In psychology, it is inferred that in our heads there are tiny little frameworks and plans for everything we do or experience. These frameworks are called 'schemata.' So you have a schema for just about everything and when you find something new, you make a schema of it based on that experience. So, your schema of a black guy, may be a loud and obnoxious ruffian, and your schema of a funeral may be a quiet and sombre occasion of mourning. Needless to say, these schemas usually get drastically changed, because if you ever meet Sidney Poitier, or you ever go for an Irish wake, all expectations in the relevant schemas are pretty much null and void.
However, the one schema that is the most resistant to change, is the schema you have of yourself. There's a little joke about a patient who was convinced he was a ghost. His shrink figured since the notion was so illogical, you could logically disprove it and hence cure the patient. So he asked the patient if ghosts bleed. The patient said no, ofcourse they don't. So the shrink takes a pin and pricks the patient's finger, thus making it bleed.
The patient is dumbfounded. He stands and screams and thanks the doctor profusely. "Thanks doc, I now know ghosts DO bleed!"
The point is, like the joke, we will change our schema of other things before we change our own opinions of ourselves. We will yell and scream and ignore and fight with people who say things against us. But very rarely, do we say, 'hmm, interesting, maybe I am an asshole for cheating on my wife.' And even when we do it's usually ages later, after we've used all our energy on justifying our own actions.
And in a disjointed sort of way, this made me understand the concept of love. The idea that people have written about for centuries and tried to understand for millenia. This grand and noble idea which Ewan Mcgregor described as 'a many splendourous thing.'
But I have now come to see, that love is something incredible only because of it's simplicity. It's power and effect is tremendous, but the action of loving, is so simple you'd probably miss it because it was too dull to be written about in a children's storybook.
I know a couple who are, atleast legally very close to me. The guy is an absolute fucker and I've hated him for years. He is self obsessed, isolates himself, orders the girl around and more often than not yells at her for no tangible reason. He talks down to her and generally mistreats the other people who are supposedly close to him. And like all true fuckers, he is completely oblivious to the fact.
He's been with this woman for 22 years now. More importantly, SHE's been with HIM for 22 years. He doesn't even make a lot of money.
Yet, she will always, with complete sincerity defend him. She will always, in a completely rational way find some way of justifying what he does and why it's ok. Most of the time she blames herself. In fact, I have seen her suppress her own genius in submitting to him, so often, that now, one of the most powerful minds I have ever encountered, cooks dal and does some 40 kakuro puzzles a day. She'll study and understand HIS work just to help him out, so she can channel her intellectual energy in some productive way. And until now it has always baffled me.
But then yesterday it struck me.
Love, is when your schema of the person you love is so close to your own, that you will defend it with the same ferocity that you would defend your own. Love, is when you create a collective schema. It's sort of like the schema a patriot has of his nation. Because it is so invariably linked to his own schema, he would fight and die for it. Because, I believe so strongly in the cause of Arsenal, I will pay more than I have to watch them play, even when there's a rational thought in my head saying, 'Bloody hell, he's got that cunt Eboue on the right wing again!'
I get a lot of shit from a lot of people about how the world is grey and not black or white, and it never fails to piss me off. People will say, 'Ah how can you expect loyalty in a world like this?' and it just strikes me as bizarre. Because, the way I see it, the more everyone gives up and submits to shit like that, the worse 'this world' is going to get. Fact is, I don't think these people love the values they claim to wish upheld, because they don't seem to defend them at all.
Now I won't claim this is some groundbreaking idea, in fact I'm pretty certain it's an old one, but the fact is I've found myself defending a new collective schema one hell of a lot lately, and it's made me pretty fucking happy. And more than that, the couple I mentioned earlier don't baffle me anymore. Instead, I am left with a begrudged sense of understanding.
P.S. I do still hate that fucker and I REALLY hate Eboue. You see, some people just don't deserve love.