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     _____________       _/_/     | | \ \          _/_/     _____________
    |  ___________     _/_/       | |  \ \       _/_/       ___________  |
    | |              _/_/_____    | |   > >    _/_/_____               | |
    | |             /________/    | |  / /    /________/               | |
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    | |      c   o   m   m   u   n   i   c   a   t   i   o   n   s     | |
    | |________________________________________________________________| |

           ...presents...        Modern Love
                                                      by Trammel

           __//////\   -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc-   /\\\\\\__
                    __      Grand Imperial Dynasty      __
 Est. 1984   \\\\\\/ cDc paramedia: texXxt 403-02/14/2006 \//////   Est. 1984

  ___    _   _    ___     _   _    ___       _   _      ___    _   _      __
"There's no sign of life; it's just the power to charm."
-David Bowie, "Modern Love"

                            /// --- x X x --- \\\ 


I am sitting drinking coffee.

It is early afternoon and the sky is clear. 

It is cool sitting here in the shade.


There is a sensation located in the very middle of my chest...

A beautiful middle-aged woman walks by me towards her car...she is wearing
tight white pants and a tighter white sweater...she smiles at me from behind
smoky, square sunglasses.

Punk rock girl sits at a table on the other side of the window...she notices
me looking at her and she smiles...her boyfriend is pulling napkins from out
of the dispenser.  He notices me and quickens the pace of his movements.  He
sits between us, ensuring that he is blocking our line of sight.  Each of us
pretends none of this is happening.


I think of the girl that I helped with her tasks.  We sat close to one another
on the sofa.  I could feel her bare arm against mine.  The way that she moves
and talks and the sugar cookies she brings me when we go on that one, long
walk through rain forests, swamp bogs, and rose gardens complete the
impression.  The way she looks at me makes me feel special, important...
unique.  And when we part she is sad.


There is a sensation that is located in the very middle of my chest...

                            \\\ --- x X x --- ///


      What is love?

      There are many types of love and the word itself can be used to express
a sublime feeling of goodwill towards a kind-faced stranger, all the way up
to, and beyond, the emotionally charged compulsion a soldier experiences as he
sacrificially throws himself upon a grenade, his brothers-in-arms looking on
in slack-jawed astonishment.

      But, let's stick with the notion of romantic love.  This is a little bit
more specific, but not by much.  Here too, there are many varieties and
notions of what this word means and no matter how much effort is spent trying
to specifically define it, we cannot.  Even efforts at defining the borders
within which anything that exists can be called love is a difficult affair.

      Let's try.

      Conventional wisdom says that the purpose of romantic love is to
experience the company of someone, to whom you feel an attraction, for as long
as is possible.  If and when this attraction wanes, for one reason or another,
then we say we have "fallen out of love."  Notice the wording of the
previously quoted phrase.  It uses the word "fallen."  Almost as if to be
experiencing the sensation of love is akin to flight or, at least, floating
above the ground.  In other words, love is a major emotion and, by extension,
something that could also be called a _peak_social_experience_.  But, the
emphasis is placed upon what "you" are feeling.  Most people would say that
you aren't in love unless you have this feeling of having "fallen in love."

       No feeling of a _peak_social_experience_ = "no love".

       What brings on this feeling of a _peak_social_experience_?  Scientists
have shown that when we describe ourselves as being "in love" our brains are
being flooded by elevated levels of oxytocin, dopamine, norepinephrine and
phenylethylamine and this experience can mimic snorting a rail of crystal
meth (increased heart and breathing rates, dialated pupils, and sweating).
Still though, another question remains wagging its finger in our faces.  What
is it that triggers our body to start kicking its dust up like this?

       Freud was one of the first to break our primary motivations, as a
species, into two distinct driving forces, Eros and Thanatos; the love (or
life force) and the death force.  He believed that we were pulled between the
interplay of these two forces.  The Thanatos was responsible for and ensures
that the older generation "get out of the way" of subsequent generations and
is responsible for self-destructive behavior.  The Eros works as a
counter-force to Thanatos -- speaking from a species-survival oriented
viewpoint:  it is what pushes us forward; getting married, raising a family
and doing the things necessary for the propagation of our species.

