The Catastrophic Event of Falling in Love

Hegel and Kant inspired Marx. But those philosophers cannot be considered influences of Marx until Marx was well, Marx as we know him. Hegel and Kant on their own are two of the greatest philosophers to ever live, though we would never imagine them as an inspiration for someone like Marx until he had emerged. A Schrodinger’s cat sort of thing, is the cat in the box? Well you cannot know until you open it. The phenomenon of falling in love is quite the same, according to Zizek. The event of falling in love may be haphazard though as soon as the event happens it is perceived by the faller that their entire life has been leading up to that moment in time. Much like we equate the influence of muses to the producer once the producer exists.

So assume you are leading a happy life, perhaps a good job, amazing friends. Though you may not be in love. Until one day you go to reach for a book at the same time as someone else, and BAM. All of a sudden your cosmos has shifted. Perhaps it does not always happen this suddenly. Though the moment someone falls in love, everything they perceive becomes contingent on that moment. The illusion of I have been waiting my entire life for you. Love is traumatic for the course of our life as we know it.  Every moment of the past leading up to that specific moment in time. The future impossible to think of without that person in it.  It is a cosmic catastrophe for all who experience it.

We fear that cosmic shift. Modern philosopher Zizek claims this fear is helping humanity regress to pre- romantic times, when families were the matchmakers and the love event is becoming more and rare. This time the matchmaker is dating agencies and the internet: Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, Her, and others. All of it to fill the subconscious void of the cosmic shift. It allows us to date efficiently and get all the emotional benefits of a relationship out of a fleeting meetup. We desire love, but fear the drastic changes that come with it. The avoidance of falling in love is the same as wanting the things without the price we must pay for it. We want to eat a hamburger without the calories, we desire to feel love without the fall.

Perhaps this new phenomenon matches a superficial consumer culture. The call for Minimalism as we overindulge in all we can. Can the question of how much do we need to possess to make us feel fulfilled transcend into the way we form relationships, specifically romantic encounters? What do you think?

By Jorie Dybcio

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One thought on “The Catastrophic Event of Falling in Love

  1. This is a very interesting idea! I agree with you that the feeling of “I have been waiting my whole life for this” is more apparent when you feel you have fallen in love, but I think we should expand it. I don’t think this phenomena has to be specific to love. Without getting too ~philosophical~ about it, every event of our lives is leading up to the next moment. Sometimes I am so aware of how things in my life came to be, but most of the time I don’t think about my day to day existence that way. It takes a special moment to link everything together and encourage me to feel the pulse of my personal history.

    My thought is this: maybe we need to put less emphasis on singular special moments (i.e. love at first sight) where we feel like the culmination of our life’s events find their meaning, and trend towards finding our entire life more meaningful. I have the sense that we’re all subconsciously waiting for something big to happen to bring everything together.Perhaps we have lost a sense of rootedness in our daily lives and we’ve sequestered those feelings to particular kinds of scenarios.

    I think it would be interesting to practice that lovestruck mindset in moments of routine or simplicity. Have you just had a good cup of tea or a conversation with a friend? Your whole life lead up to that moment. Have you just had a fight with your parents or significant other? Your whole life lead up to that moment. Have you just woken up and brushed your teeth? All of the events in your life have lead you to be the person you are in any action you take or any situation you respond to. It doesn’t take a lashy glance into a stranger’s eye and the acceleration of our heartbeat to make us feel like our lives have lead us somewhere. We can chose to feel that way in any circumstance, and that means no one event can monopolize our feelings of meaning.

    As you say, sometimes our lives feel haphazard, and when we get those moments of clarity we are afraid to lose the cause of that, least we lose the feeling of meaning in our lives all together. I wonder if we would feel less adrift in the first place if we connected ourselves to the path of our lives more regularly. We have the ability to revere the course we’ve taken to get where we are, even in the most mundane circumstances. If we did this I think we would feel less like we are being tossed around moment to moment and more consistently like we are connected to our own story. Maybe we would be more resilient in the face of the moments that are currently perceived as catastrophic. Maybe we would stop looking in all the wrong places for that grounded feeling. Maybe we would be more fulfilled with less.

    What do you think?

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