, any boundary, even at the risk of death.

 

If it will not risk death, it is not love.

 

Love, however, can also mean saying no.

 

Take Anna and Jacob who flitter between commitment and noncommitment. If circumstance or lack of capacity prevented them from the ultimate gift that their relationship seemed to be leading to, prevented them from making the great and final “I do,” then breaking it off would have been the most loving action possible.

 

To hold the beloved in the land of “maybe” is torture and selfish.

 

We cannot say no to commitment, total self gift, and yes to the beloved at the same time.

 

It is a contradiction which would inevitably destroy the beloved.

 

We see this very destruction in Brokeback Mountain. Families crumble, children are left without a stable environment in which to thrive, to grow up as beloved. It is heart wrenching and brutal, and the longer the “maybe” exists, the more intense the destruction becomes.

 

I am not, of course, speaking against a normal period of courtship in which two souls discern together whether or not they’ve found the one. For that discerning is two people journeying together towards a goal, and knowing that the wild and ultimate freedom of the other is operative. It is a productive time of “maybe” that finishes at the appropriate time with a “Yes” or a “No”, and no nonsense.

 

Just as with any great challenge that is worth doing, “half-hearted” just does not cut it. Why should love be any different?

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Belief (Part 2 of 3): Belief and Happiness

The questions begs asking: Why can’t people just believe whatever makes them happy?
 

We live in a time where the notion of truth is treated like a fancy. Some like it, others do not, who really cares?
 

There is something wholly silly about not believing what is true simply because I fancy to believe in something different. Perhaps this view can be forgiven, for knowing what is true is not always simple and straightforward.
 

The question remains, if you knew what was true, beyond a doubt, would you not be inclined to believe it no matter how contrary to your own current beliefs it was?
 

If your answer to that question is no, I would find that profoundly curious. If your answer is yes, this bodes well, for this discussion may continue.
 

We are all forced to believe in the existence of a table we’ve just walked into.
 

The person who claims that the table does not exist will only walk into it again, causing no small discomfort.
 

Each person may believe that the table exists or not: why couldn’t they hold this belief so long as they are happy? I cannot help but suggest: who cares what people want to believe, we can all recognize that the table does exist.
 

It is plain that fact is not a matter of opinion. It never has been and it never will be.
 

No amount of forceful mental exertion will ever alter a fact.
 

I will also go one full step further and say that knowing truth is fundamentally a profound and joyful experience, and likewise knowing lies is tragic.
 

The reason people cannot just believe what they want so long as it makes them happy is that the truth sets us free, and lies do not.
 

JOHN

In order to believe that all people firm in their beliefs are happy requires that we never dig any deeper than the surface level of things.
 

For the person who dares to venture deeper into the hearts, the wounds, the psyche of the everyday person, they will find great sorrow and confusion mixed alongside joys and love. After a little further experience they will discover that some have far more pain than joy, and others far more love than confusion.
 

If you go into an intense discussion with someone like a neo-Nazi who still believes that the non-Aryans are to be exterminated, you will find great hatred being the source of this lie. This person will no doubt claim they have the truth and that this truth has set them free. It is simple to recognize that they have been sold a lie and that this lie has poisoned their reason.
 

As a direct result his joy will be diminished, his love decrepit, and everything that could hold meaning will be lost to him.
 

That is an extreme example but one important reality cannot be ignored:
In as much as our beliefs are based on lies we will discover pain and confusion.
In as much as our beliefs are based on truths, we will discover, inevitably, peace and joy.
 

So you can see, it is always in our best interest to embrace truth and not lies.
 

Why then has our culture, or society, abandoned truth and chosen personal whim instead?
 

Here is a complicated question that is not easy to answer.
 

I argue that we all still truly want truth, we’ve just become jaded to the multiplicity of claims in the world.
 

Which one of us has not been deceived at one time or another?
 

This is a painful experience which makes us more hesitant to trust again. It seems a universal mistrust in anything not proven in a laboratory has overcome our ability for clear thinking.
 

Some may argue that this is just fine, but I argue that those who ignore all truth not discovered within the scientific method will inevitably miss the most profound, joyful, enlightening, and meaningful moments life has to offer.
 

They are free to encourage their own willful ignorance of all else there is to know, but I strongly recommend a different course of action.