It all started with a conversation. I was talking to my friend Bernard a day before the oh-it’s-that-day-again Valentine’s day. For some of my long-time companions, Bernard included, “February 14th” was the phrase that must not be named, a verbal equivalent of the notorious antagonist in the Harry Potter series. So, when we arranged for a luncheon get-together that afternoon, I reminded myself to speak only of safe topics, for the meeting to be an amiable one.
There was, however, something different about Bernard that day. Sporting a maroon T-shirt and black Berms, with his precious Iphone in his right pocket, my friend of more than 5 years seemed upbeat for a day that he so dreaded. In fact, he hardly tried to disguise his delight as our conversations were dominated by his previous flings and, more importantly, how he has found himself the best date on 14th February, 2017. And it was a blind date.
Apparently, there is an online service that matches users with a date. Bernard registered, and was elated that he was going on a secret rendezvous with his beauty (Bernard actually has above average looks so this metaphor was inserted purely for my pleasure) in another 24 hours.
This encounter with a friend who has found little luck with relationships got me thinking about love itself – what exactly is love about? In this day and age, it turns out that Google and YouTube indeed have all the answers. A quick search on YouTube, and I discovered a video explaining the history of love in over 15 minutes. The video provided an insightful explanation of how love does not have a pre-determined structure, and it has undergone a plenitude of changes since the conception of humankind.
I was, however, more interested in one’s desire for love – what makes Bernard so happy when he realised he was going to meet a random someone on Valentine’s day? Perhaps it is true that all of us have in ourselves this desire to be loved, and this desire is insatiable; we yearn for our friends’ love, we crave the love of a special someone, even when we have many who already love us. An inescapable fate that humankind has to resign to, this desire for love is a quality that defines us as a species. This realisation struck a chord in me because it helped me to understand just how lyricists felt when they penned the lines “in a world filled with desires…”.
As I was looking through the courses offered by my university in Spring semester, I came across a course titled “恋愛学” (Renai Gaku), or “Relationship Studies”, that piqued my interest. I read the synopsis, and found out that it is actually a field of study that attempts to quantify love and help us understand the various phenomena in relationships via statistics, numbers, and science. I thought to even have such a course planned, structured, and offered by a tertiary institution is a testament to what I illustrated in the previous paragraph, but it was hugely amusing that humans would do whatever they can to achieve more certainty, even if it means applying principles of logic and rationality to a field that is arguably inherently illogical.
Love is an amazing thing, and I have seen it wave its magic wand countless times. It is the impetus for one to stay up late and help another with his or her work, the motivation for one to scour town just to satisfy the food craving of another person, the reason why one can throw his or her body in front of a bullet to save a loved one’s life. But fellow human, I would like to remind you that love is around you. You are loved by a group of people who would do anything to make you smile. As you search for your other half, don’t forget to look to the sides and thank all who are cheering you on. Understand that, and I think you understand love.