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Art and Unrequited Love

Art and Unrequited Love.

For many writers, researchers and movie makers, the tragic phenomenon of unrequited love is the pinnacle of suffering. In Woody Allen’s film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Maria Elena’s character played by Penelope Cruz indicates that only unrequited love is the truest love, because it is incomplete. But the idea that unrequited love is the purest form of love, since it is a love which is believed to be virtuous, or poignant in its ability to make the ilover an epitome of human despair, is not new.

It is believed that the suffering of unrequited love is indispensable to human. Nietzsche observed the benefits of the kind of pain unrequited love brings. Unrequited love is not presently seen as a disease because it occasionally results in great music or poetry, or finds another object. It also enriches the purveyors of insipid and vapid pop music. However, contrary to the idea that unrequited love is not linked to disease, in recent years it has been acknowledged as a contributing factor in some very real diseases, such as broken-heart syndrome (takotsubo-cardiomyopathy) in which the sufferer may die from suffering. Any adverse health condition in turn tends to elevate the suffering, when to suffer becomes a bitterly poetic disease that inspires a unique kind of art.

unrequited love 11 July 16

Those of you who have read my blog “Mary Magdalene” would know, Jesus, when asked why he did not love his other disciples the way he loved Mary, answered – “Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.” Similarly, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther is the most pivotal example of how the suffering of unreciprocated love has been beneficially used for the purposes of great art. A terribly tragic story of a young man’s one-way love, has been ranked as the defining work of unrequited love, where the protagonist eventually committed suicide. It continues to be a classic of German Romantic literature, in spite of Goethe’s subsequent rejection of the novel as a great. Goeth is believed to have become frustrated when the success of the book led to revealing of his unrequited love for Charlotte Buff. Later he claimed that the work ‘haunted’ him.

The belief that great art often has its source in unrequited love is indeed accurate and significant. In my blog “Supernatural Forces in Unrequited Love”, I have written about how hurtful situations cause deep emotional turmoil in the lives of people suffering in love. The force of this unrequited love stirs the creative energy around the lovers and leads to heightening of creative inspiration, resulting in music, painting or poetry. British novelist Mary Ward writes: Rejection, apparent or real, may be the catalyst for inspired literary creation. This implies that suffering from unrequited love is relatively trivial compared to the lover’s capacity for great love. The absence of happiness in one-way love feels comparatively irrelevant when the fact of loving, and loving well, becomes a virtue in and of itself. Here the one who doesn’t reciprocate to the lover’s feelings is believed to be the loser, due to their inability to absorb and return great love. On the other hand, the sufferer is revealed as the victor. Yet arguably this is a hollow victory indeed.

Eric Berne, in his book Sex in Human Loving goes so far as to elevate the sufferer to superior, almost divine heights – “The man who is loved by a woman is lucky indeed, but the one who is to be envied is he who loves, however little he gets in return. How much greater is Dante gazing at Beatrice than Beatrice walking by him in apparent disdain?”

Needless to say, being rejected in love makes us look down upon ourselves, and we start believing that there is something lacking in us. As I have written in my blog “Facts About Rejection in Unrequited Love”, while rejection is mostly a matter of choices and difference in lifestyles, we continue to torment ourselves over our shortcomings and make it even more difficult to overcome the pain of rejection.

Please leave your experiences in the comments section and I will include them in my future blogs.

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