Future of (lesbian) love
As said before Western nations of love are intertwined with different historical concepts of love, all these Western concepts have a common feature: tragic notions of love, beginning with Aristotle's concept of tragedy and the tragical familial and partnership relations.Yet I propose (lesbian) love as a peaceful happy creative democratic and thoughtful vision.
Namely, lesbian concept of love does not follow Aristotle notion's of love, Christian notion of love as mother's blind devotion to her son and her son's sacrifice for his father, troubadour's notion of unfulfilled and unconsummated love due to unattianability of the loved woman, Shakespeare's tragic notion of love where both partners involved die (commit suicide because they can't be together), Rousseau's notions of unequal love of a heterosexual pair Emile and Sophia where Sophia serves as uneducated mother to her husband and his children, Freud's transference (triangle) notion of love where partners are haunted by their father's presence, defined as the superego and thus forcing partners into the repetition of their primary family roles and pattern.
Lesbian love pursues the joy and satisfaction of (women's) sexuality which offers pleasure and fulfillment to both women involved. Lesbian love involves mutual respect of wishes and desires, respect for each other's intelligence, emotions, spirit and body, it values reciprocity, two-way communication, personal growth, freedom, creativity, openness, democracy and equality.
We are against Aristotle's notion of love form because we disagree with his notion of family and life that promotes inequality among people and especially among sexes. As we read his Nichomachean Ethics, books VIII and IX he explicitly tells that man is above woman and children and they all need to obey him just because he is a man and not according to his merits. He also promotes and puts oligarchy and royalty above all people. In his opinion only upper class and royalty can serve as role models in the artwork which could teach ordinary people most important life lessons, catharsis through empathy and compassion and which we should even reproduce by seeing it on the stage.
The same inequality between sexes promotes Rousseau in his book Emile or on Education in book V. where Sophie is destined only for role of mother and wife of his husband Emile, not to mention Thomas Aquinas most notorious example of women's inevitable submission by saying that women are by nature deficient and misbegotten and last but not least Freud's Bildungsroman (novel of education) which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the male protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age).
There is also a notorious book by Denise de Rougemont,Love in the Western World. If we could summarize his message into a thought it would be with his own words: The Westerners way of learning things is by and through suffering (and mostly in connection to religious suffering, especially as he argues for the gnostic and cathar beliefs of purity, goodness and truth and in context of Mary Magdalene). If that isn't the most consized version of Westerner's way of thinking I don't what it is. Is it also an echo from an old Egyptian, old Jewish, old Greek and Buddhist way of thinking? But do we really agree with these since we know all that is aimed at disdain for this and now earthly existence towards some kind of (more)enlightened but nonexistent, non-real spiritual afterworld as they try to convince us and we can attain it only through faith and belief?
By studying history of spiritual and religious theories and practices I found out there has been only one spiritual thought that praises what is 'here and now' as sacred and that is Shinto religion (but the fact is that Shinto religion has been also behind Japanese pride during the WW II. Thus the only ancient spiritual thought that could have any validation for us is marked with ugly history that has nothing to do with sacred and worshiping life, gentleness, nourishment,solidarity, freedom and democracy). We try to pave a new way that Westerner's hasn't known yet. The way is to take care of our everyday, ordinary relations and interactions. This is what matters the most: how we talk, act and do in the most common and everyday interactions with all beings, humane, animal and even plants.
Our vision stems from the Nussbaum's thoughts about love in the western world. For instance in the third chapter of her Upheavals of Thought, Ascents of Love (The Transfiguration of Everyday Life: Joyce, Democratic Desire: Whitman), she presents love as something that has not only to do with going upwards on the love ladder, as presented in Plato's and St. Augustine work on becoming an impenetrable shining rock, but also downward, as presented in various works of literature, especially in Joyce's Ulysses, (a love story between Molly and Leopold Bloom), Whitman's democratic desire for equality, compassion, and reconciliation of the sexes in all areas of everyday life, (from politics to marriage), Proust's In Search of Lost Time, Swan's Way, (a love story between Albertine and Marcel), and Beckett's Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnameable. Instead of having love only as soul-based, striped of bodily passionate love, which makes man dormant to his own desires and consequently also to his lover, as Plato and Augustine complain, or seeing a lover only as an interest-(object)based fulfillment of his appetites without true and mutual fulfillment (Kant), Nussbaum shows that love is as much upward abstract,in a universal and soulful way as it is downward by concrete (sexual) partial and bodily experience; that spirit is as important as flesh and both are sacred.
That is why Nussbaum keeps saying that love in a modern world is free, democratic, individual, mutual, (reciprocal), sensual, erotic, and compassionate, reparative love.
And besides love and sexuality Nussbaum puts a great deal of emphasis on another important emotion; she calls it the central theme of society, compassion. In Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions, Nussbaum makes an experiential argument for emotions as judgments of value. Starting from Aristotle’s account, she considers compassion as a painful emotion directed at another person’s misfortune or suffering. She then unravels the cognitive structure of compassion. The first cognitive requirement of compassion is a belief or appraisal that the suffering is serious rather than trivial, the judgment of size. The second is the belief that the person does not deserve the suffering, the judgment of non desert. The third is called the eudaimonistic judgment: this person or creature is a significant element in my scheme of goals and projects, an end whose good is to be promoted. »Compassion makes thought attend to certain human facts, and in a certain way, with concern to make the lot of the suffering as good, other things being equal, as it can be – because that person is an object of one’s concern. Often that concern is motivated or supported by the thought that one might oneself be, one day, in that person’s position. Often, again, it is motivated or supported by the imaginative exercise of putting oneself in that person’s place. I have claimed that, other things being equal, the compassionate person will acquire motivations to help the person for whom she has compassion.« (Nussbaum, 2001: 342).Compassion is linked with benevolent action.
For Nussbaum, a central challenge for society that wants to cultivate a broad and appropriate compassion would be to produce people who can live with their humanity, who can surrender omnipotence (i.e. awareness and understanding that we are not the only one here and that not everything needs to revolve around us all the time but that t-here are also others. Essentially, this means that we know how to limit ourselves and that we drop emotions, such as possessiveness, envy, jealousy and that people we love have also time for themselves and their interests, hobbies and friends besides us although we are someone's partner, daughter, friend etc.). For Nussbaum, compassion includes the thought of common humanity, which should lead us to be intensely concerned with the material (also bodily) as well as emotional, mental and spiritual happiness of others.
Love, sexuality, reciprocity and compassion are the most important alongside with proper communication,freedom and upbringing.