Hard Earned Lessons in Love & Pragmatism
A brief history of the idea of love, its naturally occurring environments, the romantic revolution, sacred sexuality and where we have gone wrong.
(You are gonna need some background music for this.)
Ah, Love. That fateful dream that lights the heart of man throughout the darkness of time. That morning sun that summons us awake or in its absence leaves us bedridden.
Love, the intuition of any hopeful, perpetually within our reach and yet can never quite be grasped.
Love, that water we swim in, the air we breathe.
So intoxicating we don’t even know its in us,
that it moves us.
Love, so healing yet so turbulent,
so creative, so destructive.
Love. Nature’s spell to keep life living.
The essential commandment of Christ.
Love for others, for everyone, for God.
Love, God’s gift and his curse so we be fruitful and multiply.
Love, that distant cure for loneliness.
The harshest judge of our inadequacies.
That love of a child for his parents,
despite their vices and shortcomings.
That love of a young romance,
that knows no dangers and no limits.
That love of a parent for his offspring,
with the fury of a thousand lions,
and the tenderness of early winter's fall.
Love, that spell that gives us strength to kill and die for,
the will to put up with it all.
What is love?
Can love be reached?
Is it a journey or a destination?
Are we fools to chase it?
Are we doomed by the impossibility of its beauty and perfection?
Can it be nurtured and cultivated,
a golden rose in a garden of virtue?
Today we talk about perhaps the most powerful human motivation, love. And in particular romantic love, the most mysterious of the lot. After all, this dream of deep companionship is in every heart -I believe- despite how guarded and buried it may seem.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF LOVE
Love, a word so powerful, that it is the envy of magicians. Old as the known world. Poetizied by the Sumerians, studied and practiced by the ancient Greeks. Consolidated by Christ into the highest virtue. Love transformed literature and art throughout the renaissance. The mysteries of life contained within one syllable.
If love could be a verb and have an era, it would be called ‘Romanticism’. Popularised throughout the enlightenment period, in particular, during of the industrial revolution. Romantic poets intoxicated the world with their imagination. While the world was increasingly hollowed out by the rise of the machines, this poetic movement sprung in its opposition. Filling the void for centuries.
The idealization of nature’s virginity, untrampled by man’s ambition and the cold-hearted extraction of its elements by industry. A revolution of the heart against the hard social norms and class structure, that may have once served us throughout the dark ages. Romantic poets unleashed an old ideal wrapped up in the naivety of secularism. Love for love’s sake. Nothing it’s superior. No boundary it's keeper.
Thousands of paintings, books, and songs unfolded into the collective subconscious.
The bounty? A peak in birth rates from which we would soon depart.
Fast forward a couple of hundred years and we have the sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s. Sex, the most obvious manifestation of love, breaks free from the ball and chains of tradition and monogamy. A Cambrian explosion of sexual exploration pours through mainstream America and then much of the world. Technology its jailbreaker freeing women -and thus men- from the heaviest consequence of sex, pregnancy.
The contract with nature is finally broken, seeds now rarely planted, the crops begin to thin.
Fast forward to today and the game is digitized and enumerated. Commoditized to the highest bidder. Entirely hallowed of its purpose.
Marriage and family are increasingly a luxury, a burden too heavy for those trapped in concrete jungles.
“Demographics are destiny” they say. If so, we need a pivot. As the world is aging toward the edge.
But… why was Marriage a thing in the first place?
What have we forgotten?
Marriage, what is it good for?
Ahh, the old ball and chain! The dream of little girls and the dread of young men…
The holy union with which the secular world seems to struggle so much.
Marriage, a challenge of fitness at this point, as divorce rates and children born out of wedlock have long become normalized.
Sometimes you gotta split up, I get it. Sometimes the personal hell created, is simply too much to bare. But even then, the sadness of a failing marriage, ´can be long lasting and deep. I see it among family members of mine, peace of mind about what went wrong is … elusive.
How could you end up hating someone you loved so much?
I am a child of divorce, a product of this confused world. The feminist revolution was in its second vogue when my parents were getting married. To their parents, divorce was a huge red flag, a clear danger. If your boyfriend’s parents had split up, that was not a good sign of what was to come. Nevertheless, the world changed around them. Around everyone.
The norms and standards of the pre war periods were all but forgotten by the end of the century. Gender roles were shattered throughout much of the western world. No fault divorces became legal in response to dissatisfaction and of course … domestic abuse. The result? Lots and lots of divorces. Eventually, petty issues, such as ‘lack of satisfaction’ became enough reason to break up a home.
