Why the Lover Whispers Sweet Nothings

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by gendanken, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. thefountainhed Fully Realized Valued Senior Member

    Forget the romeo crap; it is another discussion.

    Representation without appeasement....

    Take this scenario:

    A female chatting with a man she finds sexually attractive keeps touching her breasts.
    --- I wanted that example.

    Better one is high temperature as a result of a fever. It is a damn sympton-- a presentation.
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  3. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Damn sypmtoms secondary to some cause, you bloody moron.

    ....without either an appeasement or repulsion...

    *either* appeasement or repulsion, negetive or positive with either desire spurned or satisfied. You've neglected shit.
    Where the hell are you going with your examples?
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  5. thefountainhed Fully Realized Valued Senior Member

    You are far too stubborn
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  7. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    But I seriously cannot believe you don't see what I'm talking about.
  8. thefountainhed Fully Realized Valued Senior Member

    Of course I see what you are trying to say, but that only makes sense if the sympton is the sole product of the 'disease'. In order words, no other so called diseases have like symptons. Else, one must not necessarily group.

    Besides, appeasement by resorting to fantasy or romance is very fucking different from the subconcious presentation of this 'disease'.

    You keep streamlining and diverting in an attempt to 'win'; get a bloody grip.
  9. water the sea Registered Senior Member

    I suggest to look at the matter from the POV of discourse.

    Namely, we are born into a certain society, and there, certain patterns of self-representation and action exist -- we can call them *discourses*. We learn certain discourses before we are aware of them, some other we learn deliberately. We don't really invent anything, we compare ("What would XY (whom I think highly of) do in this situation?") and improvise ("In regards to XY's actions, I will now do this ...").

    Now the question is *why* we take a certain discourse, and not some other. What is this choosing (" ") based on?

    Here, we can dig deep into psychological explanations for motives and preferences, and eventually discover certain complexes that may guide one's behaviour.
    I'll leave it at that for now and focus on the discourses.

    What is the dominant love discourse in modern popular culture? The hopelessly romantic love. Few songs, books and films deal with happy loves. It is dowrnight expected that loves will end bad and grow sour -- while at the same time it is hoped that they may turn out well. What an ambiguity.

    How did it come to this? I propose Minnesang to be the main source of this discourse of the hopelessly romantic love.

    What was the love discourse before the Middle Ages, before the arrival of the Minnesang? If we look at the love song in the Old Testament, the Greeks, the Romans -- what do they have in common? The impression I got is that the man eventually got the woman, or already had her.

    Summing up the lectures I had in German mediaeval literature, I can say that a major difference in the social organisation of the court life happened around 1100, esp. in Germany and France. (We concentrate on court life, as they courts set the trends in social life, values, art ...) And with this, the courteous love, the Minnesang blossomed.

    In most of the Minnesang love songs, the man never gets the woman. He is a knight who worships his lady, who is a married woman. He does noble things in her name. He sighs for her, fights for her, dies for her. He is happy if she ever even looks at him. He can never get her, as she is married and unattainable. She is of a higher social rank than he.

    Such was the case, as the knights and traveling Minnesänger, who were the authors of this poetry, could not marry above their rank.
    However, in those days, authors didn't just write poetry -- this poetry was ordered and supported by the royals and other rich nobility.

    It has long been strongly believed, up into the the middle 20th century, that the love in the Middle Ages was indeed such as the Minnesang love songs describe it.
    On further research, this myth is being uncovered, and new, more plausible connections made.

    The nobility of that time had certain rules, a codex of noble behaviour. Courage, defending the weak, strife for peace, chivalry, modesty, keeping moral rules, minne (the curteous love) -- were the virtues. For centuries, these virtues were looked upon as real, as if they were indeed practiced and strived for at all times.

    But, a closer historic look at court life, an indeep study of the love texts revealed a different picture of court life: cruelty, trickery in wars, blackmail, lack of etiquette, cruelty of the persecuters, political murder, robbery, rape.

    The noble codex was an *utopic self-idealization of the court*. -- Cervantes pointed at this in his "Don Quixote", but to little or no effect. Centuries passed, believing the court noble ideals to be real, and millions sighed for the "good old times". The love discourse as presented by the Minnesang rooted itself deeply into the European spirit.

    However, centuries passed, the social organisation of life and love *changed* - while the courteous love discourse (originally being nothing but a lot of hot air, actually) *remained*.

    So when today an insecure lover, a lover not being sure of himself loves, and cannot get the woman (or thinks he cannot get her), he finds a *suitable* picture for his insecurity in the love discourse provided by the courteous love. And this discourse is very well present today, since we have such a good overview of history and knowledge, we learn it in schools, we learn it in films, the books we read. That old flame is being kept alive -- as it is a flame of the "good old times".

    The insecure lover immerses himself into the imagery of the knight, sighs, gives himself fully into that metaphor -- and then, probably mainly because he follows the ideal of the knight who never got the woman -- really never gets the woman.

    It is self-sabotaging behaviour, based on the choice of the wrong discourse.

    This discourse of the hopeless romantic love is wrong inasmuch as it is an anachronism. But, that it indeed is an anachronism, was discovered rather late in the course of human history.

    I think that the psychological explanation of the sickly lover and his sufferings has merit; but it suggests that it is more or less all his doing. I suggest to explain the phenomenon of the sickly lover with the choice of an anachronistic love discourse -- as humans indeed cannot be given full and complete responsibility for the choice of the language they speak. We cannot choose the country or the time we are born into, neither do we choose our native language and our native love discourses.
    To explain everything in a strictly psychological manner, seeing the individual as cut off from the society he lives in, seeing him as a stand-alone phenomenon is too atomistic.
  10. Jenyar Solar flair Valued Senior Member

    Discourse! That's the word I was looking for! Ah, the heady days of Derrida and intertextuality...!
    Could it be because the role of the knight hasn't changed much, but the role of the woman - the classical "damsel in distress" - has changed so much that she can't be identified anymore, and the knight feels out of his depth. Even to the point of insecurity, where he wonders if the damsel is supposed to come rescue him!

    I think the traditional discourse is in tension with the modern one, and a sufficient replacement has been formulated yet. With feminism and empowerment on the one side, and chivalry and masculine ideals on the other, the lover is simply lost in the fray.

    Now the lover whispers sweet nothings because he has nothing to say...
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2004
  11. water the sea Registered Senior Member


    Yes, and this is where the anachronism shows.

    If we agree that we think and act in scripts, and the traditional discourse of the hopelessly romantic love is such a script, then what takes places in such a relationship is a result of acting on such a script. Reality is being bend so that it can be pushed into that mold. However, that mold is old, but the social structure is not the same one as in the times the mold was cast -- so we inevitably arrive at the point where "romantic love" doesn't make any sense.

    As for the insecurity: We are all insecure in some view. What makes the difference is how we deal with this insecurity. Which script or discourse to choose? We can give it the shape of the hopelessly romantic love. We can give it the shape of negativism. We can say Carpe diem! and jump into new experiences ...

    Of course, one thing leads to another, and we may find ourselves cought in a vicious circle of a past decision.

    Certainly. Ad this is where the educated, those who are aware of the various discourses, can do better at finding a way. It once more comes down to the personality of the lover.
  12. Jenyar Solar flair Valued Senior Member

    ... and their definition of love.

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