I was sitting in the restaurant here on campus with my computer, doing some stuff that needs doing. Suddenly I notice there's lotsa people around me an something is going on on the stage. I decided to stay for a bit and look what was gonna happen. I thought it was gonna be poetry recital or somethin'.
Turns our it's some sorta discuss night about humans craving for love. Fair enough, I'm down with that I can sit around and discuss love. (Notice how the Christian signals just go right past me.)
I discover I'm charing my table with three sweet girls from Nigeria (before you ask, you linguist you: Yoruba, Edo, Igbo and Nigerian Pidgin). About when a third of the programme has passed it dawns on me, this is a christian gathering.
So I decided that it would be good for me to stay, I have so few interactions with christians. My parents aren't religious and neither am I but you know I'm open for things, and besides a bit of change of social context is good. Staying in one small bubble where everyone thinks the same is not good for me.
We had very nice discussions about love. We didn't always agree and they had a hard time understanding that I didn't really have a need for God in my life. They asked me who I thought created this world and why the weather changes and I said that it doesn't matter to me. I must add that the discussion was mostly about love and relationships and very little about God.
So talking to them, which was very nice. I must say that atheist don't discuss spiritual matters enough. Anyway, talking to them I got to formulate a few things that I realize that I believe in.
I exists. My loved ones exists. This world holds so much beauty and so much despair. I see no need for anything else. I do not need God's love to love others, I don't have a craving for his love. I have a great deal of love for my fellow humans already, I don't need to draw that love from God.
I need to feel loved, that I belong and that I can contribute something that I feel is worthwhile. For that I don't need God, I need my friends and family. The ones that are my mirrors.
I believe that the most fundamental thing that make humans happy is this: context and purpose. To feel needed and to belong. Where ever that may be.
I do not need to know that the love that I feel will last forever, it's is sweet all the same. This obsession with the definition of true love to me seems utterly contra-productive.
During the evening there was this student group that had prepared material for discussion. It was all very obvious how one was to think (we watched a part of a movie about a guy who fooled around with a lot of women only to finally be heartbroken by the one true...).
So I sorta had to play the opposite, right? Representin' Scandinavia and shit. So I talked about raising kids with people you don't fuck, open relationships and what to do if your partner beats you. The bible says that love is "enduring" and I was also told that one can pray that one's partner will change. To me that is a horrible thing to believe and utterly wrong. Thankfully they did agree that a person who hurts you don't really love you and therefore you should leave.
My table mates were quite accepting of all this liberal sweden-talk of promiscuity. I swear I wasn't too provocative or judgmental. Please believe better of me than that.
Anyway, we did agree on a few things: a lot of people overvalue the romantic love in a couple relationship and undervalue family and friends; marriage/having kids is more than love (it's bills, mortgage, cars, house cleaning, tuition fees etc)
I wanted to ask if it was open night and I could make a suggestions for a clip we could see. They said that it wasn't open night. So let's have an open night here instead so I can show you something really true that Tim Minchin has said about love. With all the affection of my small and naive heart:
I don't think you're special
I-I mean, I think your special
But you fall within a bell curve
if I may conjecture a further objection, love is nothing to do with destined perfection
The connection is strengthened, the affection simply grows over time
Like a flower
Or a mushroom
And love is made more powerful by the ongoing drama of shared experience
And the synergy of a kind of symbiotic empathy