Funny how that works eh? Dissatisfaction. Suggesting that marriage is an optional endeavor, like going to watch a movie for example, don’t like it? Walk out, no problem. The fruit of our wealth and technological advancements betray us.
Throughout most of history, this was not the environment. There were no washing machines for clothes or plates, there were no cars, just horse and buggy. Farming took up large portions of the population's time. Having children to help with the labor was actually a huge asset.
War was not a distant, highly specialized or technological matter. No, these were the dark ages and beyond. Raiders were a serious possibility. All men had to have some competence in the art of war. Though most were peasants, the gender roles were clear and preferred. Better to be a warrior in a garden, than to be a gardener surprised by war.
The reality of violence is that the strongest, biggest person wins. If you look at the UFC, the modern pinnacle of combat sports, there are weight classes. Why? Even when Mighty Mouse, a short and lightweight man -by any measure- is believed by many to be the best fighter in the world. He can only do so much against a literal “heavyweight”. From resistance to power, size matters.
And let’s face it, on average, men are bigger than women, heavier, stronger and often their reflexes are far sharper when it comes to the art of war.
Not only that, but consider this math. Consider a tribe after it has gone to war. There are one hundred women left after the scrap, and one man. That one man -if they will have him- he would be enough to impregnate all the fertile women in this horrific numbers thought experiment. But their tribe would have a chance to survive, doubling its numbers in a generation.
What if instead, all the women fought the war and the men stayed behind?
What if after the scrap you were left with 100 men and one woman? What’s going to happen to that tribe? That small town? It is game over folks.
Women are endowed with a superpower, they have the sacred gift -and burden- of the vessel of life. They are the queen bees, and at some level people understood this, they respected it and protected women from foreign dangers. They cherished their gift, even if internally there was abuse. That abuse should not be brought back from the dark ages. Let me make that clear.
But perhaps we do not have to throw out the baby with the bath water. Perhaps there’s something we can learn from our ancestors who survived the collapse of the Roman Empire and built the foundations of our modern world. Perhaps the chaos and apparent collapse of modernity have to do with us forgetting what it stands on.
I believe something about gender roles, that applies to heterosexual men and women. If this does not describe you, that is fine, go do your thing, it is a free world. But as far as mating, pair bonding and marriage goes, the genders do have some affinities.
I believe men are optimized by nature to deal with politics and the macro world. To contend with other men, horn to horn like elk and hold the line which they are duty bound to protect. To bring back the loot from conquest, financial or otherwise and to build a nest. It is the male among humans who ought to bring the branches and the leaves. Women can then choose from the lot to turn a house into a home.
I believe women are optimized to rule the local and the familial. I believe their social intuitions are keen for fairness among peers. One does not give less food to a baby because he is less competent than their older brother, no. Equal distribution of resources makes perfect sense in the home.
I’ve also seen the beauty women are attuned to. Men, they can live in a cave and be satisfied, not knowing what they are missing. Women however seem to simply know hot make life pleasant, how to brigthen up to the world. This, make men’s struggles and battles worth fighting and worth winning.
The most comfort,joy and beauty I’ve experienced has come from the fairer gender. Bringing forth quality-of-life improvements that men, simply do not think about.
Now, this is not to say that any other configuration is wrong, there are highly competitive women, and men who do a fine job maintaining a home. There’s also a long history of artists and cultural pioneers who had little of these traditional values within them. Nobody is going to stop you or them from doing what they wish. Some people have a unique mission in life and should be free to choose that journey and those trade-offs., in my opinion.
But when it comes to long-lasting love, that commitment of old. To join forces in the creation of an endless union. To create a nest and beautify it. To hold space for children to grow, and contribute to society. To unite in a partnership for the venture of family, that is the structure and infrastructure of long-lasting love. The frame and the painting. The walls and the garden.
There’s also more than just walls and commitment. More than caging ourselves in a relationship, there are a set of virtues that developed out of hardship which allowed for such a lifestyle to work. The topic of those virtues are an essay on it’s own, but I believe we need to become a lot more conscious about what virtues those might be, if we are to find our way into the new golden age.
The problem today is that the societal and economic pressures that forged the marriage model and mindsets are on hiatus. Technology has freed up women’s time massively so they get bored at home and naturally desire more from life, such as working a corporate job, lol.
Meanwhile, contraception has taken the repercussions and edge off of sex. With no risk, sport fucking is the norm now among the young. Men on the other hand are increasingly domesticated, those that go to war are few and far between, masculinity is actively demonized and so, weakened, pathetic men are far too common.
Meanwhile, those that resist society’s onslaught to their masculine intuitions end up cynical, they become players and develop a callous exterior in this zero sum game.
