Love’s Labours Lost in the 21st Century

Love has always been a confusing conundrum.  Scientists tell us it’s just a chemical reaction.  Poets tell us that it’s the sum of all life’s pursuits.  Soldiers die whispering the name of their sweethearts.  No one it seems is immune to this universal blessed plague.  King’s catch love as quick as the homeless beggar on the street corner.  History is full of wars and peace and alliances made and broken for this thing that no one can fully describe.  It confused the philosopher’s of old and is about forty times more confusing in the time we live in now.

A hundred years ago there were rules, you could gauge a little better where you stood with the opposite sex when it came to their feelings for you.  If you held long conversation with a single woman and were yourself a single man, at some point you would be considered bound by your honor to make her an offer.  The friendzone as the modern terminology would call it was a near non-existent place.  Men knew the rules, you don’t talk to a lady at length unless you have plans of courting said woman.  Women knew that their reputation could be endangered if they had long private talks with a man, at the very least they could get caught up in an unwanted engagement.  Now the water is muddied by friendships mixed with deeper feelings and even further confusion is added by the whole part of our culture that believes in “friends with benefits” as if the deepest act of intimacy can occur between two people and it not affect their previously platonic friendship.

We have compounded the confusion that love was a hundred years ago, and before, by eroding morality.  The rules that have stood for hundreds of years existed for a reason.  They weren’t there to make people miserable, they were there to protect men and women alike from hurting each other.  Women were regarded as precious, not because they were thought to be helpless, this is a huge myth.  Women of the 19th century worked, sometimes harder than men in their same class.  They were farriers and factory workers, fishmongers and tailors.  The idea that women could not work any occupation besides that of prostitute is a huge misinterpretation of history.  There have been dairy maids and housekeepers since the upper class decided they didn’t want to do these jobs themselves and became civilized enough to think slavery below their dignity.

Were things perfect in the past? by no means, but love was a little easier to navigate than it is in the current time.  A man had to prove he could provide for the family and wife he wished to gain by marriage.  The modern problem of men being without work while their woman slaves at two jobs was exceedingly rarer.  The problem of mothers without husbands was also much less common, men knew that consequences would be swift if the woman had family, and if they had any conscious they knew the woman without family would suffer immensely if he left her unwed.  There were rules, and they weren’t to enslave men or women to a rigid morality of the time, they were there to protect both parties.

Now love is turned upside down, people have children for all the wrong reasons, we have “anchor babies” and “welfare babies” and don’t treasure the precious life of babies.  Infant mortality has drastically decreased since times gone by, but in it’s place we have climbing rates of abortion because human life, and it’s worth, have been degraded and drug through the dirt.  Evolution being taught brought man down to the level of the animal, rather than a divine masterpiece.  Then from evolution sprung the idea that as animals we have no need of conscience, does an ox have a conscience? or a mare a morality? and so mankind decided to live like animals, and we reap the fruits of this folly now with infants murdered in the womb and parents seeing children as offspring to bring in money, rather than precious life.  Love is just a word now, a word with little meaning, we use it for our house cat and we use it for our sneakers, our favorite candy bar and our best dress.  A hollow word that no one believes and everyone uses.  There is no promise behind the utterance of the word any longer.  We say it to manipulate people, to placate them, but it’s lost its sanctity.  Along with every other part of life that our 21st century society has decided to degrade.

Sex is king and love is an outdated notion.  Marriage is bondage and children a nuisance to be avoided.  We should seek pleasure and our own desires regardless of the state we leave others in, after all, it was their fault for getting attached.

These are all things our world throws at us.  Lies to drown out the voice of our divinely gifted conscience.  They throw the clatter of lust and supposed freedom into our head to drown out the responsibility we should be feeling for those that we mistreat, by loving and leaving or by not loving and misleading.  We do owe those around us a measure of clarity.  We shouldn’t leave them in muddy waters, and we shouldn’t mislead them.  A clear conscience is to be strived for, not ignored responsibility and selfish pleasures.

A conscience is something you have to live with all your life and take to your deathbed.  It’s not to be abused.  Because long after lovers die and children grow and move away, inheriting the morality of their parents and mentors, there, in the dark, abused and tattered and sometimes nearly silenced, there is still a conscience.  The only thing that can kill it is psychopathy.

We have loved and lost, but how did we treat love when we had it? Was it lost by lack of commitment or was it lost only by death taking it from us? How guiltless will we stand when our love life is examined in the light of Truth?  Did we mislead others just so we could have companionship, allowing them to hope for more than we intend to occur? did we mislead others just to satiate our desires? did we treat the word love as a truth, not just a word to be used and abused as often as we liked?

Love’s labours may have been lost, but did we lose them by our own folly and faulty 21st century morality?