We fall in love with somebody in part because it is in our nature to do so as part of the continuation of our human species. Aspects of romance may even be found in the animal kingdom, where mating sometimes involves some kind of selecting and then grooming behavior, which is a practical aspect of mutual caring. Some animals care for their young together and are mates for life. What we seem to do differently has to do with our special capacities to think and feel and express ourselves with each other as well as in the ways in which we hold some unions, such as marriage, to be sacred.
From a biological point of view, mammals do seem to have a sensory program for attraction. Researchers have found that some animals attract mates by releasing a special kind of scents, known as pheromones. It doesn’t really work that way in humans, though. Still, our basic smells and our added ones, in the form of perfumes, are often part of the spell that we cast to attract each other. Certain physical characteristics of build and shape are often part of the attraction magnet that brings one type of person to another’s attention. This can vary a lot from culture to culture, where thin may be in for one, wide hips or strong legs may do it for another people. It is said that the eyes are windows to the soul. What power there is when one person opens up to another in a contactful and loving gaze inside.
The role of the fool
In the courts of old, kings and queens had their ministers and their advisors — and they had their fools. It was the fool’s job to entertain, often in stressful situations. Only the fool had the silent authority to speak the truth, though indirectly, to the monarch. This was because it was generally agreed that the fool was, well, a fool. It would seem that the successful fool was someone with a mastery of the double meaning who is able to perceive and address the multiple layers of social reality, but in such a way that no one is offended. He does this, always, at his own peril.
In love, the fool follows a slightly different course. While in the court, the fool pretends to mistake one thing for another; in love the fool willingly mistakes his lack of success as a deceptive promissory note of love yet to be
What does love mean?
Readers may take pleasure in noting that the word “love” comes from Old English ancestry (the root word is lufu) and is akin to the word leave, as in “by your leave,” meaning, with your permission. Forms of the word came to mean that which is pleasing and dear, leading to the use of love more or less as we now know it. Very closely related is the root word for libido, referring to the energy of sexual desire.
Here’s a quick summary of the fools quandary.
The anatomical essence of love is closeness, in body, mind and spirit. As the fool moves towards the beloved, body and mind are caught in the spell of his own nature to join and procreate and take up housekeeping. All common senses are short-circuited, rendering the fool unable to make sense of his internal monitoring system, including his ability to distinguish his feelings from the feelings and intentions of the other. He thinks about and longs to spend time near to his beloved, causing him to fall-in to a state of habitual desire for psychological contact. The whole thing feels so good that the fool declares such a pleasing and dear person to be his true love.
Sometimes we must risk being the fool to let love flow in and through us. When love flows in both directions, then the risk was well worth it, and the fool is found to be the wise one indeed.