All Fallen Leaves Should Curse Their Branches: Some Thoughts On Love And Loss.

October 22, 2017, by Ely Pierce

“Love is giving what you don’t have, to someone who doesn’t want it.”  -Jacques Lacan

World’s Greatest Dad

There once was a father and daughter who loved one another very much. One year as a fathers day gift the young girl gives the father a gift of a novelty mug with the words, “World’s Greatest Dad” hand drawn and artfully printed on the side with a big “#1” beneath it. The father hugs his young daughter warmly, thanks her and the next day takes the mug to work with him. When he arrives at work he sets the mug out on his desk and proudly displays it. His coworker Roy arrives and asks him about the mug…

“Look at this lovely gift my daughter made for me,” Says the father, “Isn’t she the most amazing and talented little girl?”

Roy replies, “Well its a lovely sentiment if your on about those kinds of things, but i’m more interested in the facts…”

“…What do you mean?”

“Well, theres no evidence that supports the claim that you are the ‘greatest’ Dad. In fact I’m certain I could find evidence that supports the contrary.” Roy promptly reaches into his pocket and presents his phone. “Look here, not only can I easily find empirical data that supports the claim that there are better fathers than you, but also here’s a video of a little girl playing Mozart on a grand piano to an audience of the queen of England, so your daughter is not the ‘most talented and amazing’ as you also claim… so either you’re a fool, she’s a liar, or both!”

Roy is a bitter asshole, but of course he is technically correct. The mug itself is not valuable. The material used to produce the cup is cheap and common. And to anyone else who isn’t the father or the daughter it is meaningless and unimportant. But it was not the intention of the gift to offer factual truths. It serves as a reminder of a lifelong bond. It represents something much deeper. It represents a commitment, a belief to which Roy can only recognize as a meaningless delusion. But to the father and daughter it represents a lifetime of joy and sacrifice.

Love is not an object that exists on a material landscape. Love is the light that illuminates so we may see and interpret the material objects in a meaningful way. But love itself, is not inherently meaningful. It is the force behind meaning, the action that informs meaning. When we are in love we see meaning in everything, we can’t help it. And when we are without love, we cannot help but see everything as meaningless.

Every Lover Is A Politician

At the heart of any lawful institution is one goal not often given credit for its loftiness. “Justice for all” is actually a deeply romantic sentiment. Laws that men pen into existence as if every courtroom were filled with sorcerers speaking in ancient tongues to conjure into reality magical governing bodies, bending the universe to our will. The law itself is not inherently meaningful, but rather it is its intention and its effect that is recognized as meaningful. The law is an attempt to articulate justice. Justice as an abstract and moving target. The irony being that the law is always unjust, no matter how lofty the intentions. But without these attempts to articulate the abstract we would not be able to recognize the abstract at all. In essence, it is imperative that we continue to fail in our pursuit of justice in order to recognize its importance, and its impotence.

In this, every lover is a politician. One who exists somewhere between what is and what can be. Recognizing the harsh practicalities of every day reality and balancing that alongside a hopeful maintenance for a vision of endearing beauty. It is only when we can observe and allow the object to be fully flawed and fully divine, that we can serve any purpose at all. One without the other is waste and vanity; Practicality without hope, or hope without practicality. To idealize the “significant other” or to limit their capacity to change.

Tuning in to love is a delicate balancing act, of which “falling” in love is often seen as a failure in balance. But it is the failure and the falling that drives the momentum forward and becomes both the promise and the impossibility of balance… of which it is our charge to live, thrive, and find our footing in this messy juxtaposition.

Thanks for reading! 🙂