Questions For My Next Life

All human cultures know sex, and all human cultures know affection. Probably all human cultures know love in the sense of caritas, placing the interests of another above your own – although some conceive of it only between men. What we call romantic love, however, is another matter. As a poetic narrative, it arose in the Muslim world and spread to Christendom. The rest of the Western world was taught it by the conquistadores and the colonialists, so it might seem difficult to investigate what existed there before.

The Cankam (classical Tamil) concept of love, they tell me, was composed of “knowing infatuation, warm friendship and vigorous sex”. That does not sound to me much like the lack of real feelings and hang-ups about chastity in our own troubadour tradition.

How then about China? Perhaps the world’s oldest and greatest civilisation, and not as dominated by ourselves. What do the Chinese mean by love between man and woman? Does it exist at all in their culture, or do they know only rational economic interest plus a bit of fun on the side? I have not the faintest idea, so if I could start another life, I should become a Sinologist – and so come to know the Us better through knowing the not-Us.

Posted on January 17, 2011 at 09:41 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, What Is This Thing Called Love?

Leave a Reply