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Metaphysical Boundaries

Chapter 3 part 1
"I love you, you love me…"

©06 Levite
Metaphysical Thesis
Web Published on The Media Desk

      [Note: For the purposes of this paper (which is not a Christian Apologetic piece but a non-religious examination of the topic 'metaphysics') the words 'divine' and 'supernatural' and so on will stand in for any and all variations and perambulations possible for any extra-natural, non-human, spiritual, or otherwise intelligence or entity with regards to its role in the mundane world. The author’s own definition of God is best defined as ‘the uncaused first cause’ alluded to in Aristotle’s works. Thank you]
      [Further Note: No disrespect or slight of any named Deity is intended. Superior Beings of many faiths are named in this discussion and all are treated as they are presented by their followers at face value. No judgments by the author are made or intended to be inferred from this work.]

As an Academic Work In Progress-
portions of this paper may be revised at any time.
Some sections of this work deal with decidedly adult themes although those sections are intended as academic discussion, they may offend some persons who wish and are looking to be offended. You have been warned.

      If you listen closely you can still hear the pained shrieks of people who had blissfully forgotten the 'Barney Song' had ever been written.
      For those of you who were in a Turkish Prison for much of the nineties 'Barney' is the big purple dinosaur of indeterminate species created by schoolteacher Sheryl Leach in the late 80's that every preschool kid in America was totally enamored with from the age of about two up. The show first aired nationally on PBS in 1992 and that's when we all first heard the slow, mellow, sickeningly sweet strains of:

I love you
You love me
We're a happy family
With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you
Won't you say you love me too.
Sheryl Leach - 1987
"Barney and Friends" closing theme.

      It is a comforting message to a four year old, you have to admit that.
      The show has wrapped up its first decade, so they must be doing something right.
      In any case, THAT is what we're going to be looking at in this edition.
      We've seen the "Good, the Bad, and the Worse". Now we'll deal with the totally opposite side of the coin and look at the idealistic ideas the purple dinosaur sings about.
      But we won't do it for four year olds.

      No indeed.

      This will be a decidedly adult discussion. And yes… sex … is a part of the picture no matter what anybody who believes the 'Advice for the Young Bride' propaganda piece we'll talk about later.
      Besides, what's a discussion of adult idealistic love without some really sappy love songs and even a few barely veiled sex songs. Like…

I ride my bike, I roller skate, don't drive no car
Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far
For somebody who don't drive
I been all around the world
Some people say, I done all right for a girl

Well, I got a brand new pair of roller skates
You got a brand new key
I think that we should get together and try them out you see
I been looking around awhile
You got something for me
Oh! I got a brand new pair of roller skates
You got a brand new key

Melanie Safka- Schekeryk and Peter Schekeryk 1971 Album: Beautiful People. Neighborhood Records

      You don't have to be a PhD in Freudian symbolism to get what she is talking about in the song. And coming hot on the heels of the 'Summer of Love' (1969) the song was more of a hit than it really deserved to be.
      Some people thought the song was from the fifties. Others are sure it was a remake from something released back in the Depression. No. It was written and performed by a child of the fifties who came of age in the sixties. Melanie even appeared at the original Woodstock Festival, so her 'flower child' credentials are very well established.
      The songwriter said she didn't mean anything by it, it was just a fun song. And we'll leave it at that.
      For now.

      In the popular media in America and Western Europe at the end of the Twentieth Century, The emotion of Love and the act of Sex are almost inseparably intertwined.
      Yes. You can Have Sex without Love. And it is possible to have Love without Sex. But according to much of popular TV, they are all but interchangeable, as with the term we'll discuss in a minute 'making love'.
      In Greek, sex would be Eros (the root word for erotic) and Agape would be best defined as the Love of God for People. Somewhere in between is Phileo, the famous Brotherly Love for which a town in Pennsylvania, and Greece, were named. And Storge is somewhere in between at the level of 'puppy love'.

NOTE: For the current discussion we will only deal with the willing consensual act and emotions between individual adults of similar mind. Forcible acts of any vein may be looked at in a later chapter.

