Romantic love is an investment in the Other (who is seen as sacred) which it is assumed will pay cosmic dividends. If this is perceived to happen at all, it is only over the short-term. A single individual, whoever they are, is seldom the source of any final answers in life. The problem is that civilized man is so suffused with needs.


To be in a romantic arrangement is necessarily to be in a kind of fog. Especially in marriage. Falsification and lack of critical thought are absolutely necessary for any romantic relationship to function at all. If these do not occur, there can be no way to maintain one for very long. Seeing that your partner is not who you imagine him or her to be (and imagination and its resultant positive sensation are at the core of all love), and not willing to be coerced or to compromise for a sexual or other reward, destroys the very foundation of the situation. If you are seeing things clearly, are truly honest with yourself and others at least most of the time, and you really understand what someone is actually thinking most of the time, then you cannot be really committed to a relationship. At bottom no two individuals of same or opposite sex are compatible from a God's-eye view.


One can have the utmost compassion for humanity without also liking it very much.


What we have to realize about love is that it isn't everything, and isn't, ultimately, an answer.


Very easily, and frequently, a marriage can go on for thirty years while both parties have failed to realize that it hasn't been working for the last twenty-eight.


The greatest illusion of them all is romantic love.


If the situation warrants it -- i.e., gets awful enough -- anyone will abandon you totally. The tethers to those around us are much more frail than most people realize.


It seems that, by and large, the people who clamor about suffering are really the ones who are doing all right -- at least materially. The people of the world who are, by any objective measure, truly suffering a great deal day-in and day-out do not talk of such things.


It is truly a privilege to be able to enjoy life to any degree. A lot of people aren't equipped to do so, through no fault of their own.


Romantic love is ultimately confined to the self, and all of the subtle, sublime and perhaps even transcendent emotions that often come with it are tied inextricably to the ego of the person experiencing them. There is in reality no union of self and other in any romantic relationship -- it simply cannot exist. In truth, love is essentially a kind of particularly delusional selfishness which gets projected onto and associated with the other. In the end, all of its trappings are intended, or have come into being, to foster robotic behaviors which will result in offspring. Love may feel wonderful, but the rationalization of its mechanism really is a species of delusion.


In most human interactions involving violence, nobody is right and everybody loses.


While I strive to have compassion for all beings, I must concede and admit that the common man (and woman) is pretty stupid, uninteresting and vapid. Offensively so, in many cases. I don't suppose that means he should be crucified for it.


Hunter-gatherers' lack of a belief in romantic love, and all of its attendant manifestations, was probably wiser than we realize.


When you have seen love go as internally haywire as I have, you realize that it is more or less just a mechanism.


Love of one's dog isn't so much about a romantic type of love as it is about a very subtle form of compassion. I love on my dogs quite a bit, but enjoy them primarily for the compassion we share.


Let's face it, human love is mostly conditional, and tied to desire. I think what is cosmic, ultimately, is compassion. There is a subtle difference.


Truth is, there is precious little, in the end, that one can do to really help one's fellow man, existentially. That, of course, does not mean that institutional help for basic needs should be absent, as it largely is in the United States.


There is a lot of suffering out there, surely, but it seems that, for the most part, we are doing it to ourselves.


I think much of the sting of suffering comes from constantly telling ourselves we are suffering, that '"this sucks." Without recognizing adversity as suffering, there is not nearly as much suffering going on. It is simply accepted. I think this is closer to the natural attitude than wallowing in misery, which is what civilized humans do best.


Just because one doesn't have much faith in one's fellow man does not mean that one should not act compassionately toward him.


Do I care? Well, on the one hand, I don't at all like to see people suffer. On the other, I am convinced that this species is going down one way or another, to which I am resigned and feel is probably for the best. So yes and no.


True friendship is really quite different than that which most people have.


It's hard for us closed-up Westerners -- especially Americans -- to open up and experience full, conscious love without the aid of psychedelics. I know I can't.


The juxtaposition of Christ-like love and the real world seems somewhat absurd to me. The two do not go together. That is not to say that detached compassion is not the best policy.


It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which those who have everything bitch and moan while those who have nothing don't say a word -- or even speak positively.


It is best to take on the day bravely and confidently, knowing that if it had to happen over again you would not do things differently. This attitude toward the world leads to a serene contentment that goes a long way toward alleviating the suffering of our existence. This suffering need not dominate one's life, which after all is something of a privilege, all things considered.


So many people in utter despair, talking of suffering and pain. When did everything become so awful?


It's hard to get close to someone when experience tells you the relationship is more than likely going to be transitory.


Despite a lot of disagreement on the part of morose and cynical souls, suffering is not the natural state of an animal. There is pain, there is suffering, and these things are awful and not to be ignored, but the fact is that most creatures most of the time are not in a state of suffering. They are simply living. Humans are biased because a lot of us are miserable. I point out emphatically that this is an artificially, not naturally, induced state of mind. It is egocentric to say that "existence is suffering." It would be far more correct and appropriate to say that our existence is suffering, at the moment.


Those in the most unfortunate situations are usually the most upbeat and optimistic and happy. Those who live in relative luxury and who don't have very much to worry about for the most part are usually the most cynical, morose and miserable. It seems they mistake their boredom for something serious, and feel they're suffering endlessly. What they really need is something to do, and a reality check. Most (not all) of this type have no idea what real suffering is.


