To Love

I’m showing my age here, but I remember a friend of mine lending me a couple of audio cassette tapes years ago containing a handful of lectures by, according to Wikipedia, “philosophical entertainer” Alan Watts. I would listen to them repeatedly while working on various freelance graphic design and illustration assignments in the small room of our home that served as my studio. In one of his lectures, I recall Watts suggesting that our seeing two adjacent chutes of bamboo and deducing that one of them is taller than the other is simply a human construct (or something to that effect). As someone who was developing an interest in Buddhist thought at the time, I found that intriguing as it felt very “Zen” to me. Needless to say, it’s stuck ever since.

Fast forward three decades or so and one can now, of course, find countless talks of his combined with video footage on YouTube. One on the topic of falling in love ends with the following: “The desire to love and to be loved is, I think, probably the deepest thing that there is in us. . . . and so it’s a matter of seeing that this deeply repressed love must be let out.” If Watts is correct in his assertion, which I believe he is, I find it fascinating that not only do we have an innate desire to be loved, but we have a deep-seated need to love and express that love as well. The topic of love often comes up in my work, and when I ask people which, if either, is more important to them, to love or to be loved, they respond without fail that it’s the former: to love. So, perhaps, at least in this regard, it may very well be true on some level that it does indeed serve us better to give than to receive.