      Let's run through some really broad generalities, then we'll get to a couple of specifics.
      If you look at country music, say, the songs in Chapter two, "You never even call me by my name" and "Harper Valley PTA" for example, Sex and Love may not even be in the same dictionary- unless somebody is cheating that is.
      If you look at TV talk shows of the Jerry Springer vein, Sex is just something that happens, is more easily available than fast food, and the only repercussions are those that can be bleeped out after the nine second delay. While Love is a weapon.
      If you look at the women's magazines, Love involves chocolate and you'll have more luck finding it in its true form if you have a certain handbag and some really great shoes. Sex is never good enough and is something that only women with designer lingerie really enjoy.
      If you look at rap/ hip-hop music, Sex is something women owe to men, and love is only something you talk about when you misspell it.
      If you look at popular fiction, Love is almost unattainable because it has been turned into an ideal, and sex involves popping buttons and heaving bosoms.
      If you look at the TV news shows, Sex will kill you, but go out and do it anyway, as long as you are in touch with your 'metrosexual' side and Love only comes into the picture when you're talking about who gets custody of the kids in court.
      If you look at the prime time TV shows people are supposed to be talking about both around the coffee pot at work, Love has nothing to do with family relationships and everything to do with manipulation and Sex is the only reason to hire a handyman to work around the house.
      If you look at the bottom line: Everybody is out having sex with somebody other than the one they are supposed to be in love with.

      Historically, in both fiction and the real world, Love and Sex are two different animals. Yes it is nice when you are in love with the person you are having sex with. It is only under the ideals of religious commitment do they seem to merge into one.
      There have been, and still are, legal restrictions on who is supposed to have sex with whom. In some places, it was legislated that you could only have sex with the person you happened to be married to. They defined the relationship, yet the lawmakers could not mandate love.
      Many marriages, especially those that are featured on TV talk shows, are based on love, yet one or both of the partners are seeking fulfillment outside because the other partner either cannot or will not 'interact' with the other one. There may be love in the marriage, but sex isn't part of the picture.
      Think about the comedic toast: "To our wives and girlfriends - - - may they never meet."
      Then the exact opposite. Besides 'adult' movies and novels, casual sex is as much a part of the modern world as it was in the courts of medieval Europe where most of the palace intrigue was about which royal was 'straying' and what their private agenda might be for it. (Some things never change.) Except in the current age people aren't usually sent to the headsman, instead they may end up in court… which can be almost as painfully devastating.
      And then there is the hilarious hoax "Instruction and Advice for the Young Bride" supposedly published in 1894 which admonishes the woman to "GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY." (it is all caps in the source document) While the document does reflect the overblown Puritan and Victorian sense of modesty and false piety and may well be based on something from that period, it appears to have been written more recently. In this writer's absolutely worthless opinion: the article smells of at least the 1960's or 70's, if not somewhat later. The language and usage of terminology, while stilted almost to the point of being archetypical of the times is a bit over the top to have come from the 1890's and even moreso from a preacher's wife of the time (including the 'catch phrase' as mentioned above in all capital letters). And it doesn't appear to be in the female voice it is accredited to. Also, some of the usage is more modern in flavor when referring to the sex act and even turning off the lights. For example, the term 'babble' wasn't usually applied to adult conversation, being more commonly used for infants, and the word 'sex' itself is used so much you wonder if the writer was seeing how many times they could insert it into the text.
      One thing that does ring true to the time is that nowhere in it does the writer advise the bride to go to the police and have her husband arrested. In the 1890's it is unlikely he would be charged with rape or some sort of spousal abuse even if she did call the authorities, although he might get a stern lecture from the police captain. At the time, sex was the presumptive right of the husband and the duty of the wife to provide it, no matter her feelings on the matter. In fact, in some jurisdictions the laws are still on the books that give the right of access to the woman's body for sexual purposes to the husband to use at his discretion. However in most cases those laws have either been revoked or superseded by more enlightened legislation.
      All of that aside, it does give you a very good feeling for the Victorian attitudes of the time. In the article; the purpose of the marriage is to provide children to the family and security to the wife and the husband is simply the means to support it all. His wants and needs beyond supper and a clean shirt are irrelevant. And it is surprising how accurate, if fictional, this portrait of married life was and in some quarters, still is. If you look back at those times, it is somewhat amazing the species survived. Somebody was evidently doing it, and we can only hoped they enjoyed it
      The Young Bride article is presented here in its entirety for your edification.

Moving on...

      The physical act itself is fairly simple. It can be, and has been, described in terms of basic mechanics: pressure, friction, duration, linear reciprocal motion, lubrication. There's nothing inherently romantic in it. Yet a good portion of human literature, art, music, and even law have been devoted to it throughout history. And we'll touch on (pun intended) them as we go.

