Friday, November 24, 2006

Ballet as a Metaphor for Love

Before we fall in love we know what qualities we are looking for in a lover--or think we do. The profiles on or Eharmony or Yahoo Singles certainly suggest that. Once we have fallen in love, it's a different story.

When people are pressed to explain why they love their lover, they usually have nothing to say except what a simpleminded answer would give: because she's she, and because I'm me! When it comes to explaining why they love, they are tongue-tied. Is it that you can't capture love in a finite list of qualities? How do you explain the reason for love? A list of physical and psychological qualities seems too quaint, like something out of an unsophisticated movie. A list of spiritual qualities seems to be a fabricated reason. Any spiritual reason would lead someone to love all people the same, making people inseparable from love of people.

At this point in my life the metaphor for love is the lighting at a ballet. What we love is well-lit, because love is the source of the light. When the light goes out, the beloved joins the rest of the ballet dancers. Unfortunately, what promises to illuminate love's death darkens its birth. Only lovers turn love on, others do not. But love isn't a searchlight. It's more of a security light that only some things trigger.

Many people in defense of love say that it cannot be captured at all. Still, the illusion that love is grounded in something--some quality or list of qualities--gets things backward. Where I am concerned is the value-conferring kind of love might hold more promise. Someone can value where they love, rather than love where they value. That might explain why what is valued in a lover is not necessarily valued in someone else with the same qualities. The light is not on them. It reflects the subjectivity of the object of one's love. It is simply a value judgment. It would also explain why, when love dies, what we once found beautiful, we now find commonplace or not even our type.


Anonymous said...

So I am the light is that true. The brillance for the dancers to dance, to make the movement graceful, to make it artistic. I am the object of the value of something, the light, the brillance and an object of affection. Though Shakespeare would agree with you, that his sonnet was to his object of affection, I feel he sees more than just an object, just a lens to see love through, light through, nature through.

And if it is only a light, if I am only there as a brillance then it strips away my counteance, it strips away the essence of me. And so you see me as a bright light. I had a guy once told me I was the only bright light he saw and that's all he saw in me, and he was hoping that he could capture my brillance. But I was unattainable to capture, and I didn't want to be on a stage to show the beautiful movements of the ballerinas and their dance. I wanted to be something more, not idolized, not seen as a beckon of light where brillance only happens when the light shines. That is sad joe. That is sad.

I had hoped I was more than just a bright light in your life, I thought I was something of a heart felt...not something of a spectator or a dancer enjoying my light. I thought love was a deep feeling inside, something that touches the soul that changes you forever. And you and I are never the same again.

But a light goes out, and you see common place as you called it, but I see something missing...something of value, not of where, but of whom, not of value judgement but of heart felt sake.
And if I am only a light in your life, then yes I can go out. Because castrophies happen, disasters happen, lights fall, the dancers are left in the dark, how do they manage then? They dance with the light inside them to guide them...and if I am not that type of light to you, a light that is inside you, a light that doesnt just exist outside you...
then of course my light will burn out in your eyes.

Love is if we put it in the metaphor of dancers and ballet, it is the dancing when it is painful, even when it is dark. Love has to be stronger than the light that guides all the dancers, it's got to be within you and if it's not, then of course it will burn out.

For if the love is not within yourself seeing your brillant light also illuminating the dark creaves of your soul, then love for yourself cannot survive.

And I am not an object of affectiong, rather I am just a light you long to have, but never had within. And the lights will go out at the ballet and what will you do my darling? I can only shine so bright for so long, before I will become dimmed and burnt out, but it's your love for yourself that you then bring to another.

And if you cannot do that then both lights go out and you are doomed for a life of darkness. I am sorry that sounds harsh but it if my firm belief that if you cannot love yourself, not just know yourself, not just be a philosopher, but love yourself...then what you're really seeking is inside yourself and that I cannot provide.

Acumensch said...

Someone once said to choose your metaphors wisely. I believe I did. And from the moment I read that the lover is "more than just an object" I knew I wasn't understood. Let me break your objections down because that is the best way I know how to respond.

Your main objection is based on an extra-literal interpration of the metaphor. I'll explain what I mean by that and how I think metaphors should be interpreted.

But understand this. I'm trying to explain why someone loves their lover. People often give the list-of-qualities answer. She's beautiful and classy. She's smart and sexy. But don't other people have beauty and class, smartness and sexiness too? Why don't you love them like you love your lover? There must be some other reason for love, besides qualities, and I believe the ballet metaphor explains that.

No one person is the only ballet dancer. Everyone is a dancer. And there are no spectators. You seem to think there is one ballet dancer and one spectator who idolizes her. That is not the case. But my apologies for not making that explicit. To use Shakespeare, all the world's a stage. And all the men and women are merely players. Yes we watch other people. But we are actors and actresses ourselves. The same is true of ballet. Lovers watch their lovers when they dance. And when it's their own turn to dance, their lovers watch them.

