We know each other and works of art only in separate compartments, such that we can’t love a Godard film and simultaneously believe in Mr. or Mrs. Right, for we are given each of them as necessarily opposing each other. Godard film appreciation comes pre-packaged with a number of other tastes and practices that fit within its compartment—say, a destabilized, fluid notion of identity and a distaste for Oakley sunglasses and loose-fitting American jeans. Likewise for ‘that one (or more than one, for thepoly folks) to whome we are destined’ compartment. It comes with such accoutrements as a love of Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge and Phil Spector songs.
Once you dispense with these compartments, Godard and the destined lover open up. You realize, for instance, that you can believe in the fated other half and still acknowledge the tragic frequency of divorce, spinsterhood, unhappy couplings, infidelity. It is not, after all, necessary to forsake realism in your art or life (or their union: love). For what the smarmy Mr. Righters miss, is that the perfect partner isn’t given to you, does not arrive in your lap or come with an unmistakeable sign. You must earn it, and discipline yourself to be ready to recognize and receive him or her. Great religious poetry across the religions speaks often of preparing ourselves for the reception of the sacred. Trim the clichés off the edge of the destined lover compartment and the first fat to fall offis the ‘it wasn’t meant to be’ cliché’, appended to any coupling that failed to happen or fell apart. Nonsense—it’s not that it wasn’t meant to be; it’s that YOU didn’t MEAN it to be, hard enough. YOU do the meaning. YOU do the fating. You didn’t recognize this was the one(s), and ran off with someone inferior because it was easier, more ego-affirming, perhaps even more ‘natural’, and you failed to trim the ‘natural’ fat off the destined lover archetype as well.
So here’s a prayer to all the destined lovers who weaseled, opted, coasted, rationalized, lied and cheated their way out of their destiny, and forced their poor body into the procrustean box of someone else’s destiny. Someone you don’t relate to, but now are, and thus must turn off your sense of relation altogether to avoid descending into unbearable self-alienation
. May your children not make your mistakes, and may we creators generate visions of love to empower your children to rise up and seize their destiny, rather than wander in dumb desire and self-defense into the banalities of the Arbitrary, the Habitual, and the Comfortable and Familiar, where Mr. and Mrs. Right Enough await, with their self-preserving lies about the wisdom of compromise,’ realistic’ expectations, and knowing that the person you end up with necessarily being the one you were destined to be with. Hark, humans let to be, let us adapt Nietzsche’s battle-cry for would-be philosophers to would be life partners:—even one single compromise with the existing order leads to countless others, and even a single compromise with public opinion might lead a thinker eventually to lose his intellectual integrity.