is love? Well that’s a big question. In some ways we all have
a different experience and concept of love but there is evidently some
common ground too. I am not trying to get poetical or spiritual at
the moment, I am just trying to establish something about love. Love
is real. In making that statement I anticipate a response from some,
to the effect that it is not real. That it is ethereal. That
it is not substance but an idea or an experience. What is a waterfall?
Is a waterfall real? Well the water, itself, is not a waterfall.
So the “substance” part is not a waterfall. The “energy” or the dynamics
of space that give rise to the phenomenon of a waterfall are real (or would
some disagree with that?), but they are not a waterfall. The waterfall
is none of its constituent parts by themselves, but it is not a waterfall
if any significant part is missing. The reason I mention the waterfall
is because I suspect real is sometimes equated with matter. And that
there is a sort of concession to include energy if one has to. But
much of our attempt to analyse energy and to understand it has been either
as matter (photons etc) or analogous to matter (electricity and its analogy
to water flow etc), but we are thwarted in our attempts every time.
Then there is the issue of force fields which exert (or do they contain,
or are they) energy. But force fields we analogize as shape which
(so far in my experience) is a property of matter. The geometry of
the space-time continuum is, to my mind, the best conceptualization of
the issues surrounding energy and force fields. Since, when we look
deeper into the nature of matter we discover that it is energy (or interchangeable
with energy) I have a theory that all of the physical world that we live
in is ultimately the geometry of space-time. Carl Gustav Jung, in
one of his books, expressed deep frustration at the lack of understanding
that the psyche is real. (I will attempt to find the reference, but
for now I will continue.) He perceived that people treated the psyche
as if it were not really real. As if psychological phenomena could
disappear or appear from nowhere. He stressed the point that, in
his view, the psyche was not an ethereal thing but a very real thing.
The point I recall him making was that you cannot have an unreal thing
having an effect on real things. And that nuclear weapons were all
over the planet. The psyche is real. It affects the real world.
Arthur Janov, in his therapeutic activities has made significant strides
forward in showing the profound relationships between what we experience
as emotions and the physiological structures and states of the material
brain. What we experience as love has significant physical correlates.
Chemicals in the brain have consistent features relating to common experiences
of love and pain. When you think about it, of course, we know that
there are physical constituents to our experience of emotions. The
trouble is that they are often subtle and complex. If, for a moment,
I take astrology, as an example, the debate is often centred around whether
the state of the stars and the planets have an affect on our life.
The debate polarizes around the degree of influence and we get the position
of some saying that it is nonsense and some saying that they believe in
it. But that is not really a debate about a thing out there that
we are looking at, so much as a debate about how we respond to the thing
out there. But we mistake our sense of our relationship with the
thing, for the thing itself, and so we have an irresolvable conflict.
The fact (as I see it - note the concession to the doubters) is that the
state of the planets does have an affect on our lives. It could hardly
be otherwise. But whether or not we can detect that affect and make
significant correlations between actual events in our lives and the positions
of the planets is an unanswered question. I have no doubt that popular
tabloid press astrology is largely entertainment and not factually accurate.
But because that is nonsense does not mean that planets do not affect our
lives. The trouble with spirituality is that people have dislocated
it from reality. Rather like Father
Christmas. So I would suggest that, rather like looking at a
cluster of stars in a swirling galaxy and seeing the effects that are evident
in their relationship to one another, and like looking at the collections
of molecules that make up a daffodil and seeing the relationship between
them as a flower, we can see the love that is real around us, even if we
cannot comprehend and describe its substance. It is not ethereal.
Spirituality is not something the ego experiences after death. Love
is real. Love matters. Love is tangible. Love is inherent
in the universe. Whether it is a profound underlying unified theory
of every thing or an apex of complexity in the universe is not the question
I am seeking an answer for. I am just trying to establish if we have
enough experience to realize love.
© Nik Allday 2000