      A quick overview of much of erotic and romantic literature points to a thin balance between a celebration of the physical act for its own sake and a commemoration of the emotional connection that comes from it, or at least from hoping or wishing for it. Or some derivation thereof.
      Even religious writings deal extensively with both. Usually praising one aspect and condemning the other outside of certain guidelines.
      It is worth noting here that the majority of Orthodox and Conservative works in the Christian world are far more prohibitive than anything found in Scripture. Many church fathers from several denominations denounce the act even within the walls of a recognized marriage as somehow weakening one's relationship with the Lord. This flies directly in the face of evidence from the Bible that the marital relationship between a man and his wife is to be celebrated as a very gift from God. For evidence we turn to The Song of Song's which was Solomon's:

How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice! Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon. You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.

Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.

Song of Solomon 4 : 10 - 12, 16

[NOTE: The Hebrew word translated into English as 'sister' is more correctly translated as something on the order of 'soul mate'. It indicates a more intimate and intense emotional connection between the partners than the terms used to this point in the book- 'darling' and 'lover' or even a slightly wistful 'beloved'.]

      This author knows for a fact that some pastors have held this book up as an example of ideal love and denied the fact that the two people involved in it ever did more than hold hands while riding in the king's silver carriage (described in some detail in Song chapter three). That hardly explains the detailed descriptions of the nuances of the lovers' bodies and the recipe for caressing a woman in bed in chapter two verse six: "His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me." How that lines up with the 1897 Easton's Dictionary summary as "It is an allegorical poem setting forth the mutual love of Christ and the Church, under the emblem of the bridegroom and the bride" is one of those mysteries we may never be able to solve.

      The two people in Song of Solomon liked each other A Lot and spent a great deal of time enjoying physical love with each other….. While Married!

      OK, we shall ignore the fact that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, his relationship with this one, a Shulamite (identifying only the region of her birth) who may or may not have been Abishag who had been King David's geriatric nurse, and most likely was not the Queen of Sheba…

Sidebar: the Bride's identity has been the subject of endless conjecture and debate for at least the last thousand years among Biblical (and Jewish and Islamic and Historical and...) scholars both serious and half-baked and we are no closer to solving it now than we were then. This current work will not address the subject other that to say that NOWHERE in the poem itself or Biblical works both in the Canon and outside of it is the woman identified other than to say she is of dark(er) skin relative to Solomon's complexion. The Bridegroom does make several Egyptian references which evidently the bride understood which does give some credence to her being of Egyptian origin, but that is pure speculation. We Don't Know who she was, and it doesn't matter. At all. She was a lovely woman, and Solomon had her undivided attention. We'll leave it at that.
… but is the subject of the discussion of how so many people, Martin Luther included, seem to have been embarrassed by the inclusion of the Song of Songs in the Book of Books. Some have even gone so far as to ascribe Divinity to the bridegroom in the Song removing him and his bride from the mortal relationship altogether and in fact discount the character's discussion of the physical relationship in the text altogether!
      Many early Catholic writers including Origen and Chrysostom as well as many Calvinists on the Protestant side spoke long and hard saying that the poem was entirely allegorical with the Bridegroom as Christ and the bride was the Church. Echoing earlier Jewish teachings that the Bride was the Synagogue. Some of their works become so fanciful and so heavily cloaked in mysticism you have to wonder if they ever actually READ the poem out loud end to end.
[See Canticle of Canticles on]
Nowhere in Scripture does the unspiritual mind tread upon ground so mysterious and incomprehensible as in this book, while the saintliest men and women of the ages have found it a source of pure and exquisite delight. That the love of the divine Bridegroom should follow all the analogies of the marriage relation seems evil only to minds so ascetic that martial desire itself seems to them unholy.
Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition) introduction to the Song of Solomon

      The good people behind the Scofield passage seem to have had a sense of humor about it at any rate.

      We have gotten far off track once again. But this time it was actually worthwhile.
      The point being that the Religious, and even the Spiritual can co-exist with the Romantic and the Erotic as well (within some limits of course) to the benefit of both.
      Now before somebody takes this and twists it all around… No, it is not being suggested that deceased porn stars and prostitutes should be immediately nominated for Sainthood for their efforts to bring those that contributed to their efforts closer to the Church. No.
      Gypsy Rose Lee and Lili St. Cyr were both Terpsichorean Ecdysiasts of note, but to suggest anything religious in their performances other than their chosen use of obvious gifts of beauty and talent to their own advantage is stretching things much too far.