       So when we combine physical manifestations with metaphysical theory, we
are left with a definition that says love is merely a bio-chemical attraction,
combined with cultural and societal norms whose only purpose is to increase
the chances of survival of the individual's DNA and, by extension, the larger
society's chances of survival.

       But we are more then a mere collection of primal animal and
bio-electrical forces.  And while these things may play major roles in our
experiences of what is called love, there is another contributing cluster of
factors -- our minds and their volitional forces; our unique experiences, our
perceptions and interpretations of our environment, our free-will, our
individual personalities.  All these things interplay with our
neurotransmitters and cultural memories.

       Psychologist Dorothy Tennov, first introduced the term "limerence" in
her book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love published in
       Limerence is a state of affairs in which one or both persons in a
relationship not only expect sex but also the reciprocation of feelings and
actions popularly associated with "being in love."  It can be considered
infatuation, compressed and realized.  The expectations in this case are of a
highly-charged emotional nature - the perception of "falling in love" again.
For some, these feelings become irrational and, even, obsessive.

       Tennov's research showed that limerence can last up to about 18 months,
but typically lasts for only a few.  Either it is replaced by other feelings
(genuine friendship exclusive of sex, an exclusively sexual relationship,
disappointment / hatred, a more resilient form of love, etc.) or it ends when
one or both parties, for one reason or another, quit participating in the
tit-for-tat nature of this style of relationship.

       Remember:  limerence is highly dependent upon the act of reciprocation
to continue its existence.

       It's self-centered.

       It's rigid.

       It's consumption-oriented.

       It's dependent upon another person's actions for its existence.

       I feel limerence is what most people are thinking of when they think of
love.  Sure, it might be considered a stepping-stone on the path towards love.
But, I don't think it's the ultimate form of love.

       In the end, love (as it is commonly understood) is an ever-evolving
thing that can come in as many unique and diverse varieties as there are
individuals in existence and, although the word itself may be difficult to
precisely define, what is undeniable is its existence and what must be
understood is the relative validity of each person's interpretation of it.

       Having made this concession though, it must be said that for most of us
our current understandings of love are feeble and unrealistic.  By the time
most of us realize this, it is too late.  Some of us end up in loveless
marriages that were motivated by something that was unable to endure for the
long haul.  Or perhaps for some of us, love is something fragile and
ephemeral.  A feeling of euphoria that is also unable to endure past the first
sign of trouble on the horizon.

       In my opinion, truly authentic forms of love have been slain by recent
forms of popular entertainment, with its necessity to compress and dramatize
reality, people are left with warped perceptions of how people fall in love
and the unrealistic expectation of "living happily ever after."  Popular
psychology is equally culpable.  With books like _Women That Love Too Much_,
and _Co-dependent No More_, Dr. Phil and others, with their subtle bending of
perspectives to garner the ratings of the target retired, divorced, or
stay-at-home person audience, are also to blame for the popular notion that,
"My love should be perfect, effortless and always fulfilling."  Pop Marketing
completes this vicious cycle.  In between sessions of TV shows, while we
drive on the freeway, wait in line at the grocery store, read the newspaper,
and, even, use the restroom, we are being targeted and spoken to by removed
manipulators that know exactly who we are, what we want and how to leverage
that to their benefit.  They can tell this just by virtue of the fact that we
are somewhere that they are.  Every moment of our lives is being invaded by
these subtle influences that contribute towards telling us that love is
something that it isn't.

       In Toto:  love is caring, but not so caring as to not stand up and
kick some ass at times.  So, what happens when some angry bitch or some
abusive asshole get a hold of this philosophy?  Well, let's just call it a
variation on the "my love knows no bounds" idea.  In other words, "my love
knows no bounds...except for here...oh, and here...oh and here....oops,
almost forgot about this boundary."  These boundaries can be twisted and
perverted to include anything that the definer, selfishly and capriciously,
insists they are.

