The truth and love


I love you.

We fall in love, declare love, make love, and do crazy little things for love.  We search for love in all the wrong places and find the most incredible fulfillment in even the slightest glimpse of love in our lives.  The trouble with love is that, like the truth, love creates its own parallel universes of contradictory meanings and motives.  Lovers create worlds of intoxicating beauty and lasting contentment, but lovers do things that threaten to destroy love altogether.  Why is it so much easier to reveal our secrets and anxieties to strangers, rather than just tell the one we love?  By the time we can let it out, it’s all too much.

An old pop standard put it like this,

You always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldn’t hurt at all
You always take the sweetest rose
And crush it till the petals fall

You always break the kindest heart
With a hasty word you can’t recall
So If I broke your heart last night
It’s because I love you most of all

Love is the moral equivalent of the superposition of quantum particles – this is the phenomenon in which a small particle, like an electron, seems to be doing two contradictory things at once.  Like an electron, love spins right-side up and upside down all at the same time, and any attempt to know what is going on collapses its ability to be two things at once.  And if it’s not both things at once, it’s not quite the love we desire.  Love is always and everywhere on the precipice of its own demise, the strongest trust suddenly shattered by the right amount of pressure in the right place, the right place being that fault line we’re never really aware of.

The trick with love is to know when to leave well enough alone.  None of this means that love is doomed, or that love isn’t beautiful all on its own.  It is beautiful.  Love moves us, but like Heisenberg, we find that knowing one thing about love essentially blinds us to some other quality that will catch up with us later.

Like love, the truth requires us to remember that beyond the words we say, something else is always implied, even if we can never know what it is until we’ve lost something else.  To bring truth into relationships requires us to remember that contradictions are no mere accidents.  Contradictions – in principles, thoughts, words, or actions – are the substance of the truth and par for the course in the truth of love.

Truth dares us to learn how to heal.  Love dares us to be vulnerable, to be open, and to live without knowing everything about the one we love.  Love is a dangerous beauty, as another well-known song records it,

Some say love, it is a river
that drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love, it is a hunger
an endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
and you its only seed

At the end of the day, love and truth challenge us to be open to the greatest rewards, in spite of any risk.

Credits:  Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher, “You Always Hurt the One You Love,” sung by many, among other Clarence Frogman Henry and Ringo Starr

Amanda McBroom, “The Rose,” made most famous by Bette Midler , rose photo.


Filed under beauty, Bette Midler, Clarence Frogman Henry, danger, love, superposition

10 responses to “The truth and love

  1. michelle

    ahh, save the best for last.

    i love you

    such powerful words.

    i’m of the mindset that who & what i love define beauty in my life.

    i cannot control my love. i hope that my love cannot control me.

    & most importantly, i just wanna love. thx for sharing your thoughts, it’s helped me quite a bit.

    Bette Midler… I’ll never forget the scene of her in “The Rose” in the phone booth at the end. Ever.

  2. john

    You’re welcome. Thanks for the thoughts and feedback. I’ve always thought that taking the thorns off roses reduced their beauty.

  3. michellebloom

    yes, please go ahead and link it, i can link your blog to mine too, i just need to figure out how to do that?? i will take a look at your blog now too 🙂

  4. poietes

    I love your comparison of love to an electron. That’s absolutely perfect: going in two directions at once.

    Finding love, real feeling in your gut love, is so much harder than people understand. Too often, what passes for love is lust and a feeling of obligation.

    Great post. And yes, the scene at the end of “The Rose” is gut-wrenching. She just wanted to be loved, but in the end, she dies alone and lost. Just killed me the first time that I saw it.

  5. michellebloom

    beautiful post. love is so much deeper than the words implied. maybe if we humans were not so caught up in needing sameness we would allow love to confiscate our identities more. i am not sure if that makes sense but it just rolled off my tongue.

  6. The word ‘Love’ has been exploited time and time again. It’s true meaning, no one really knows.

    Just exploited into what people see fit, and most of the time, associated with sex and it’s consummation. This reminds me of a line from the movie “The Mirror has Two Faces”, where Professor Morgan, one of the main characters declared;

    “True love has spiritual dimensions, while romantic love is a lie. A myth. A soulless manipulation. Because, myth or manipulation, we all want to fall in love. That experience makes us feel completely alive. Our everyday reality is shattered, and we are flung into the heavens. lt may only last a moment, an hour, but that doesn’t diminish its value.We’re left with memories we treasure for the rest of our lives.”

    I agree to some point. There is such a thing as romantic love, as well as true love does exist, that last longer than a moment, or an hour, and can go into months and year, and the decades. But not many experience it and they take what they get, just because they don’t want to be alone. But I do believe in it, it being true love, and till I do find it I will live in the moments, and treasure them with all my heart.

    Truly Refreshing post.

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