"Sex is currency. What's the use of being beautiful if you can't profit from it?"
Lili St. Cyr (aka Willis Marie VanSchaack) 1918 - 1999

NOTE: a "terpsichorean ecdysiast" is a stripper.

      And so we come back to St Theresa Avila.
      If you look at the physical and mental/emotional responses, sexual ecstasy and religious ecstasy share a great deal of commonality. Both short circuit part of the brain for a time, and they both expand and simultaneously contract the consciousness.
      From the Saint's writings it is clear that she did experience actual orgasms during her episodes. It is also fairly clear that this was done wholly within the atmosphere of religious fervor and nothing in the text or in the accounts of witnesses even remotely suggest any sort of direct physical sexual stimulation at all. While cases of psychosomatic orgasm are well documented in the literature, during Theresa's time it was unheard of, most likely, a woman who talked about having a real orgasm would be thought to have a 'demon' or some sort of emotional upset. While the cause of the climax was very different, the outcome was the same, and it wasn't a fake one either. Medical research has confirmed that a fake orgasm does absolutely nothing to or for the woman. Only the real thing has real benefits both physical and emotional. And at least in the case of then Sister Theresa- spiritual benefits.

"I'll have what she's having."
Woman in diner, When Harry Met Sally, 1989

      So we have reasonably good documentation that at least in a few cases, the ultimate expression of what most modern people would consider two opposite states have merged into one and compliment each other quiet nicely too.
      Aside from Saint Theresa, there is also Tantric Sex where the Sex Act is part of Religious Expression and under other names it is used for communing with various gods and higher beings. Sex Magic which covers all sorts of things from using the energy expressed in the sex act as a facilitator for various spells, as well as expressing control or submission or whatever while so engaged.
      The Tantra and related aspects come to us from India where they made no bones about it, sex was an intrical part of both their lives and their religion. No, the Kama Sutra is NOT a sex manual, although sex is a large part of it. It is a Life manual and part of its instruction for women so they will be pleasant housemates is that they should learn to play music, arrange flowers, decorate floors and do magic tricks. It also gives advice on social issues and how to obtain influence through... ok- sex with the wives of politicians. Some things never change as the book was compiled between 100 and 500 AD.
      Sex magic isn't just a Wiccan or Voodoo pursuit, but they seem to devote a great deal of effort to it. The practice goes back far into ancient times where the celebrants on certain holy days like the equinox would seek to influence the fertility of the entire world through their labors. The term also covers such things as love potions and spells, which probably dealt more with the power of suggestion and willful compliance free of guilt because they were 'under the spell'.

      And what would any discussion of motivations and accomplishments from sex be without at least a passing look at the Xaviera Hollander and others, male and female, of her persuasion who, like Ms St. Cyr, seek to use their charms for fun and profit?
      Whether or not sex for money (or other real consideration such as influence or a return favor) is the 'oldest profession' is debatable. The term 'profession' means that whatever it is, is your primary duty, it takes up most of your day and is what you do to earn your daily bread. This author's take on it would be that a dedicated non-subsistence-farming class of priests, warriors, and maybe even politicians emerged first. Then the 'working girl' category emerged to give the others something to do when they weren't tending to their other duties. And it is quite possible they all came into being at more or less the same time as people congregated into villages and eventually cities and categories of employment emerged.
      Humans being what they are, of course it would emerge that those that were the best at what they were doing would rise to the top of their particular guild and become fairly well known. Be they warriors, potters, or sex workers. So it happens that one of the most well known of the Prostitute's Trade Guild would end up a heroine in the Bible: Rahab the Harlot. Nevermind what some preachers with some serious hang-ups about all things sexual say: Rahab was, in short, a hooker, and she IS an ancestor of the House of David of Israel, and she is so listed in the Hebrews 11 'Roll Call of Faith': "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient." (NIV)
      Not only did she enable Israel to take Jericho, she ended up in the ancestry of King David and eventually Christ.
      "Kiss and Tell" books and their authors that get on TV talk shows notwithstanding, sex workers are part of the climate of human civilization that usually wish to stay out of the limelight. Always have been, and most likely, always will be. Because if somebody somewhere, is not getting what they need through the usual channels, somebody else will emerge to fulfill that need, for a price, and a certain amount of discretion is usually considered a good thing by both parties.
      Now what would your average sex worker get out of the exchange besides next month's rent? Well. That answer is probably as varied as those that engage in the trade from both sides.
      Some simply enjoy it. Others don't see an option. A few may need quick cash with no strings attached. There are those that are in it for the thrill of doing something 'naughty'.
      We won't here debate the ethics of engaging in what would otherwise be some of the most intimate and personal behaviors human beings are known to be capable of for profit beyond the following. As was mentioned before in this series, IF there is a higher morality than mere survival of the fittest to dictate right and wrong, THEN there may be a justification for someone to pronounce such work as we are talking about as 'immoral'. But if there is not, if man is simply an ape that walks upright, then what's the problem with it? If the latter be true, then right and wrong are purely subjective and your views about prostitution are none of my business and the legal authority of the State to regulate it is based on a lie at worst and a misguided sense of virtue at best.
      Most adults would admit that sex is at least somewhat enjoyable. Those that are still of the mind that all sex is sin (and there are still some organizations that teach that) need counseling and perhaps medication. Now if it is enjoyable, and even, at times, fun, and you can get paid for it, why not? What does it hurt me if you spend part of your day lap dancing, or paying for lap dances, or whatever, as long as I'm not renting the apartment over the bar and am trying to sleep while the music is still thumping at two in the morning? If you are willing to pay somebody to do something best left to the privacy of their own home and they will do it for said price, and do it for the camera, and do it while hanging from circus equipment, what is it to the rest of us as long as the performance doesn't block traffic during rush hour? At least that is, if there is no ultimate right and wrong.

