Is love dead, actually? A recent article bemoans the fact that we – well, Americans in particular – are falling out of love with love, and that the traditional notion of romantic ‘love’ no longer comprises a theme for most films, songs and all the other ephemera that constitute – or used to – our recreational hours. Like God, to paraphrase Nietzsche, the rom-com is dead; makes sense, for if God is love, and, as the German philosopher’s prophet Zarathustra proclaimed, God is dead, is not love syllogistically also in the metaphysical mortuary?
It seems that young people are not all that interested in ‘love’, at least of the type into which one romantically ‘falls’, leading to hand-holding and, eventually, a proposal on one knee, marriage, children…
Now the heroes in films are tattooed, muscle-bound, gun-wielding, foul-mouthed solitary loners – and that’s just the women, who are not even remotely interested in the traditional vita domestica.
And this is not just in the media, for it seems that young people – to say nothing of older types – are losing interest in sex, and all the preludes thereto. It’s just too much work, for too little pay-off, and who really wants snotty-nosed children to raise, clean, look after and, gasp, discipline and teach?
Better, as the article claims, just to hook-up without emotional attachment, if one even bothers with that, or just stay home and self-pleasure, as the euphemism has it. But even that gets boring: In Japan, there are millions of thirty-somethings who have never been in a romantic relationship, and have no interest in ever being entangled in one, and this is not unique to the island nation.
This is a deep philosophical problem, with no immediate solution. Without a purpose for which to strive – namely, heaven – and a clear teaching on how to achieve this end – namely, living a Christian life, either in marriage, or some sort of apostolic celibacy – what are we all here for, except to snatch what pleasure we might, before we grow old, and have ourselves euthanized, before that gets too, well, boring?
Life and love go together, or perish miserably apart. Love without some connection to producing life is nothing but more or less refined form of lust. And need I describe what misery a life without love entails?
And the only way love of the romantic sort can be sustained is through having that deep purpose, of seeing life as a path to heaven, requiring sacrifice and perseverance, that whole ‘willing the good of the other’, even, especially, if it means giving up much of our own ‘good’. Only he who loses his life may find it.
It does warm my heart to see so many of the young people I teach – well immersed in strong, clear, Catholic, metaphysical purpose – falling in love, getting married, and having what beautiful children God sends – whose noses are mostly not snotty, but rather cute – all happy, all full of life and love.
So love is not dead everywhere. Only where God is not.