Rohit's Realm

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June 04, 2007

Sweet Revenge

Several years ago, when I wrote what would later become my definitive manifesto on the ultimate futility of seeking idyllic romances and (what half wits, morons, and imbeciles everywhere refer to as) true love, I was lambasted—both publicly and privately—by many a self-professed romantic, often times with vitriol that generally should only be reserved for transients and the homeless menace. Though there were no explicit death threats, it certainly seemed as if though hordes of viciously star-crossed lovers, chomping at the bit and rabidly foaming at the mouth (perhaps all those roses they bought one another were giving them allergies?), were preparing their metaphorical nooses for a lynching of the heartless, soulless ingrate that dared publicly derided their most sacred of commandments. And yet, as Audrey pointed out last week, almost 3 years after I published my treatise, the Economist, one of the foremost publications in the world, has essentially validated the position I have long held on the Realm. Revenge is so sweet.

My favorite quote from this article (registration might be required; I'm a subscriber, so I wouldn't know) is as follows:

Americans expect a lot from marriage. Whereas most Italians say the main purpose of marriage is to have children, 70% of Americans think it is something else. They want their spouse to make them happy. Some go further and assume that if they are not happy, it must be because they picked the wrong person.

Wow. So, basically 70% of Americans are so deluded, so arrogant, and so brazenly misguided that they actually assume that someone else can make them happy when they themselves cannot accomplish that task? How ridiculous. Someone can definitely make you unhappy, but happiness itself (as I have discussed in withering detail) is not an external phenomenon; it is not a commodity that can be purchased, traded, or obtained from another individual. If you are intrinsically unhappy, nobody will be able to fix that, no matter how hard you try to force it. While you might forget about your own unhappiness for a moment or even for many years, ultimately the honeymoon period will wear off and your partner's novelty will wear thin; and you will simply be left with your own heightened despair (and possibly, a loveless marriage with no pre-nup and a slew of dependents—now if that isn't reason enough to kill yourself, I don't know what is).

The mindless and neurotic search for the one person (in a planet of six billion) that will make you happy for the rest of your life is no different than a coke junkie fiending for the next fix or a heroin-addict robbing liquor stores to pay for the next high. It is just as desperate, just as deluded, and just as likely to result in ultimate unhappiness, followed by a meaningless and unmemorable death (but I suppose the latter is guaranteed to all of us).

When I wrote about this perilous idealism in October 2004, I thought I had seen the extent of its disastrous sway amongst those around me. Three years later, I can say definitively that I had barely grazed the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Too many of my friends these days, almost all of who are in their twenties and early thirties, are caught up in this unpropitious pursuit with far greater resolve than I have hitherto ever witnessed. People now, more so than ever, seem to be going from one failed and disastrous relationship to another, each time emerging with a stronger faith in finding the 'right one' the next time around, as I wrote then. Perhaps worse, too many of my friends remain in relationships that not only do not make them happy, but probably actively make things worse, due to complacence and an inexplicable, almost Godly fear of being alone.

So much the worse for them. If you cannot bear to be with yourself, even for a little while, why on Earth would anyone else want to be with you? It really is hard to imagine a scenario more desperate than that.

Yes, I know. So says the guy who made self-loathing into an art form. But at least I hate myself with confidence; that's more than I can say about the rest of you petty, wretched people.


On a related note, I found this blog posting today that basically represents the epitome of all that I stand against.

If you cannot bear to be with yourself, even for a little while, why on Earth would anyone else want to be with you?

Bravo! For once, we actually agree with one another (true love, Rohit?): while I do believe in romance and demonstrating your love for your partner, I also agree that it shouldn't be used as a substitute for what you call intrinsic happiness.

And based on your comment above, you and I are destined to be mortal enemies, because that blog posting represents the epitome of all that I stand for.

Someone can definitely make you unhappy...

Did I make you unhappy? I never really could tell.

Yes, I know. So says the guy who made self-loathing into an art form. But at least I hate myself with confidence; that's more than I can say about the rest of you petty, wretched people.

So true! You hate yourself with such arrogance that it is actually almost narcissistic. You need to pick one: either hate yourself and wallow in self-pity and be alone; or just be happy, and allow all the foolish girls who make the mistake of getting involved with you to be happy too.

Just because you hate yourself, doesn't mean you have to ruin my life too, you know.

You come from a culture that practices both arranged marriage and tantric sex. If tantra is achievable, then why not perpetual marital bliss?

The real mistake we make is in our expectations: we are destined to experience agony in our blind pursuit of ecstasy. Managing expectations is essential. If you reach out for something intangible, you're left with your dick in your hand. That and a bitter ex-girlfriend.

Jon, I'm not saying perpetual marital bliss isn't achievable, per se, only that those who expect marital bliss to be based solely on the other person's ability to make them happy where they aren't to begin with, will inevitably find marriage to be disappointing.

And major props for making an entirely valid second point, and also sounding extremely corporate at the same time. Well done!

Thanks, I'm trying. Sexual harassment really puts a cramp on great workplace phrases like "dick in your hand." I'm still not sure what "peeking up the kimono" means... I'm like Ron Burgundy trying to use "when in Rome" with that one.

The intensity with which you assert your truth as universal, coupled with the ferocity with which you evangelize it do more to convince me of its falseness. I don't see the person who spends his time telling others how their reality should be as a big man who lives a happy life. Your genuine self-love doesn't come across in this blog: if you had room to let yourself be, I would expect you to have room for other people to be as well.


PS- Your commenting system wouldn't accept my perfectly well-formed URI.

Jesse, insofar as we are to accept that there is such a thing as universal truth (a dubious proposition at best), I see nothing wrong with arguing for my point of view with all the intensity and ferocity that I can muster. If I wasn't passionate about my own ideas, how could I expect for anyone else to take them seriously?

That being said, however, I personally do not believe that I am necessarily attempting to define reality for others with this entry. Rather, it is a reflection on behavior that, to an uninvolved observer, seems illogical, i.e., attempting to find happiness through others rather than in oneself. I hardly expect many people to subscribe to this viewpoint, but I see nothing wrong with bringing it up; at the very least, it will force people to consider their own position on the subject.

Also, I'm not sure where exactly the notion that I lead a happy life came from, but I think its falsity should be self-evident. As most people could likely tell you, I wasn't joking about the self-loathing.

Oh, and thanks for the bug report! I'll have to spend some time this weekend figuring out what's wrong (it accepts my URIs fine).

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