I cannot live without air, but I can live without you . . .

Schiele: Death and the Maiden 

I heard the song “vivir sin aire” by Mana the other day on the radio and started to think about how misled people are by two common terms, love and romanticism. Needing someone has nothing to do with love. You can only love that which you do not need. Neither does romanticism refer to love specifically but rather to an artistic movement originating in 18th and 19th Century Germany and England. Here’s the problem . . .

This is becoming a pet peeve of mine. People confusing the fact that they need someone with the misguided belief that they love them. In “Vivir sin aire”, Mana sing about not being able to live without air and without their beloved, even though they wish they could love her less. We cannot live without water or food. That is true. But, if I couldn’t live without someone, how would I ever know that I loved that person? The beauty of love is the constant, daily decision that we make each morning upon waking up that we want to see a particular person, hear her voice, be in her presence. I need water or I will die. But, if I desire a person, how can I desire something that I need. Need is a reflex and is instinctual. There is no merit in loving that which you need to survive. I am not saying that love does not include emotion and passion. But, who ever had passion or desire for something they needed? Who has a passion for water? Nobody that I would want to spend much time with.

Of course, Mana’s lyrics are catchy. They flow and follow a nice metaphor. Sure, the singer could be making the metaphor that his love for this woman was instinctual. Unfortunately, once we act out of instinct then we are no longer loving. We cease to perceive that which is in front of us. We drink without tasting the water. We breath without knowing it. We cease to be human, we cease to love, we let love stagnate into a relationship of necessity and convenience.

Who wants to be in relationship where our beloved loses the ability to choose whether to love us and does it out of need for survival? Weak and insecure people that’s who. These people need to control others, are fearful that if someone had to choose them each and every day that they would move on to someone else. Needing smothers and kills love.

For example, a few weeks ago a friend starting seeing a guy who was a “player”. But she defended him by saying that he “wanted to be in a relationship”. My advice was to never date someone who wanted to be in a relationship. How do you know that the person really wants you or just simply wants to be in a relationship. It’s like being indispensable at work. The company doesn’t fire you because they need you. They don’t love you, you just fill the position. Nothing more.

Last night I was discussing with my poetisa about how annoying it is when people misuse the term “romantic” or “romanticism”. Romanticism refers to the aforementioned artistic movements which generally encompassed a few common beliefs: a belief in the goodness of humankind and triumph of emotion over the mind. The common usage of the term “romantic” though has turned this term into meaning “of or pertaining to love”. But, would you really want someone like Goethe’s Werter to love you? Someone who is suicidal because he can’t be with you? One of my favorite characters in literature is Garcia Marquez’s Remedios the Beauty who finds all of those desperate men after her to be pathetic and lacking in personality.

I love the mind. It makes us great. I also believe in the goodness of humankind, but I seek a balance between emotions and the mind. That is what makes us human: our ability to choose between anger and kindness. What I can’t stand about humanity is when it is needy, when water or air are not enough. And what is worse than being needed? Needing someone to need you.

So if I ever tell you that I don’t need you, but you find me there by your side, it must mean love. I guess I am just a hopeful romantic.

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