Cabinet of Wisdom III — True Love and True Man

The Cabinet of Wisdom

Part III: True Love and True Man

Because this painfully obvious difference between man and mannequin, book and author, word and object, substance and shadow, is invisible to those mesmerized by modern secularism, allow me to use an extended example.

Let us use the example of romance, since the topic is one that concerns all men born of women.

When a young man’s thoughts in time of spring turn lightly to his beloved, and the images of her ruby lips and soft, swelling bosom, the silvery lilt of her laugh, her maidenly modesty and luscious dowry, preoccupy his distracted imagination and conquer his dim mind, it is noteworthy that measurable changes in the realm of nature are open to empirical verification: his breath grows short, his blood beats hot, his brainwave patterns show he is twitterpatted.

When we see the youth with his doublet all unbraced, no hat upon his head, his stockings fouled, ungartered, and down-gyved to his ancle; and his face as pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other, indeed we can empirically measure the albedo of his skin, count the knocks per minute of knee collisions, see whether he has a hat upon his head, measure stocking hem height above this ankles, and count the number of correctly tied laces in his doublet.

If these numbers and measurements are above a certain threshold level, we can rightly conclude that the youth is in love, and waxing fierce yet faint in his affections.

Unless, of course, he is terrified by having seen a ghost, which leads to the same outward expressions of paleness, fallen stockings, hatlessness, and distraction. Or it could just be fever. Or drunkenness. Or a hundred other things.

Now, I gently submit (and let no modern man drink cold poison and leap into the sea during a fit of screaming madness when this concept is introduced!) that should we find a young man named Benedick of nonromantic inclination, paint him white, thrust his knees together with sharp snaps of a leg-lasso, steal his hat, lower his socks, and undo his doublet, this will not make him fall in love with Beatrice, the woman we intend him to marry.

Ah! But you may object that these outward signs of inward love are not sufficient to cause the love itself. We must have more outward signs, and ever more. We must also inject him with blood from Romeo rich with hormones of true love, and, with an iron lung and a tube down his throat, made his breath grow short and long with sighs and moans! Perhaps a clever chemical can make his eyes sparkle. Now Benedick will surely fall in love with Beatrice and not Rosaline!

No? What if we inject more chemicals in his blood, and impose magnetic fields upon his brain, and alter his wave-patterns to match full twitterpation? What if we move him to a warm climate, and feed him wine, and inject a weft of roses and pheromones into his nose?

What is if the crew of the miniaturized submarine Proteus enter his brain stem and physically move electrons from one nerve cell to another, until the exact brain-pattern of Romeo or Tristram, Lancelot or Narcissus, or any other famous lover in history, is mimicked? (Of course, we are trying to get Benedick together with Beatrice, and not with Juliet, or Iseult, Guinevere, or Narcissus, so I suppose some brain-electron motions will have to be cleverly edited somehow.)

So, the specific brain electrons pattern will have to somehow point his attentions in the direction we want, toward Beatrice, and not just make him drunk and lustful. Merely inducing artificial excitement of his sexual organs and brain chemistry is not enough.

We would also have to give all these outward signs, (for these chemical reactions and electronic brain motions are still outward signs, that is, objectively measurable material changes observable to outsiders), the inner meaning of love toward Beatrice (which is the inner and subjective meaning being discussed).

In other words, we would have to know, not only the measurable quantities of electrons involved, but the meaning in his own thoughts those patterns form when he is thinking specific thoughts, assuming that there is such a correspondence or correlation.

But why should we assume this? There is a correlation between paleness and lovesickness, but men turn pale for many reasons, not just this one, including ghost sightings, dog attacks, and physical illness.

Perhaps more is needed than mere brain electrons in a given pattern. The brain electron pattern may differ from man to man, or within a man over years or decades.

What if we find the magic bloom that sprang up from the dropped arrow of the pagan god Cupid and use fairy magic create a juice or elixir or philter, which, if squeezed into her slumbering lids, can make proud Titania upon first glance fall madly in love with Bottom, despite his jackass head? This is a great benefit to uncomely men of all ages, who crave the love of fairy queens!

But wait. While I can paint the face of Benedick to resemble the pale hue of Hamlet in love with Ophelia, clearly facepaint is no more sufficient to cause the love than the human seeming-motions of the wax dummy of Mr. Lincoln or the recorded gramophone cylinder could cause the celebrated statesman to rise from the grave.

I am not sure what changing breathing patterns or injecting blood from eager lovers would do to Benedick, but I rather doubt changing his brainwave cycles, assuming such a thing could be done without killing him, would turn his affections from Ophelia to Beatrice. Again, there is no reason to make such an assumption.

And even if we found a magic love-philter that could stirs the infatuations and affections of Titania, and make her yearn for the kisses of an ass-head, what could make true love, which is an act of will? Even while under the influence of a love-philter, can Titania not foreswear all bridegrooms, and enter a nunnery?

I assume any sober reader will all know the difference between infatuation and true love, even if some of us (at least one of us— I say not whom) while in the midst of the insobriety and violence of sophomoric infatuations, knew no difference at that time.

Infatuation is selfish: a desire to possess the maiden. True love is selfless: a willingness to suffer or die for one’s beloved wife. Those in the throws of infatuation mistake it for true love, while those who know true love cannot mistake it, no more than a waking man can dream that he is awake, only dreamers.

The question then seems to boil down to this: can an act of will be precipitated in the mind of a man by mimicking foreign brain-atom motions in his brain, so that he wills not what he wills, but what we will him to will?

More to the point, what if we found that the brain atom patterns involved were exactly like those involved in convincing a man, by means or words and gestures, images, and evidence, that the young lady is worth courting, and that any fond hopes may indeed be realized?

Have you, dear reader, ever tried to talk someone into falling in love or falling out? It does not seem to be a simple operation, nor does success or failure depend on factors directly under human control. Indeed, more likely that a willful pagan god shooting Ixion with an arrow, or the page of the fairy king anointing a sleeping eye with a magic philter, explains what causes or does not cause love than any gibberish about brainwaves and pheromones.

Can we create true love between Benedick and Beatrice by manipulating their brain electron patterns?

Now, to answer this question, all we need due is reduce the entire philosophical enigma of will and necessity, cause and effect, objective and subjective, morality and sin, infatuation, desire, false love and true love, spirt and soul, mind and body, cause and effect, to a group of measurable magnitudes of atoms in motion or forming patterns, without any reference to symbols, signs, or meanings associated with those motions or patterns.

So, what do we know about any of these questions?

First, we know that lovers sometimes grow pale and short of breath, and sometimes leave their jerkin unlaced and stockings undone. It is speculated that there may or may not be particular hormonal, endocrinal, or neural changes in a youth’s body when he falls in love. There may or may not be some sort of relationship between infatuation and true love, and willpower and moral suasion sometimes might influence this and sometimes not. Genetics and astrological conjunctions and gypsy curses may or may not also influence infatuation and love, as well as fairy tricks, and having a hobby in common with the young lady, or shared taste in music.

Also, there much be something to do with hairstyles and make up and voluptuous figures, because many a young woman spends a truly inordinate amount of disposable income on the cosmetics industry, coiffures, brassieres, girdles, corsets, gym memberships, dieting, and learning from evil old crones how to lure men to their doom with their flirtatious machinations. Girls also read romance novels to learn how to read a man’s “tells” to learn if he is bluffing, or cheating on her.

And yet, for all this, I doubt that changing your hairdo or reading GONE WITH THE WIND will necessarily win the affection of Benedick against his will. There is an unspoken axiom or premise behind the whole idea which has not yet been addressed.