I love Nora Bateson; but, I don’t know her so I have to be more precise.
Plus: it is complicated because as much as I do not know her, and as much as I deeply understand to love that which one does not know begs a profound question about what one intends to mean in using the active form of the word love, it is nevertheless by virtue of some shared concerns that this problem of deep feeling for is resolvable.
There is way to go into this, into the ‘this’ that is the flux of the meta-problem, to assert love, and, what I term the playful problem–the problem being played–that yields to the promise of precision.
Many years ago, I stood behind an attractive single woman in a line waiting to be served take-out. I was single at the time and I knew she was single because this all took place at a restaurant I worked at as a manager, and I had casually learned that one of the owners had chatted up this gal and teased out that she was single.
I am not intentionally a flirt, and tend to be shy around strangers. I am not in the least bit forward. Yet, standing there right behind her, she no doubt unintentionally dangled a hook.
“I love ice cream!” she said to no one in particular.
I said “Hmmmm,” loudly enough to cause her to turn around.
“Don’t you love ice cream?” She asked.
Several beats passed, as if a snare drummer was swishing brushes near us.
“Ice cream. I enjoy it very much. It’s just me and I’m peculiar on this point, but I reserve my love for people. At least in the main I try to do so.”
She gave me a two part look, the first part was a tilt of her head, and then she nodded in reflective affirmation of her original sentiment.
“I love ice cream!”
As it turned out, on another occasion I asked her out on a date and her response was memorable and droll.
“Stephen, I’d love to go out on a date but I have just begun seeing a gentlemen.”
Love is one of the most sifted through of the several primary objects of my contemplation and meditation over forty years. Moreover, I fiercely love: my partner, and my friends. Each instance of loving interpersonal relationship also constitutes a unique subject matter, field, opportunity for praxis, site for creation and collaboration, and opportunity for (in non-particular order,) play, demonstration, mystery. If I have loved someone once, I love them forever.
Of course there are the gradients which mediate the overarching gross classes: attraction, interrelationship, devotion, surrender. These windings comprise an ecology of love.
For example, Ms. Bateson is attractive on, at least, several crucial counts: smart, open to learning, optimistic, soulful. The other aspect in my Big Five is: kind. My guess is Nora is also kind. She looks like a kind person. At the lowest level my estimation here is deeply informed by my anima problem. At that level, this is the low level difference (making a difference,) too.
So, from all of this, the cut of precision recognizes that my love flows firstly along the partially unconscious line of this anima problem, and is motivated first energetically, and then, as a result of praxis, or learning.
There is no interrelationship or devotion or surrender involved. Call this Second Order Love. Other elements are subsumed by this second order, but these elements are essential too. These include the body of Ms. Bateson’s work, and the body of work of her father, Gregory Bateson.
I love Gregory Bateson too, but with him the attraction engages the Father Complex, engages Jupiter.
Nora and I share lots of concerns.I bet she’d dig my experiential tools! I playfully deconstruct, for example, social cybernetic systems, using very surgical methods rooted in various ecologies.
The ecology of love is just one of those ecologies.
Precisely then: I love Nora for distributing her soulful ideas and embodying with optimistic energy her mission to send such messages. In the system of my own loving, this is an extremely limited vector for my possible feeling, but it is much much deeper than my ‘like’ of coffee ice cream.
Every second a voice of love
comes from every side.
Who needs to go sightseeing?
We came from a majesty,
and we go back there.
What is this place?
Muhammad leads our caravan.
It is lucky to start out
in such a fresh breeze.
Like ocean birds, human beings
come out of the ocean.
Do not expect to live inland.
We hear a surging inside our chests,
an agreement we made in eternity.
The wave of that agreement rolled in
and caulked the body’s boat.
Another wave will smash us.
Then the meeting we wanted will occur.
version of Rumi by Coleman Barks
(from: Rumi. Bridge to the Soul)
Ms. Bateson film about her father An Ecology of the Mind is essential. [$24.95 Amazon]