      But, as we have established, it would seem that there is an ultimate sense of right and wrong bred into humans. And the sex act is regarded as having more meaning to us than it does to some members of the animal kingdom. And we have deemed that act as significant enough of a practice to warrant extensive religious and legal meaning being assigned to it.

      Now we shall cross the line back, from the physical side to the emotional side.
      And then go back and forth almost at random.

      Other research has shown that people in love are healthier overall than those who are not. Married men live longer than single men when other factors are accounted for. Some couples that have been together for years seem to develop a 'sixth sense' about the other in spite of significant distances between them and so on.
      The following statement can be made and be held as true for a high percentage of the population: Humans need to love and to be loved.
      Now just why it is true is another matter all together.
      Some would say that the need for love is simply an instinct that results from the subconscious mind's attempt to appease the separation anxiety innate in it due to the weaning of the infant from its mother's breast. Which seems a little simplistic. And it once again reduces humans to the status of half-bright apes who are already three quarters naked and worried about going bald.
      Others would cite ancient myths about how at one time man was a double being with a male and female half and now we seek to recombine into that whole.
      Love has been defined as the purest form of greed, or philanthropy.
      The Greek words are almost worn out and have lost some of their impact. Agape, Phileo, Storge and Eros are used in and for everything from descriptions of fast food chicken sandwiches to the names of Las Vegas type nightclubs. And everybody has seen those 'Four Stages of Love' pictures which show the little kids who grow up together and then walk hand in hand into the sunset. A bit sentimental true, but it does do a nice job of putting wheels under the concept.

Quick Review:
Agape- the love of God for us. Phileo- best friends, brotherly love. Storge- puppy love, infatuation. Eros- sex / lust.

      And then we all listen to the TV and Radio relationship advice people who coach the rest of us through those stages and back again, 'rekindling the fire' as it were.