       Love is all about possession, status, ownership and control...unless
it turns into selfless love.

       Robert Sternberg, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University and
former IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University, has
proposed what he calls the "Triangular Theory of Love."  In it, he proposes
that love can be explained and categorized according to the combination of
three main elements; intimacy, passion, and commitment.  The more elements a
relationship has, the greater its ability to survive, and Sternberg has
devised a table naming the types of relationship possible according to which
combination of these elements it contains.

       A relationship, in the vast majority of cases, starts off with passion,
usually in the form of emotional, physical attraction -- limerence.  Passion
combined with intimacy results in romantic love (example_guy #1:  (while
achieving orgasm inside the object of his affection) "I've never lasted this
long before!").  Passion combined with commitment results in fatuous love
(example_guy #2: "I know this is crazy and everything (`cause we just met
tonight over by the roulette table) but let's boogie on over to the Elvis
Presley / Buddhist / Drive-Thru Wedding Chapel and GET MARRIED!").  Intimacy
and commitment devoid of passion is companionate love (example_guy #3: "Hey
honey, would you mind popping this pimple on my back.  I can't get at it.")
-- there are more.  But the most important one, in my opinion, is the one
Sternberg calls consummate love.  This is the only type of love that
contains intimacy, passion and commitment.  Sternberg considers this the
ideal type of love relationship although he also points out, not only is it
the hardest type of love to achieve but it is, also, the most difficult to
maintain.  "Without expression even the greatest of loves can die."

       Because, in the end love is not a sensation or an experience, in order
for it to have any lasting meaning or validity (meaning that it is able to
withstand hardships and not just survive but flourish), it must be a verb.
There must be truly selfless actions that accompany it, actions devoid of any
ulterior motives.  It is during this that one can say they are "being loving"
and not just "in love."

       True love isn't selfish. 

       It's selfless. 

       It's adaptive. 

       It's contribution-oriented. 

       It exists independent of anything outside of itself.

       So, after having arrived to an ideal definition of love, we are left
asking ourselves, "Is it worth it?"  Ah, the million dollar question.  Will
you ask the audience, will you ask a friend, will you depend upon the process
of elimination?  And sure, it's okay to say that there is more then one
horseshoe crab in the ocean, and that you will eventually step upon love when
you least expect it, but then you realize that while possibilities are
endless, your own personal length of time treading across this planet is not.
You will grow old.  Do you want to be alone at the end?  Are you sure?

       In the end, all other factors, being equally valid at the level of
"essences," doesn't it just come down to us being selfish?  We don't want to
grow old alone.  We want to perpetuate our DNA.  We want someone with whom we
can share our problems, victories and experiences.  We WANT someone that will
be there for us.  We might kid ourselves about being mature enough to not
really need anybody else or that the love that we have with this other person
is generous and open.  But is it really?  When the chips are really down,
don't we all really just want someone to replace our positive, parental figure
and provide us with the feeling that we are important, individual and worthy?

       Here's a BIG reason people fall in love: to have a family.  Think about
it.  Whenever you start something a good practice is to ask yourself, "Where
will this end up?"  So, let's say you fall in love with someone.  Then what,
well the next thing you know you're finding their toothbrush to one side of
your sink, even after they've left for the day.  Then you're looking at
apartments together, or she's moving in with you or you're moving in with her.
Then boom, she's pregnant even though she told you she was on the pill and you
decided not to wear a rubber and she wrapped her legs around you and wouldn't
let you pull out.  Boom!  You're looking at sonic-grams and deciding what to
name it.  Then you've got a full time job that fucking sucks and another
little responsibility on the way.

       Or fuck that, you've got a chance at making a beautiful life with a
beautiful person, someone that will allow us to be a responsible,
well-adjusted member of society.  Nobody trusts the eternal bachelor and the
old spinster gets burned at the stake for witch-craft.

