Thursday, June 11, 2009

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Relationships today seem to emerge with frequency and easily come and go, but love is rare and tough in that its demands go beyond the momentary and casual. It appears that love has it all going against it; commitment, trust, fidelity, longevity, sacrifice, and risk to name a few of its infelicities. Do you think that many people in our culture have given up on love?


Joshua said...

Yes. Maybe haunted by its echo. The message though is it never even was, except the things of myths. Watched a great historical "documentary" on Love in the Oval Office, much was conjecture (some definitely not), but they were quick to even present George Washington (hardly perfect, but highly respected) as fathering a child with a 15 year old as if it were probably fact, only casually mentioning that the dates of conception don't really fit historical records. The cultural hegemony on this point is strong, and many people whom seem (and I'm skeptical) to be experiencing a contradicting reality still believe otherwise. And that's beyond the realistic expectation of trivial, decadence we can confidentally encounter unless we take huge leaps of responsibility for seeking out other enviroments. Heard an excellent quote by Wilde:

"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."

In terms of that aspect of love which is civilizing, I tend to agree.

Greg said...

Thanks for your challenging insights. True. Let's not be persuaded by recountings of what once was if it only existed in the recesses of imagination. Love, though rare, and sometimes elusive, is too real for that.

Contributing to reversing the flow will require giving up much of what's not worth holding on to in the first place.

John said...

I agree with Josh (I find myself doing that a lot these days). I think we have seen so much of love being temporary and self-serving (especially seen in the rising rate of divorce in America and other places) that we are jaded on whether true love exists, and sometimes we do not even know what love is, having not seen it well.

One thing I was reminded of this morning is that love is a choice. There was a shooting by a white supremacist at the Holocaust Museum yesterday, and the shooter is now in the ICU. Today on the radio the DJ was asking medical professionals how they care for someone like that, especially when they may be black or Jewish themselves. I was reminded that love is a choice and we are called to make that choice. But that is not common in the "instantaneous satisfaction" culture.

Greg said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Seems like the supposed fleeting character of love has left us with a reductionistic consensus that attempts to close down the possibility of choosing differently.

John said...

Greg -
True. Maybe since "love" is associated with "feelings", my generation forgets (or doesn't realize) that there is much much more to love than "feeling in love." We talk about "falling in love" in America, but that's not something is talked about much in other cultures, I think. If you can "fall in love" with someone quickly, can't you also "fall out of love" or "not be in love" with them just as quickly?

Seems shortsighted and cheap to me. God's love for us (which should be the foundation for what we know as love) is not such.

Greg said...

Good points. Strangely, love tends to take a beating as people clamor for relationship.

Rhett & Valerie said...

Hey Greg,

It seems like a fair amount of people out there are pretty jaded when it comes to love in romantic relationships. This article on demonstrates what a lot of people around my age know from experience:

(The article is basically about a suggested growing trend among young professionals in New York City; sex without any type of intimacy--e.g. dating). For anybody my age this news isn't really news.

In my experience, there are still plenty of advocates out there for love in terms of lasting, real, and meaningful commitment to someone you cherish. But popular media and continuing fragmentation either produce untrue images of love or pessimistic views of it. Here in Birmingham, the "hip" radio station (which plays lots of alternative and indi rock) puts out an inordinate amount of music focused on failed relationships and disenchantment. It's like listening to break-up FM.

Anyway, even though we'd like to assume that we're immune to these kinds of influences, Rhett and I (and lots of people we know) try to limit the amount of "down-with-love" stuff we consume. In marriage, the problems are real but hope and love are prior to the difficulties.

Greg said...

Thanks for the link and your interesting observations. Sounds as if some cultural portrayals are not giving love its due and that many people are interested in more than a merely pragmatic relationship.