Your contention is that only when there is a light on the inside of a person can it be love. Love has to have a light within a person, not shining from the outside. That seems to work fine, but it doesn't fit my metaphor. Metaphors are not meant to be interpreted literally. They are figurative examples of reality. Not reality themselves. When I use a metaphor, I sometimes relate one real-world example to another. Ballets are real. Love is real. And love is like a ballet. In other words, the metaphor itself must have reality in its parts. The metaphor must follow some structure. Therefore, the ballet part of the metaphor has to obey the rules of ballet. It has to follow the structure of ballet. If ballet metaphors don't follow the rules of ballet, then I might as well choose a different metaphor!

So to put it bluntly, the only lights at a ballet are the ones shining from the catwalk. When have you ever gone to a ballet where the light was shining from your bosom? You suggest that lights at ballets shine from bosoms. That's a metaphor in its own right. But it doesn't follow the structure of ballet. Your's is a completely different metaphor. And when two metaphors are combined, it becomes a complex metaphor.

I don't think you had interpreted the ballet literally. You interpreted it extra-literally because you assume more about the metaphor than there actually is. And you added your metaphor to my own, resulting in a confusing mess.

That was the basis of your objections. Everything you said after that, total darkness, that I don't love myself if I'm a philosopher, etc. doesn't follow from the rest of it. But I disagree with what you said at the end. I'm not sure where the love of self comes from. So I won't try to follow your metaphor any further.

Anonymous said...

Oh that is interesting. I think you should try to reason out love, because well that's the only way to get anywhere right?

I think it's fine to try to figure out love as a metaphor in terms of a ballet. I think it is a metaphor that makes sense to the concept of love. As you have stated,"I'm trying to explain why someone loves their lover. People often give the list-of-qualities answer. She's beautiful and classy. She's smart and sexy. But don't other people have beauty and class, smartness and sexiness too? Why don't you love them like you love your lover? There must be some other reason for love, besides qualities, and I believe the ballet metaphor explains that."

I agree with you in the search for what why someone loves someone else and how that someone else is different from everyone, the other ballet dancers. And the light seems to make sense in terms of why a lover loves someone else more than just the next person with the same qualities. But maybe it's because the light is stronger on the lover's love because the lover knows their lover. Because the lover knows their object of their affection...the lover knows that even though there may be someone with the same qualities in someone else, they can't find all the qualities that they can find in their lover. Does that make sense?

I'll try to clarify. Because I agree that everyone has the same qualities, oh she's beautiful oh she's classy...I agree everyone is classy and beautiful in their own way. However I have looked for spiritual people, maybe I'm wrong maybe there is someone else like Sami, like you, but I have not found those qualities in anyone else. And though we say 'spiritual qualities' as a general thing, oh you believe in god, me too, oh you believe in heaven me too...but it gets complicated the deeper you talk about belief systems because it gets down to the core of the essence of the person and the qualities change from person to person.

I'll explain what I mean. I have looked for someone who is open to talk about reincarnation, to be open about abortion (though I can find others who would be interested), who loves themselves ( it's hard to find friends who truly love themselves to their core, girls i mean), to be open about talking about spiritual stuff, like tarot cards ( ive had friends call me too spiritual, too crazy in my magic spell stuff). Then i've had people that were too much into the spiritual ( oh you beleive in god, well can you be a witness for him, can i make you His witness?...yuck) and then I've had pagan friends who say things like, fall upon this knife if you disagree with the wiccan doctrine ( and i have been like no thanks that's okay). What am i trying to convey in these examples? I guess I am saying that unless you are saying that there is a person that really truly exhibits what Sami is, how she's open to talk about not believing in heaven or hell, talking about pastlives, talking about tarot readings....god that's rare. I've looked for people like her, even in highschool. So maybe you're right, maybe there is another Sami out there, maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. But I have to be careful for what I say to people. Have to be really careful and tiptoe because I dont want people to think I am a devil just because I do spells ( and it's on myself, for when i get sick, i dont do spells otherwise). And Cory's the closest I've come, I've met people on this program that are open to some things that I have mentioned above and accept it but refuse to talk about it.

And you, that is why I love you. I can say it honestly, it is why I love Sami. Though of course the love I feel for you is different. I have never met a guy who was open to my beliefs, even Loren and Kirk stopped me saying that it was too much to hear about my belief systems. I've had guys that don't believe in god but that's okay, yet don't believe in anything and refuse to listen to my ideas, except for the fact in hoping to believe what I believe, which is fruitless...because well people need to have their own foundations of what they believe. I know you believe in many things including your philosophy. And so why do I love you? It is qualities, but it is qualities that no one I have met can compare to. You're okay on the idea of god, I dont ask if you believe in it or not, but you write a little bit about it in your theosophy. But you don't make me believe what you believe, you dont' make me a witness to your god, and I hope you don't think I do as well. I hope you have never felt pressure that you must believe what I believe, I am sorry if you have. Because it is qualities that also compliment each other, or are opposites that they go so well. Wouldn't it be a boring world if everyone had the exact same qualities as me? Sorry degressing for a sec...back to the point:

You are open, you're willing to hear about my crazy art ideas when I've had guys either argue with me or that try to be like me or that think I'm insane because I believe something so unconventional it's not even funny. I haven't found many guys open to my ideas, my views, my life really. I've always felt I had to hide a part of me, except when I met you you are the only one I can open up to honestly, no other guy will allow me to really. I know I'm crazy, I know I'm insane, and Sami knows it too, because some people believe I am, because I AM SO DIFFERENT. I write poetry most girls don't, I paint and play violin and am into new age thoughts, most girls aren't. You see why guys wouldn't be cool with me? Even that one philosophy guy just wanted to talk to argue, to challenge me...not to understand.