Of course someone in a state of suffering can have that suffering removed but, all things being equal, there's nowhere to go. Modern man is in such a state of longing for union, for bliss, for rapture, and it's precisely because he is broken that he never finds it. If you can mend the brokenness, then what is before you is all there is and need be.


One cannot count on anyone in this life except for family, and in many cases not even them.


In American culture, going after the money is valued over friendship.


The phenomenon of romantic love exists because we posit the idea of a holiness and a healing essence in the Other, which stems from our flawed rearing practices as a civilized people. When Self and Other are in balance, romantic love cannot and does not exist. To use perhaps a strong word, as wonderful as it can be, it is really a species of pathology. In most relationships it is not an illusion that lasts for very long.


The truth is, I simply don't get much out of human interaction anymore. I know I am not alone. And an acquaintance of mine helped me to realize that there is no shame in it at all.


Can one have love for the human race and be utterly disgusted by it at the same time?


I hear the word "suffering" bandied about by people who aren't doing too badly, at least compared to those who have terminal illness, long prison sentences, chronic severe pain, deformity, amputation, blindness, paralysis, psychosis, etc., etc. At the very least, a lot of people who think they are suffering terribly could always be doing catastrophically worse. I've got some problems but I'm not in pain, and that's good enough for me.


Despite what mother culture tells you, a single person is not all you'll ever need emotionally, or in any other way.


While justice may not be done on Earth -- where, in fact, it may be flagrantly undone -- I do have faith that, in the end, justice prevails on a karmic level. No one can escape himself.


In practice, love is predicated on quite a bit of ego. Compassion is not.


If a person or a people were suffering without having any awareness that they were suffering, would it really be suffering? Is it not possible to regard "suffering" as simply what is necessarily happening, without acknowledging it as something bad that is happening to one? Was the Buddha really completely right when he said our species must suffer?


I like to practice a detached compassion for people. I would point out that it is not love.


When circumstances get bad enough, even those who have loved you the most will abandon you completely.


We can choose to view life as a sacred privilege and refrain from wallowing in our suffering while we pity ourselves. I'm just not sure when everything got so awful for our younger Westerners.


Notions of compassion or some sort of transcendent love notwithstanding, at some point sociosexual love is something to be overcome.


Good marriages are possible because a few people, after the passion dies away, find they are in a terrific friendship. As Nietzsche pointed out very correctly, the talent for marriage lies in the talent for friendship -- solely, in my opinion. A man and a woman who got married because they were in love will find their marriage to be a success when, after the love has faded, they happen to be great friends. Most people are not so lucky, and remain slaves to the institution even though they may not have any very good idea of who this stranger is on the other side of the bed. There are, of course, the divorced. But even most ostensibly functioning marriages really aren't that happy. People remain married because they can't think of anything better to do, and because they are set in their ways and are totally dependent. It's much easier to remain married after the kids are gone than to become a lonely philosopher -- so we find millions of intact marriages. Most are not remotely happy, or even functional. But there are those few rare instances in which you can actually find a good marriage. It's because the constituents are best friends. Even most friends don't stay friendly for a lifetime, so one can see why truly successful marriages are so rare.


Kurt Vonnegut was absolutely right: Love is where you find it. It is foolish to think you can go looking for it and actually succeed. Sure, you have to be willing and assertive in general. But in reality it just sort of happens for you. Or it doesn't.


Friendship in youth is magical. Friendship in adulthood is superfluous.


There is a reason it's called "falling for someone." You have just been duped by false advertising.


I am never more incomparably stupid and crazy than when I am in love.


Love is the best drug there is.


As Bierce correctly noted, affection is really a kind of delusion. It is a genetic imperative designed to force lovers to pursue or keep their quarry and parents to protect and nurture their children. It may seem curious to some to say such a thing about what most would probably consider one of the primary reasons for living, but affection for another is not a choice and it has much more to do with lover than loved. It is an evolutionary necessity, and it is automatic. When one is not in love one sees with objective eyes that really, affection is a kind of mechanism in the world of the ordinary.


The world is a brutal place. But fortunately we are not damned to brutalize ourselves because of it. We can face it bravely and serenely and in some cases even with joy.


There's conventional love, which is the temporary drug that wears off. There is a higher form of love that is more durable (and rarer). And there is compassion, which is universal.


There are people who suffer very little, and there are people who suffer very much. Life isn't exactly equitable in its endowments -- which of course only adds insult to injury.


If your love for someone isn't infinite -- what is it?


Romance aside, the sexual component of love seems to be a bit more instrumental than the compassionate, unconditional one.


Love is real, and love is wonderful, but is it really possible not to qualify it? For very many people at all, if anyone?


In 999/1000 relationships, the woman has all of the power while the man assumes all of the responsibility. The unfair sex is not as trampled as the feminists like to posit.


It's hard to forgive a rattlesnake that keeps biting all the time.


It's a sad truth that we cannot choose whom we love.


Once you assume a certain perspective, suffering no longer seems that important.


Pain is inevitable. Abject suffering is not.


It may be only the minority that really counts, but it is my contention that if we have the power to provide the necessities for everyone, we should.


People are easily at their most stupid when they are in love. If the critical faculty were functioning normally, the whole thing would fall apart.


I don't know if humans are capable of unconditional love, but it is clear that dogs are.


I've found that adulthood friendships are largely transitory and superfluous. We shall never again have what we had in youth.


I suppose one constructive thing to do is to try to see the good in people above all else. I'd personally have to try pretty hard.




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