      And the ways that we love are as diverse. Let's look at a few:
      We love from afar. Some moonstruck young man worships the ground a lovely but unattainable young woman walks on, but he can never tell her. In other places and times this was called 'courtly' love, where the man spent his lifetime, and sometimes gave his life, trying to impress a woman who may never have given the slightest indication she saw him as anything but a hopeless dweeb. And occasionally the roles are reversed, it is the woman in love with a man who for some reason cannot love her back. Some of the greatest literature in history is wrapped around the topic of unrequited love (sometimes spelled 'unrequented love'). Of course the dark side of this leads to stalking and the horrors associated with that when it goes too far. But we'll skip that for now.
      We love animals. And we claim they love us. That will come up in depth during the discussion in a later chapter about 'duck souls'. But it will serve here and now that while some animals develop attachments to various other animals, and people, there is no evidence that any animal has ever loved anybody. Then again. What do we have as evidence that any person ever loved any other besides their word that they do, unless they throw themselves on a live hand grenade for you?
      We love things. Remember President Nixon and professional football? He Loved Football. And while we are quite sure the Washington Redskins (his favorite team) were quite fond of him, and maybe some of the players voted for him, it is probably going too far to say Football Loved Nixon. We stick heart bumper stickers on our cars claiming 'I (heart) wetlands' or some such sentiment. While it is conceivable that a football team might love a president, a swamp can't have emotions either way about anybody. By definition, that would be unrequited love, if indeed you did romantically love a wetland. But then you say you're not in romantic love with the salt marsh. Well then, OK, you're not, is it your best friend? Are you in some sort of puppy love with it? Pray thee tell you are not in 'Eros' with it. We'll go stomp through that swamp later. Moving on....
      Where does that untouchable romantic love we mentioned come to the line for moving to the next step? Is there a real Next Step or is it just a different shade of the same red rose?
      Can you be in all those stages of love with the same person at the same time?
      Well. Yes. Of course. Your husband can be your best friend, while you are deeply in love with them almost to the Agape level, and you still feel that tingly infatuation love once in awhile, and sometimes.... well, it goes into the physical side.
      Some people need the candlelight violins with wildflowers scattered around to be physically romantic. Others operate under a somewhat simpler premise and consider throwing the cat off the bed foreplay. It is almost a standard joke that it is women who want, need or even requires those rose petals on the pillow, soft music, incense and a jewelry appraiser be part of a romantic evening while men... well... usually go along with it on some instinctual level for self preservation.
      The physical act is so intertwined with the emotions most people experience during the act that heterosexual genital intercourse is euphemistically referred to as 'Making Love' or some similar term almost world wide. And it is a much more descriptive term than TV's 'Family Hour Approved' term of 'Sleeping Together'. Face it, if they just slept together nobody would care and it wouldn't make a very good prime time soap opera script would it?
      We won't go into comparing heterosexual physical romance with any other flavor in this work. Suffice it to say that infatuation, romance, seduction and all the other intensities of the emotional relationship exist in all manner of human relationships through all the above stages no matter who is involved.

      And now comes the examination of where true deeply held LOVE (agape) begins and something less ends. And likewise, on that four stage scale, which one is really romantic love?

      Short answer- All of them CAN be romantic love. It just depends on your definition of romance.
      Love and Romance and Sex are not the same thing although they are certainly related in some ways. And in some ways, they're not.
      As in the Barney Song which opened this chapter, love between two 'people', in this case a purple dinosaur and a preschool child, is expressed in a 'great big hug and a kiss from me to you' has some of the same physical expression of adult romance, but with a different intent. At least we hope.
      In many adult movies, the couple on the screen is expressing similar physical expressions, and more, with nary a hint of anything emotional between them. The intent here is simply portraying the mechanics of the act, not the emotion.
      On TV soap operas, the case used to be the exact opposite. They showed the emotions in spades. They painted the tiniest quirk of the feelings with a brush better suited to recoating a parking lot. And seldom, if ever, did they get beyond that 'big hug and kiss'.
      And then later in Hollywood, on awards night, everybody says they love everybody and they kiss each other on both cheeks, usually with even less emotion than that couple in the adult film we just mentioned. And then the next day the stars berate everybody else that was there on talk shows and then file lawsuits against each other for it. And, most likely, at the next awards show two weeks later they are all kisses and smiles again.

      Physical affection would therefore seem to be a symptom of an emotional condition or a response to it, but not the sole indicator of it. Not if we can parade example after example of the disease across the screen in both real world examples as well as those that are either total fiction from the beginning or those that have been 'fictionalized' in some way. But we only have time and space for one or two....
                      ...we might as well make the first one count for as much as possible.

      We'll use the 1947 Miss California Artichoke Queen as our first example.
      She was all things to all people, at once innocent and overtly sexual. And even today you can raise a good discussion with people who have never even seen one of her films about her by asking what they think her primary attraction was. And although they'll admit they know very little about her as a person or an actress, they have an opinion.
      We all have this image in our minds of the sultry movie queen who melted men and celluloid with a glance. Yet there was part of her that was still the young woman at the farm fair who was too shy for her own good.