Hard to fall in love with either of them.
There is one more thing I believe about love, having had some experience with the matter. Not only is the venture of family making where long-lasting love can flourish, but without fruit this tree withers. Children I believe are an essential ingredient in nature’s spell. They are the bonding agent that can hold love together, once the flame of passion tempers. Children transform romantic love from shared enjoyment of life, to a larger-than-us vocation. Though a commitment to virtue remains as the foundation.
Nature’s Spell And The Sexual Rite
Now, you might be thinking “oh boy, Juan Galt is about to argue that the only purpose of sex is baby making, or something along those lines” and uhhh, close but not quite. I’m too secular and naively romantic to believe that. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and live life as it comes, you know? Can’t predict everything nor can we control where everything goes.
However, I have to concede one point to this stereotypical hyper conservative viewpoint. That is, nature’s spell over the flesh.
Why oh why would it feel soo damn good otherwise to make love? It’s obvious when you think about it for a moment. Evolving out of the primordial goo, without the strongest of rewards, sex and thus procreation - the continuation of life - would not have occurred. It is almost too obvious to state so plainly but then I look at my generation. Most of my friends are all childless, myself included. Many of my peers spend much of their intimate lives wrapped up in latex or drugged with contraception into complacency.
Pregnancy has become a potential tragedy, rather than a miracle. Sex has become but a toy to pass the time. Women are no longer perceived as sacred creatures, the default torch bearers of the flame of consciousness. Ferocious in their willingness to defend it. Rather, they are drowning in the shallow waters of modern sexuality. Swiping from tinder date to tinder date, losing their glow as time goes on. Tic tok next block. Time does not forgive, not sure if it forgets. And then, their ‘peak sexual market’ value is lost to time. No one seems to tell women how valuable their twenties are. How their whole lives might depend on how they play their cards. How a corporate job will be profoundly boring when they realize they could be creating and nurturing life itself. That there is no more valuable and important job to the world than shaping the next generation, literally the future of the world, our offspring. They seem to only realize it in their 30’s when the pressure is on.
Am I supposed to say that it is fine, for the average woman to spend her whole life working for some faceless borg of a corporation, and then age and die alone?
Have you thought about what life will be like for you or your friends? Male or female for that matter when they are old and childless? Who will visit them, who will care for them? At the rate we are going, probably some Tesla bot, with Nurse AI ™ will take care of us. Her cold embrace a daily reminder of the warmth we have lost.
Men, living full lives of increasing cynicism, their callus pragmatism ossifying their heart, one day at a time as they grow old. Distracted by yet another notch on the belt, another tinder trophee who decided to play along. Men, growing in wealth and competence, hardened by the world. Their body and mind a castle, fortified against all threats. Inside the lights are off. No one is home. No one to protect, no one to love.
Hardly a life well lived.
Seriously, what will we do when we are retired and old? How boring it will be to play bingo every night?
No youth around us. No spark of life to remind us of the beauty of the world, the joys of the sun, the colors of the flowers, the beauty of the sunset. All which we have seen a thousand times and now consider normal, in fact - to be expected.
Nothing quite reminds us of the beauty and marvel of the world, like a child seeing that unbelievable thing for the first time.
But no, oh no, having kids is hard, who wants it anyway, "there are too many of us as is!" Just wrap it up in latex and take your drugs, your hormone blockers, your anti-fertilizers, just continue chugging along, soon enough you will not even notice and we will be in free fall, falling off of demographic cliff.
Thank God for the truly religious, those who go by The Book, and the migrants too I guess, who ignorant of our cultural “progress” shall inherit the earth, filling the gap of our low replacement rates. Tsk tsk.
We have cheated nature. Wrapped her up in a latex bubble and drugged her silly with hormone pills that make her sterile. All to get our rocks off, but to what end? Not much. For a mutual jerk between strangers of the night.
No, it is way past time to reverse this pendulum, I believe it has swung too far.
In fact I truely believe that no sex is better than loving making without cheats. The future guarded by a commitment to see things through to the end. The foundations set for prosperity as best we can, with space to grow old and fruitful. Peace of mind flows when there is no need for latex and drugs to keep nature contained. Let her free and let her flow through you in this most holy and mysterious of acts, which creates life itself and rewards us with a pure, holistic, third-eye-opened explosions of joy.
Let nature’s spell flow through you, and cherish her flame.
( Oh yeah! We are on Substack now, please consider subscribing to the monthly equivalent cop of coffee or beer. Only if you can and would like me to continue this work. All the best. ❤️)