Living / Philosophy

“Cupid’s flight” – Love and the cloak of invisibility

Every night Cupid takes to the skies to perform an age old ritual.  With a quiver brimming with arrows, his journey doesn’t end until all have been let loose on the mortals below.  Everyone has a wish to be engulfed in the throes of love and that Cupid may find them one day.  So when these love tipped arrows find these hopeful souls, they become captives to the love potion that now runs through their veins.  It sends waves of ecstasy through their soul and they are joyfully lost at the hands of fate.  With the wings of passion and a soaring spirit, they arrive knocking at the pearly gates of love.

Eros: The Greek God of love

Eros: The Greek God of love

Cupid has done it again and the story of love begins as quickly as the morning light.  Love opens its doors of hope and infinite possibilities.  We wake up for the very first time to realize the true gift of life we possess.  We dwell in a land of emotions that we delicately create and pronounce our beloveds as kings and queens.  For them we erect a ‘throne of love’ so that they may rule us with their kindness and affection.  Our wishes have indeed come true; this is something we had been waiting for all our lives.

Snap out of it!  This is all poetic and wonderful but the truth is that nothing kills love better than the factor of time. If love is the perfect crystal, then time reveals its hidden fragilities and imperfections.  And though love itself might not be flawed, but our understanding of love certainly is. It has been seen all too many times, couples going down a rabbit hole of dreams from where neither comes out happy.  We see it in the eyes of disenchanted lovers who now hate the very person who they had once loved.  We have seen it in the bitter fights and the horrible breakups.  The more you see it, the more it starts to make sense.  From this chaos of emotions and expectations emerges a definite pattern – a definite pattern to the fissures that bring down the castle of love.  The fall from glory happens in the same land of emotions that were once so meticulously created.  It begins when our beloveds are quietly removed from the same ‘throne of love’, to be replaced by someone else.  And that someone else is none other than we ourselves.

So how is this uncrowning, in the land of emotions, possible and why would someone destroy the very thing they had so passionately created?  To find the answer, we must delve deeper into the very feelings that are a gift of love.


Love and the perils of time

Who doesn’t like to be in love? It feels great! You ‘feel’ elated and on top of the world.  And we attribute these feelings of love to this person, our beloved.  It is because of them that we feel so happy.  They are the ones who bring out the feeling of love in us.  In reality this is no different from being addicted to a drug.  You don’t fall in love with the drug, you love the feeling that the drug gives you.  Again, you love the feeling that it gives ‘you’.  The truth is that with time we become the subjects of our love and the other person assumes the role of an accessory.  We go from being in love with a person to being in love with ‘the feeling of being in love’.  This loss in the purity of love is so gradual that we never really see it coming.  It’s the slow but steady encroachment of our egos in the land of emotions.  The fateful end of this process is that love is completely replaced and the original feelings of love are lost.

This dethroning in the story of love is gradual and happens over time.  We ease ourselves onto the throne and unknowingly push out the ones we had so willingly placed there.  This steady process of dethroning is where love first begins to suffer.  The true essence of love is lost when we give in to the notions of self love.  This can only be prevented if we remove our egos from the equation.  To an extent that the only subject of love is the one we love and we are no longer players in the game.  This means actually loving someone for their innate qualities and their unique nature.  Loving them for their whims as well as their quirks and NOT for the feelings they bring out in us.  If a gift of roses makes you feel in love, then this begs a subtle question of whether you really love the giver or whether you love the feeling of being in love.  The act of giving roses doesn’t change the giver; it only makes the receiver feel special.  It can be argued that the act reveals the affectionate nature of the giver, but if affectionate nature is the point at hand, then it should be realized outside the acts of giving – in the true realization of the lovers self.  The degree to which self love is entrenched in a relationship, varies based on the people involved and the age of the relationship.

Love Test – The Cloak of Invisibility:

So what is the litmus test for the purity of love? At any stage of love, how do you know who truly occupies the throne?  A simple imaginative exercise can help here.  Imagine for a second that your are invisible and that your partner is unable to see you.  Go around the rooms, the house, on a jog with them, or with them to work.  See them and observe them, as they go about their day, while you remain shrouded in the cloak of invisibility.  Does the act of being there and experiencing your partners presence make you feel in love?  Do they still stir your feeling despite the fact that they can’t see you and react to you?  Your invisibility will prevent your ego from clouding your emotions because it cannot feed on  the lovers reactions.  In the absence of ego feeding gestures that you would have otherwise received, you will see your lover for who they truly are.  The feelings resulting from this imaginary excercise, will determine the extent to which your beloved still holds the throne.

Passing the invisibility test (from City of Angels)

Passing the invisibility test (from City of Angels)

In a subtle way, a concept similar to that of the invisibility test, formed the basis of the movie City of Angels (1998).  The invisible angel falls in love with the surgeon despite the fact that she can’t see him.  He loves her for her compassionate nature and the person she truly is.  He decides to give up a life of eternity for what are a few moments with his beloved.


3 thoughts on ““Cupid’s flight” – Love and the cloak of invisibility

  1. It is indeed a beautiful piece i read in a long time. I disagree a bit with the cloak of invisibility. It may not always work. Being humans we are not free of needs and falling in love is a manifestation of those needs. So even if u close our eyes and try to imagine yourself around the person u love, ur desires to receive something in return would be walking with you.
    We love people partly for what they are partly for what they can give us. I do not want to turn the discussion towards religion but somehow I feel I wont be done if I do not mention that we humans cannot love anyone without the desire to get something in return and this cannot be changed. We are created that way.. to be dependent, otherwise we would be self-sufficient which is not possible. Self love is always there and it’s just that the intensity oscillates.
    Love means u want something in return such as reciprocation of love, care, or may be a covert feeling of satisfaction when u do something for them.

    • Humans may have (egoistic) needs but their role in love is often understated … a distinction must be made between love as a function of someone’s qualities vs. love because of your needs. This clarity in the essence of love can help in one’s own understanding of how much they truly contribute to a relationship, versus how much they are actually doing for themselves.

      A good article that tackles these topics (and more) is:

      The idea that “if u close (y)our eyes and try to imagine yourself around the person u love, ur desires to receive something in return would be walking with you” might be true in the beginning, but with time ego should be disconnected and this desire should subside … the feelings that will remain will be free of ego and truly attributable to the beloved.

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