"She seemed very shy, and I remember that when the studio workers would whistle at her, it seemed to embarrass her."
-- Cary Grant

Marilyn Monroe

      Just the name evokes strong emotions from even this far out. She was in all ways a sex symbol to men and women alike. She was adored and derided, drooled over and spit upon, emulated and mocked. Both during her life and now some forty years after her death. Whether or not she enjoyed being MM is open to conjecture, however, she did understand what it meant to be who she was, and there were times when she played her own celebrity like a virtuoso.
      But to say she Agape Loved JFK and several other high profile men of her day would be to go too far. The fact remains however that she seemed to enjoy physical affection love often and well. And here is also a very good example of where the real world, those documented facts that are open and available to anyone who wants to look them up, and the supposition and embellishment that have given rise to the legend and industry that Norma Jean has become turn into various shades of gray lines intertwined ad infinitum.

      Recently several private conversations have been released which were recorded with Miss Monroe's consent and knowledge. If one reads those transcripts we see a glimpse into the Person behind the Blond Bombshell.

Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.
Marilyn Monroe

      First off, she was not dumb. The Dumb Blond bit was an act. In spite of a limited formal education she was fairly well read and very capable of heavy analysis of herself and her industry and those involved with both. And she looked at all of it with a sometimes very cynical eye.
      Next comes the fact that she knew full good and well what she was doing, and with whom she was doing it on every level. Maybe she didn't know, or more believably, did not Want to know all the intricacies of those on the fringes of Hollywood. Namely, certain shadier types some friends of hers were involved with.
      And then she discusses Sex. Sometimes quite dispassionately, sometimes, with a great deal of passion. She knew every inch of the territory of being a Sex Symbol, and what the job description entailed.

Sometimes I've been to a party where no-one spoke to me for a whole evening. The men, frightened by their wives or sweeties...the ladies would gang up in a corner and discuss my dangerous character.
Marilyn Monroe

      There is more, a lot more, but that will do for this discussion. Suffice it to say that before it read those transcripts this writer was fairly certain most of Marilyn Monroe was an invention of Hollywood and the film media in and around it. Now, it has had other ideas. Yes, Hollywood magnified her star, but SHE invented the woman, the legend, that was Marilyn.

"Fame will go by and, so long, I've had you, fame. If it goes by, I've always known it was fickle. So at least it's something I experience, but that's not where I live."
Marilyn Monroe

"Her work frightened her, and although she had undoubted talent, I think she had a subconscious resistance to the exercise of being an actress. But she was intrigued by its mystique and happy as a child when being photographed; she managed all the business of stardom with uncanny, clever, apparent ease."
Sir Laurence Olivier

      This writer believes that the 'work' Sir Laurence was referring to was her work of being Marilyn Monroe. And now we know, through the conversations, it wasn't as easy to be MM as she had made it appear, until the very end that is.

      Moving on.... yet again.

      We could line up people ranging from Casanova to the latest quasi-celebrity TV talk show affair of the week and come to the same conclusion as we did before our date with Ms Monroe.
      Physical love can be an expression of deeper love. But it, as with friendship, they may not have anything to do one with the other.
      So then why is Physical... aye, Erotic... Love part of that equation when the others are by definition- Emotional only? (OK, when you are in love you DO things and SAY things and so on, but do you do them because you are in love or because you are expected to? That's a bit of circular reasoning we'll leave alone.)
      We'll let the Artichoke Queen answer first:

Before marriage, a girl has to make love to a man to hold him. After marriage, she has to hold him to make love to him.
Marilyn Monroe

      Funny how she did not mention emotional love for her husband isn't it?

      Whether or not Monroe was ever actually In Love with anybody is open to just as much speculation as any other part of her life.
      Whether ANYBODY is EVER actually In Love at any particular time is something else we could talk about.
      The people that study this kind of thing will tell you that even in a long term committed relationship where both parties say they are 'in love' experience a range of emotions depending on all sorts of factors. There are times when they are actually back to that swooning head-rush kind of love they experienced when they were 'falling in love', and then there are times when they are still in love although you may not know it to look at them or talk to them because that that moment, they're in the middle of a knock-down drag-out no-holds-barred argument over something which (more likely than not) is actually rather petty and trivial. The emotional response runs hot and cold. Nobody who is healthy can stay in that 'head over heels' phase for the long haul. Couples who have been married for fifty years invariably report that they are deeply in love, although if you ask their family and friends they will say there have been some rough spots and times when they weren't on speaking terms. The key is that they never forgot that they were in love, even while mad at each other.
      And that's the key to the Agape love.
      When everything else is gone. When Everything is gone- health, wealth, friends, family, everything, the love that remains is that true love.
      And it is true, the only way to define it is that it is the love GOD has for us.
      As Romans 5 : 8 puts it in the NIV

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

      Which leaves all that 'love' that flows freely in Hollywood somewhat lacking.
      Which leaves us all somewhat lacking.

