Here is a snippet of the second essay from a new series over at Spare Change News. I am covering new terrain, and exploring big themes, such as lies and truth, love and hate, betrayal and trust, forgiveness and revenge, etc. (The first piece, which was about free will versus destiny, can be read here).
The following series of essays have been written while teaching ESL (English as a second Language) classes to adult students from all corners of the world (this writing exercise began last month, and continues to be a part of my classes). Each morning, the first class – that began this project – was required to answer one of two questions. At first, I was the one to ask the questions, but I quickly turned it over to the students. Their questions ranged from simple, everyday life things, like, “Why are you studying English?,” to complex, philosophical questions, such as, “What are the limits to freedom?” The class would write for an hour, and I would join them. We would listen to the Gypsy Kings, U2, Coldplay, Tango, and much more. Once we were through, we would read our responses aloud, and then have a conversation about each person’s analysis. It was humbling to hear from people from Saudi Arabia, Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and elsewhere. All our answers were motivated by a desire to convey an honest, open response, and everyone had an earnest desire to share with the others. As mentioned already, I continue to carry out this exercise with my new classes. It is a thrilling experience, and when I am away from the classroom during the weekend, all I can think about is this: “I can’t wait to be back at work on Monday, so that I can write with all of my students, and then share!”
As mentioned already, I continue to carry out this exercise with my new classes. It is a thrilling experience, and when I am away from the classroom during the weekend, all I can think about is this: “I can’t wait to be back at work on Monday, so that I can write with all of my students, and then share!”
What is love? This question has been asked throughout the ages by essentially every civilization. Indeed, philosophers have spent decades dissecting the idea.
Now, even scientists concern themselves with the question: what is love? Not only do scientists trouble themselves – doctors and engineers, teachers and students, peasants and farmers – ask the same question: what is love? All of them are anxious to know.
When it comes to the scientists, they remain puzzled. Despite our advancements in technology and science, as well as our hyper-modernism, the question remains hidden, a riddle that only jesters and those filled with laughter understand. This very fact, that it can’t seem to be understood, except by the jesters and jokers (not the most brilliant minds), makes it all the more powerful. Of course, most of us can understand romantic love, and I presume many of you in the classroom have experienced the sensation of falling in love. Perhaps some of you have even fallen in love at first sight. And, yes, this is possible, because our beloved scientists have been able to explain the chemical reasons behind falling in love at first sight. Based upon their findings, instant love is like a cocaine addict getting a fix. But instead of a foreign substance, a harmful one at that, love is caused by the immediate release of oxytocin, vasopressin, and dopamine into the brain. These chemicals are associated with centers of pleasure in our mind. While our dear scientists have done a superb job in providing the causal evidence behind falling in love, they still fail to truly pinpoint the profound mystery that causes one individual to fall madly in love with another.
Just as our beloved scientists have difficulty unpacking the mystery, they also fail to tell us how and why people fall out of love. People, over time – as we know – fall out of love. It collapses just like that. This can be particularly painful if one person remains in love, but the person has, for whatever reason, turned off his heart. It can be a sad occurrence, and I hope that none of you ever go through that sort of heartbreak. It can be so severe, that you might find yourself convinced that you will die. But even if you have or will – and my sincerest condolences if this happens – experience heartbreak, love is so powerful that human beings can overcome the loss, move on, and fine new love.
Read the entire piece here.
|Gustav Klimt, The Kiss (1907 - 1908)