       But, hey man, it's all a crap shoot and in the end you're fucking
around with heaps and heaps of powerful shit; stuff that involves other
peoples' lives.

                            /// --- x X x --- \\\ 

She fidgets with her chopsticks and stares out the window as she says,
"Love is something that you give out.  The more you give out the more will
come back to you.  But, sometimes things turn out that make you feel as
though you shouldn't share your love with others.  Then you become lost and
feel like there is no love in the world."

                            \\\ --- x X x --- ///

       Ah, but take off your lab coat of apathy and set down your sliderule of
jaded bitterness and a different understanding is possible.  Perhaps love,
like all other things, is transient and mutable.  I mean, what did you expect?
What were you taught?  Did you watch your parents fight like dogs and cats
growing up?  Who was in charge?  All of your experiences growing up, religion,
television, pornography, stories, fairy tales, histories, the news,
conversations you might have had with your friends, the music to which you
listen.  All of these things influence your attitudes and perceptions.

       Ensure that you aren't coming out of a bad relationship, or tired of
seeing all your friends pair up, or just plain lonely, or that you aren't
going through any periods in your life that are best tended to while solo.
It's at these times, when we are vulnerable, that we make decisions we regret.
A UFO could drop out of the clouds spilling Bigfoot into your balcony carrying
a sign reading "I HAVE THE ANSWER!!" and you would believe it.

       People decide for themselves who they will love.  And what criterion
do they use to make this decision?  It is still, mostly a question of
compatibility.  I see the mentally-handicapped holding hands on the bus,
dirty, busted down junkies rolled up together in an embrace inside a filthy
sleeping bag, dressed up well-heeled couples smiling as they carry their
beautiful children into a church on a sunny day.  The world is a big place and
I believe there is someone for everyone.

       Some people have proposed that it is when you are open for it, but not
actively hunting for it is when it is most likely to happen.  This is the "go
with the flow" viewpoint that says when you are ready the partner will appear.
Does it work?  Maybe, but that doesn't seem to stop people from actively
tinkering with the process on their own, speed dating, matchmakers, Yahoo!
groups, internet dating services, local alternative newspaper classified ads,
Craig's List, chat rooms, message boards, singles' groups based off of a
person's interests, hobbies, and viewpoints.  But, what about a person that
doesn't fall into easily categorized groups?  The answer to this is that there
is someone for everyone, even if that someone is an anarcho-capitalist,
macram‚ weaving, hang-gliding, Zoroastrian, gun enthusiast.  This person has
someone that he/she can relate to, so long as they both have the capacity to
be human...or at least human in the same manner.

       Now go and find someone else like this.  Don't settle for someone
simply because, they are good looking, or smart, or stylish dressers or say
witty things.  Although, these things are good (and enough in and of
themselves for some), they are the icing on the cake, the glitter sparkling
around the substance.  The substance is, once again, their ability to be
human in the same way that you define "being human."

       The idea behind love is that you find someone with whom you have a
great deal in common.  Let's lay aside for now the variety of conventional
wisdom that says "opposites attract."  I think we've all seen what happens
when opposites end up getting into a long-term relationship.  At best, there
is a grudging respect that mirrors love only in its ability to hang on and
not give up.  But, this is a kind of love that settles - Sternberg's notion of
companionate love in the best case scenario.

       What a terribly complicated thing.  Like all things though, the hard
things are the ones most worth doing.  If you wanted to do something like be a
marine biologist, Hollywood stuntman, learn Sanskrit, or mine your own
silicon, wouldn't all of these things carry an inherent risk?  Couldn't a
scuba tank rupture, a car flip over and kill you, maybe Sanskrit is too hard
for you abilities, maybe you'd die in a cave in deep underneath the Earth's
crust somewhere?  Do you see where this is going?  All things come with a
risk, no?