      Perhaps we need an example more of us can relate to before we jump right into the middle of a bit of heavy Theology and wade our way out of it.

I love this bar
It's my kind of place
Just walkin' through the front door
Puts a big smile on my face
It ain't too far, come as you are
Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar

I love this bar
Words and music by Toby Keith
Album Shock'n Y'All, released 2003

      In the song Mr. Keith goes through several things he 'likes', including his truck and his girlfriend. But he makes it a point to state several times that he 'loves' that bar. Intentionally differentiating the level of emotion evoked by the different subjects.
      Let's look at that closely and then pull back to a larger generalization.
      Assuming Mr. Keith is not the owner or manager of the tavern he is waxing poetic about, he has no personal stake in the place as he would with his truck. He most likely owns his truck, or at least he's making the low regular monthly installment payments on the loan for it. It is his as much as any-Thing is. It is probably his primary mode of transportation and has had a great deal of his personality inflicted on it, such as custom wheels or maybe even fuzzy dice on the mirror. He is as responsible for its care and feeding as he would be for a pet. Without him, the truck rusts away unless somebody assumes ownership of it, with a dog, it would die unless the same thing happened.
      We hope that at some point his 'liking' his girlfriend might develop into something a little deeper and eventually become that love those Golden Anniversary couples we spoke of earlier have for each other. At least there, the woman has at least an equal say in the equation and is more capable of returning the emotion than either his truck or dog. But a bar?
      On our scale of love, where would love expressed for a drinking establishment fall? Can you be its friend? One would hope that it wasn't erotic love he was feeling for a building full of tacky neon signs and cheap furniture. Puppy love? Should we even venture the statement that it could be anything more?
      Toby Keith is representing in song a small part of the overall sentiment that we are invoking when we talk about we 'love'... whatever flavor it is at the time. Sort of that Hollywood thing again. But on a smaller, much shallower scale than saying you love America.

      People Love their Country.
      By that we are talking about their Country such as the USA or Canada or India. Not country as in Toby Keith's music.
      Your Country is something where it is reasonable to talk about dying for it, such as in the military during a time of war or national emergency. Actions that warrant medals for heroism under fire, or meritorious service.
      To love the Country is to love not only a big swath of dirt on the planet, but to love the idea of the Nation itself. What it stands for, who the people of that nation as a whole Are. The National Identity if you will. The concepts and ideals that take a bunch of dirt, some buildings and artifacts, and a collection of people and turns it all into a Nation.
      Which comes down to essentially the same thing as your love of God except for two important differences.
      You can see and experience your country. Yes the USA is a concept, but it is also a real physical place with substance. It exists in space over time. You can go see the historic sites and meet the people and visit the halls of power and so on because the country is real and tangible and in this world. The Godhead by definition is not any of those.
      And, the country does not love you back. The country as an entity such as what the Communist Chinese Government once referred to as 'that running dog America' is incapable of that emotion. Yes 'America' loves freedom as a concept and the Constitution as an ideal, you as an individual and not either a concept or ideal. America as a body may love Abraham Lincoln, but exactly what does that mean? What if one person thought that Lincoln was little more than a pretender and a shyster and got what he deserved, would that change the overall statement that America loves Lincoln? Should we put it to a vote?
      On the other hand.
      When you say you love God you are professing a deep emotional attachment to something that is above and beyond everything conceivable by Man as a species. The Supreme Deity DOES NOT exist as we understand existence. By rights if you asserted that it is proper and reasonable for a man to die in defense of that idea you should be involuntarily restrained and medicated as a danger to yourself. However, international organizations of several faiths (Catholic and Muslim most notably) have declared those that do fall in the service of their beliefs Heroes of the Faith and cast them as ranking Saints in Heaven.
      God loved you before you were even thought of. It says so in those scriptures we keep quoting. "God is Love" is a direct quote from the Gospel of John. Yet the Bible also says that "Our God is a Consuming Fire" in Hebrews 12.
      Which is correct?

Part two of this chapter begins with.... "The image of God."
To part two

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