The dog sighs, her eyes and freckled snout twitching as I type. Curled up beside me, Maggie the Wonderdog is lost in dreams that I can only imagine. What creatures is she pursuing across the green expanse of our lawn? What delicious treats await her triumphant return to the porch with a warm rabbit between her teeth? Sometimes I envy the carnal simplicity of a dog’s life. If only our own were so simple.
Or perhaps, our lives really are as simple as the nocturnal twitching of a beast longing to fulfill it’s instinctual lust for blood. I wouldn’t be the first person to suggest such a thing. To be completely honest though, I can’t accept an animalistic, or instinctual core to humanity for one reason alone. Love. Sorry Nietzsche.
No, I’m not talking about the flashy neon L-O-V-E that they spelled across the field at the Superbowl. I am talking about the irrational, painful, completely counter intuitive love that exists in the lives of every pair of lovers, and every parent in the world. Yes, I do mean EVERY, even the ones that choose to ignore the calling of it and indulge their selfishness.
There can be no rational explanation for love. No Darwinian principle would result in the survival of a genetic trait that led one to sacrifice their own well being for that of another, with no hope of reciprocity. And at it’s core, isn’t that the very definition of love? The willing loss of self for the benefit of another.
Love is such an enigma. How, and why were we created with such a urge. An urge that seems beyond all reason, as anyone that has ever been smitten with a love for another, or held an infant in their arms can attest. There is something beyond reason about love.
Oh if only the libertines were right! What fun life could be without any obligations, or sacrifices! Only pure nihilistic pleasure to indulge in day after day. Yet, that strikes me as the perfect description of hell. Maybe it’s the Catholic in me, or some sick self flagellating desire to deny my own fulfillment.
But I don’t think so.
No, even though I have wrestled with theology for almost 20 years now, I can’t help but to KNOW in my heart that the only way to achieve happiness is to give it away. This is a lesson that I forget on a daily basis, and one that I come back to time and time again.
Here is my life. Take it, it’s yours.