I could go on and on why I could never find someone like you. And that's why I would hate to lose you. Like if I lost Sami, I can find some qualities in her in other people, but not all that makes Sami Sami. Qualities of quirks, of imperfections, of actions, and reactions, of personality that's why you love who you love and not everyone else. Because there are no other Sami's in this world. There are no other Joe's in this world and if you disagree, look around you. There is no one like you there is no one like me. We are unique people. So yeah sure there could be a guy out there that could have all your qualities, listens to my spiritual stuff, is willing to hear my beliefs, writes and reads literature, writes poetry, makes cards/bookmarks, loves to talk about deep intellectual things, loves the out of doors, has a green thumb ( which I don't;)), likes the idea of Link and Zelda...enjoys the art of tea, loves to talk about art....

I dunno Joe, but I've looked around enough around me to know, there is no one that you can say that is you. I mean you are an individual, a unique person. But mostly it's the fact that no one is as open as you are to me as I hope to be to one who can really understand my spiritual stuff...believing in pastlives etc...i can talk to you about anything. I couldnt even do that with Jon and maybe I haven't looked around enough...but I swear there's no one like you.

And it's not just qualities I realize, it's the way lovers connect, it's the way they are on the same wave's the way that sometimes when I am thinking a thought you are thinking it's the way we connect...the way we're always able to answer my questions, i do my best to answer yours...i think we connect at a deep soul level...and if i talk about that that's another conversation if you're interested we can talk about...because for some reason no one can answer my questions like sami when i am low, even cory doesnt give me enough it because cory's not trying hard enough? no it's because somehow the way sami and i connect is at a very heart deep level and I think that's what we have...a deep soul connection. I can't really describe it without going into my belief system.

i just connect with you like no one else, you help me with my spiritual quest, i hope i return the favor to you.

That's why I love you. It's not just the general qualities that make a lover love their object of affection, it's their quirks, their personality, their belief system, their way of life, their loves and passions, it's a deep embedded soul connection...i believe in.


And if that is the light that dawns upon the ballet then so be it. But the only reason why that light goes out in my thoughts is that the lover no longer loves the qualities in the other for whatever reason. Because it's not that the light actually goes out, it's more that you see all their quirks and personalities and their imperfections and that's when the metaphorical light goes out. Because at first you saw their personalities as an attraction force, as a way to dance with them differently than ever before, lovers dancing with lovers...
but when the dancers change, when the light turns a different color, when the dancers get tired of dancing that's when love loses its glow it's brillance. Because it seems what you loved in the other person in the very beginning, what turned on that light in the first place, is the same thing, the same quirks and qualities that for some reason the lover no longer is attracted to and thus the light goes out. The qualities of the person when in the light they seemed perfect, but their imperfections and their quirks somehow become 'commonplace' and unlikable because the lover realizes there's more to the light than meets the eye. And I believe the soul connection isn't the same anymore, the energy between the two lovers is different. The way they connect doesn't seem to work anymore. And if it flickers out the lover has to comtemplate again why they love their lover in the first place. And find if they can renew that energic line of connectivity and if they can't yes the light goes out. I have come to the conclusion that as a friendship that Sami and I have, that I have seen the light go out with her, she's imperfect. I'm quite aware of that. But before when I first met her i thought she was the perfect best friend. But I saw her in such a light I could see nothing else, and it was her qualities that shined through her demeanor. But it was some of those qualities that I disliked her in the end and I had to look inside myself to see the light in a new way, reflect why I disliked her was because I disliked something in myself and when I saw the light dim upon us. The light within dimmed within me, and so I looked in myself to see the light in a different view to see her imperfections as accept her imperfections, to not change her qualities, but change how the light shone on her. I think I saw her in the light I liked, and I refused to look at the deeper light that I tried to not see, in my view, in my judgement, in my 'rose tinted windows' and when the light lighted on her in a different way then I remembered I had to re evaluate why I was her friend in the first place. And instead of changing her qualities, I changed my light to illuminate all of her and kept up the dance, knowing there's no one in the world that is like her. And there's no one like you in this world either. I didn't so much change my light, the light always shone the same. In metaphorical terms as you refer to the ballet lovers, I metaphorically changed how I looked at that light upon my lover dancing with me in the ballet...the light never changed, I was the one who changed how I saw my lover in the light. So to conclude this example: I changed how I saw the light on Sami, the light never changed, I just refused to see things that I didnt want to see and until I accepted that was also part of the light. And I was the one who changed how I saw her in the light, and she always loved me as a friend and always saw the light the way it always was.