An article in the New York Times turns the act of falling in love into a laboratory exercise. It\’s typical of how we try to take the risk out of things these days, but when it comes to love you just need to take the plunge, writes Mark Manolopoulos. \”To fall in love. \”
The, rightly reminds us to remember why we call falling in love FALLING in love: we don\’t glide or float into love; we fall, we plummet, we plunge. We have no control when we\’re falling. The whole process is a violation, a violence, having its own volition. Love overcomes us, overwhelms us, overtakes us. No wonder we lose our appetite, our sleep, our minds when we fall in love. Make no mistake: love is frightful. Yes, even romantic love. Romantic love is so frightening that we moderns are finding all sorts of creatively dubious ways of avoiding or neutralising its traumatic nature. Part of internet dating\’s allure must surely lie with its managerial approach. Falling in love is re-cast as an in-depth job interview: applicants offer their CVs in the form of profiles (which are often as fudged as real ones); credentials are compared; potential suitors are identified; and a procession of remotely-conducted interviews may lead to a face-to-face interview (if you\’re lucky), which routinely produces instant dismissal (if you\’re unlucky).
The exemplary \”safe\” website is eHarmony. Even the word \”eHarmony\” suggests that the process of falling in love will be a smooth, tranquil transition from singledom to partnerhood without all that messy psychical violence. As with every other meaningful domain of our lives in contemporary society, what we have here is a clinical process that attempts to remove the risk or gamble out of an inherently dangerous endeavour. Isn\’t there something similar going on in Mandy Len Catron\’s viral New York Times article, \”To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This\”? Catron recalls the work of. It involved the two participants asking each other a series of increasingly intimate questions, followed by staring into each other\’s eyes for four minutes. The program apparently succeeded in uniting a couple, and Catron confirmed that the method worked for her, too. I think there are commendable things with this method, especially in terms of meaningful, incisive questions that aren\’t asked often enough in a world filled with small talk and idle chatter, as well as the crucial dimension of silence, which, once again, is rare in a world filled with noisy idle chatter.
Nonetheless, what we have here is a perfect example of the fixation with having total control, for seeking to neutralise fear and uncertainty. Falling in love is here construed as something we DO rather than something that HAPPENS to us. Love is not understood as an earth-shattering event that we experience with little or no control but rather a tightly controlled laboratory process. It\’s difficult to find a more glaring example of the contemporary desire to neutralise the romantic free-fall and its attendant fear and violence. We need to remind ourselves that love is something that happens to us, and when it happens, it exposes us to fear and failure (as well as joy and fulfilment). Having said all that, I don\’t think there\’s any need to corner ourselves into an unnecessary, restrictive \”either/or\” binary logic, i. e. , falling in love is either something that happens to us, or something that we do. My hunch is that it\’s a mix of the two, for there\’s certainly an element of pro-activity in the process: we\’re not purely passive subjects during this process; indeed, we often fall in love precisely because we\’re chasing after somebody.
So falling in love is something that we do as well as something that happens to us. In any case, let\’s remember that what we\’re experiencing when we\’re falling in love is falling. If you want to be open to love, you also need to be open to the fear that comes with falling. Dr Mark Manolopoulos is a philosopher. He is a research fellow at Swinburne University of Technology\’s Swinburne Leadership Institute, and an adjunct research Associate at Monash University\’s School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies. Playlists this song is on: Lyrics WHY DO THEY CALL IT FALLING IN LOVE? Perfect end to a perfect day, Perfect night in this cafГ. No one here but you and me, Talking \’til they kick us out at three a. m. It\’s raining down in the summer air. We\’re soaking wet, but we don\’t care, Just laughing like we always do. It always seems to be this way when I\’m with. You trace a raindrop on my skin. Why do they call it falling in love? And I can see you feel it, too. Tell me, why do they call it falling in love?
We\’re defying gravity, and your arms around me lift me up so high. Why do they call it falling in love? I lie in bed and I dream of you. I\’ve become addicted to the way I feel when you\’re around. You show me how to fly when I am grounded. I never knew anything like this, Never knew what I was missing. I will never be the same. Every day was just a day until you. Call me up when we\’re apart. Why do they call it falling in love? And I can see you feel it, too. Tell me, why do they call it falling in love? We\’re defying gravity, and your arms around me lift me up so high. Why do they call it falling in love? And I\’m breathless in this spectacular view. I\’m flying above the atmosphere with you, So tell me why do they call it falling in love? And I can see you feel it. Tell me, why do they call it falling in love? \’Cause you know you got me soaring like a kite in the wind, Hot air balloon, racing like a rocket in the middle of June And your arms around me lift me up so high. Why do they call it falling in love? Why do they call it falling in love? I think I\’m falling in love with you. I think I\’ve fallen in love. I\’ve fallen in love with you.