Lux Absio Bervatum

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sagan's Thoughts on Love

Listening to Contact, there was this one section I thought was especially insightful:
She was sometimes amazed at what she was able to do and say in his presence, because of their love. She came to admire him so much that his love for her affected her own self-esteem: She liked herself better because of him. And since he clearly felt the same, there was a kind of infinite regress of love and respect underlying their relationship. At least, that was how she described it to herself. In the presence of so many of her friends, she had felt an undercurrent of loneliness. With Ken, it was gone.
She was comfortable describing to him her reveries, snatches of memories, childhood embarrassments. And he was not merely interested but fascinated. He would question her for hours about her childhood. His questions were always direct, sometimes probing, but without exception gentle. She began to understand why lovers talk baby talk to one another. There was no other socially acceptable circumstance in which the children inside her were permitted to come out. If the one-year-old, the five-year-old, the twelve-year-old, and the twenty-year-old all find compatible personalities in the beloved, there is a real chance to keep all of these sub-personas happy. Love ends their long loneliness. Perhaps the depth of love can be calibrated by the number of different selves that are actively involved in a given relationship. With her previous partners, it seemed, at most one of these selves was able to find a compatible opposite number; the other personas were grumpy hangers-on.
What an interesting way to think of yourself, as a gestalt of all your past selves with each of them actively contributing to your overall emotional state. Your contentment might actually depend on satisfying as many of the "sub-personas" as you can. And being aware of their needs.

Yet another reason why I think it's good to keep a journal. By re-reading the journal you can remember what your past selves cared about. For me, being healthy seems to hinge on keeping more things in my head than can really fit at one time. That's why I have to employ brain prosthetics like Evernote and my moleskines (soon to be Leuchtturm1917s though). Like, I know exercise is important. It helps me regulate everything about myself better. But sometimes I forget why it matters and the rationalizing creeps in and next thing I know I haven't gone gym in several days and then it's a downward spiral until I get sick enough of my own idleness that my will reasserts itself.