The Sunday Lao Tzu: on love

“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.”


Love is not supposed to be easy. It’s not a universal cure-all, a panacea for the ages. Love will not give you a happy ending. Love does not mean that everything is going to be all right.

At the same time, love is not a disease, an infection, a shot through the heart. We could say it’s a form of madness, a consensual delusion. But if love is not returned, or rejected, or ignored, then the pain is very real, and as sharp and deadly as any blade.

It is impossible to write dispassionately about love – which is kind of the point. We all need companionship, the feeling that we are valued and treasured for the things that we are. We all need comfort and passion, support and shelter, finding in another person those things that we lack, or that we need.

Love is, simply put, the moment when you find someone and know, without doubt or equivocation, that you are supposed to spend the rest of your life with them. Through hardship and heartbreak, through joy and delight, in sunshine and rain. If you can, then love has served its purpose. If you can’t, then there can only be pain. That primal, simple truth has been subsumed in a backwash of sentiment and retail opportunities, and it simply isn’t needed. If you love someone, and they love you back, then they don’t need a token of your appreciation once a year. They know.

But it’s always worth telling them, just to be certain.


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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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