       Is it difficult to find a good match for yourself?  Yes.  But, it
really depends on how selective you are.  If you were a biker how hard would
it be for you to pick a leather jacket?  How about if you were a dentist with
a Harley he only takes out of the garage during the months of July to August?
How about a homeless man living on the streets in Chicago in January?  So, you
say, "a-HA! It's Eddie Murphy's Saltines joke."  Maybe, but although metaphors
and similes are helpful, love isn't a leather jacket.  The explanation or
analogy isn't the truth or the experience itself.  It is merely the proverbial
Zen finger pointing at the Zen moon.

       And what are the criteria that most people use to measure their
attraction?  Sure, it's easy to mock the flip-flop-wearing, "No Fear"
mud-flaps crowd and say they are shallow because they judge one another by the
size of their biceps, wallets and tits.  But are others that much different?
Won't a guy wearing a set of foam rubber Spock ears propose just as easily to
a girl in a Lara Croft outfit at a Gen Con convention?  Aren't the emotional
states each one of them is feeling equally valid or invalid?

       The question seems to become:  how much of a catch are you yourself?
The more attributes that you have that are in complete alignment with the
popular perception of what attributes a "catch" has.  Are you attractive?  Do
you have loads of money?  Are you comfortable in social situations?  Are you
intelligent?  How about emotionally stable?  Do you have a fantastic sense of
humor?  Do you love long walks on the beach at sunset?  Do you like chocolate
ice cream?  Will you watch football games or marathon sessions of
_The Simpsons_ or _Star Search_?  The more questions you can answer with a
"Yes," the higher your chances are of finding a mate.

       It's the law of averages and probability. 

       After this, it is mostly a question of tactics matching, the one to the
other.  In other words, a nerd will mostly likely do things that another nerd
will find attractive.  A person that is into going to the gym and then
spending the night watching reality TV, can most likely do no wrong in the
eyes of a potential mate that is the same way (read:  they have the same kinds
of personalities).

                            /// --- x X x --- \\\ 

"Love is a four letter word that must never be spoken," he answers

He settles back into his chair and then looks at me thoughtfully.  He has
worked hard the last few years to work his way up to middle-management.  He
works six days a week, sometimes seven and he spends his free time watching
sports and playing video games.  He has a wife and a son, another child is on
its way.  He seems content and calm.

"It all comes down to what a person's expectations are.  Think of it like
this:  the American Dream is the world's biggest hypocrisy.  Why?  Because,
the American Dream is really about being content with what you have.  If you
take away a person's dreams, what do they have?  Really good sleep.  So, do
you understand?  Do you see how not having a dream is the ultimate dream?"

He looks at me with a straight face for a few moments before busting out into

                            \\\ --- x X x --- ///

       It comes down to what you expect.  How realistic are your notions?  If
your notions are unrealistic, is the fantasy sustainable over a long period of
time?  Do you want it to be?  Do you feel that, sometimes, it's an act of love
to fight?  How about being silent and attentive?  Have you considered some of
the pitfalls?  Do you share enough of the same viewpoints about the IMPORTANT
things?  How about money?  How about sex?  How about raising the kids?  Oh
yeah, did you want kids?

       Think deeply on what it is to be selfless and independent at the same
time, learn what it is to be patient, forgiving and make mutual sacrifices.
Realize that sometimes love is ugly, bitter and hateful.  It is getting
through these times that we get to the flip-side of the coin that is love.
And love does have two sides.  To ignore this is to fall into error and lose
your way.  You must be able to respond with an action when you hear sentences
that begin like this:  "I don't have the...", "I have a secret I need to share
with you...", "Would you forgive me if I told you...?"  You must be able to
answer with, "Here take mine...", "I love you no matter what you tell me.
Your secret is safe with me," "I forgive and forget what has happened."  You
have to be able to do these things even when you don't want to.

       You must pick someone that can do the same thing for you -- "Without
expression even the greatest loves can die."

       Also, be on the lookout for taking this too far.  A significant other
that is physically abusive, belittles you, or attempts to use you for what you
can do rather then for what you are is something else that must be guarded
against.  There are many people in the world, which for one reason or another,
are unable to reciprocate love.  It is in these moments that you must be on
guard against love that is primarily physical or lustful in nature.  A bad
relationship can ruin your life for years, in exactly the ways that you have
been warned about.

       Be independent.  Be sure that you maintain your individuality.  Be sure
that when you change it is only in positive ways.  Leave the rest of yourself
as it was.  Never let another person change you.  If you were to change into
something different than what you were when you met another, how can that
person claim to have fallen in love with the original you?  If someone else
insists on changing you, refuse them and break up.

       Honesty and authenticity are also of major importance.  Without this,
there can be no trust and without trust it is not long before the most
passionate of relationships fall into decay and self-implosion.

       But, many factors play against this.  The chief of which is that we
are unable to understand that love is not something TO BE maintained --
meaning that it can't always be the way we want it to be.  Love isn't a
Victorian English garden meant to be bent to our will and signify our conquest
of nature; it is a chaotic, fluid wildflower garden blooming in a box canyon
somewhere in the desert.  People argue, discoveries are made, crises occur
that cause strains upon relationships.  It is during these crises that love
changes from something romantic or emotional into something that can be said
to be deeper...more authentic.  It is at the moment that love undergoes the
transformation from romantic to selfless that it can be called Love with a
capital "L."

                            /// --- x X x --- \\\ 

It is late at night or early in the morning, depending upon your personal sleep
sleep schedule.  His birth name is not Dustin but it is the one that he took
when he arrived in America with his parents from Taiwan.

He is 33 years old and has been with is girlfriend Patricia, off and on, for
over seven years.  This last stretch has gone on for over three years.
Patricia wasn't her birth name either, but you get the picture.

Patricia isn't sitting at a table outside on this hospital's patio.  She is
inside the large, brown, stucco box holding their sleeping, two-hour old
daughter Kayla in her arms.  He tells me this as he sits smoking a cigarette
and contemplates the enormity of this night in his life.  He tells me that
seeing her give birth to their daughter Kayla has made him appreciate his wife
more.  He understands her suffering; a mother's commitment.

We talk for a long time.

"Most people keep quiet," he tells me in broken English, "It's frustrating.
You don't understand why she sad and you want to know.  The secret is to
talk."  He flicks some ashes from his partially burnt cigarette onto the
ground.  "When we have problems we go to the temple.  It's good because you
don't have to go every week, only when you want to or if you have problem."
He trails off for a moment and stares into a distant window on the fifth floor
of the hospital; the neo-natal care floor.

The sky is nothing but feathery clouds alight with angel-fire now and, with
the innocence and intensity of a caveman, he says, "Safe feelings, find peace
there.  Remember, why."

                            \\\ --- x X x --- ///

         ___________    BLATTA---NON     EST---VACCA     ___________
         \         /      \    \_            _/    /     \         /
          |A G L A|        \     \          /     /       |A G L A|
          ||\/X\/||         \    EST_   _EST     /        ||\/X\/||
          || \./ ||          \       \ /        /         || \./ ||
|\        ||_3 4_||        /|NON     cDc     NON|\        ||_3 4_||        /|
| -------._((___))_.------- |EST      |      EST| -------._((___))_.------- |
|\/)(\/\   [ x x ]   /\/)(\/|   \     |     /   |\/)(\/\   [ x x ]   /\/)(\/|
|(YHVH) >A  \   /  O< (AHIH)|    \   EST   /    |(YHVH) >A  \   /  O< (AHIH)|
|/\)(/\/  _ (' ') _  \/\)(/\|     \   |   /     |/\)(/\/  _ (' ') _  \/\)(/\|
| -------' ) (U) ( '------- |      \  |  /      | -------' ) (U) ( '------- |
|/        ||  .  ||        \|    DAEMONSEMEN    |/        ||  .  ||        \|
          || / \ ||                ELIGERE                || / \ ||
          ||/\X/\||                                       ||/\X/\||
          |A D N I|          the original e-zine          |A D N I|
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