Tuesday, July 5, 2011

TRUE LOVE : the greatest concept ever sold.

the one thing the whole world is in search of. The most powerful thing in the world.
The magical kiss of true love that freed snow-white from her curse. The magical kiss of true love by the beauty made the beast the prince again. Cinderella found her 'happily ever after' when the prince realised that she is his TRUE LOVE.
Oh! The POWER of true love - so magical, so beautiful and so...... so unreal!
- YES that's correct. UNREAL. Let's focus on that for a change.

The minute we mention 'true love' people's mind's conjure up images of romeo and juliet, disney prince and princesses, folklore legends and romantic books and movies.

You switch on the television and there are sagas of LOVE. Reality shows about 'love'. Full-day news broadcasts about fairytale romances and stately marriages of full of 'true love'.
You turn on the radio and 80% of the songs played are those that romance the concept of love.
You log on to the internet and if you are single, you are bombarded by singles sites and the prospects of finding true love. You even find pseudo psychics that tell you that what your life lacks is TRUE LOVE and you could find it if you wore a 300$ power ring or some crap like that.
if you are in a relationship - you are bombarded with info about how you could express your true love. Diamond rings and honeymoon vacations and special couple massage spas and a million other bombs in your wallet.

If you have studied advertising, you would know that FREE and SEX are the two most powerful words in advertising - they can sell almost anything. If you look deeper into advertising, you'll realize that TRUE LOVE is the one concept that actually most effectively sells anything! No matter how expensive.
Why? Because the concept of TRUE LOVE is actually an exagerration of what is clinacally reffered to as passionate love which is essentially an EMOTIONAL DRUG - clinically proven to have effects at par with cocaine. And people will do anything to get it.

You are selling a car? shoot a commercial with a romantic couple in an exotic romantic destination.
You are selling a biscuit? make your product what a very romantic couple shares between them.
You are selling a pressure cooker? for god's sake make it the PERFECT gift a PERFECT husband buys for his PERFECT wife!
Reality check - life isn't the idealized 'perfect'.

What advertising, marketing or any kind of selling (yes religion included) relies on is YOUR INSECURITIES.
Tap into an insecurity, and you can make anyone do anything.
The Pornography industry acknowledges it openly:
"our business runs due to nerds and geeks and people who'll never really date anyone nearly as gorgeous or kinky in their lives. We sell them the fantasy they'll never have. and that's business."- AVN Pornography awards show
btw, just so you know, legal or not, pornography is one of the largest and continually growing industries in the world.

Ever wonder why do most people turn towards religions that have a concept of rebirth or eternal life? coz it quenches their fears of death and helps them make meaning out of life - which they have seen is not always fair. So religion tells them - don't worry - the people who wont get justice here, will get it in the after life!

Tap an insecurity. Built a concept that soothes it. And make it available.
Then, make it THE ETERNAL TRUTH. and prove everything else bad/wrong.
That's how concepts are sold. THAT IS HOW 'CONCEPTS replace REALITY'.


Before we go anywhere, let us explore the foundations of the concept of TRUE LOVE:
cave paintings show hunting.
no 'true love'. wonder why?
From bisexual, multi-gamous, multi-androus, polyamorous animals we evolved into humans! yaaay! great! then settlements were formed.
Is that where true love and monogamy came in?

hell no - most settlements were 'bohemic' in nature. and the weaker sex often became a social property of the stronger sex. naaah! dosent sound like true love... does it? damn!
no cave art about true love either!

Lets move on. Settlements soon gave way to civillizations. is this where true love happened?
partially, yes.
Roman, Incan or Indian, no matter which civillization you take, you'll see that marriages were mostly for social benefit. Marriages to join kingdoms. marriages to unite tribes. marriages to appease those in power.
And then came literature! bammmmmm!
those who could write, wrote for the rich. the rich in turn propagated these tales. the rich managed to turn their own stories into legends of LOVE and ROMANCE and filled them with all things nice.
Caesar Cleopatra. Salim Anarkali. Prince and Princesses. Kings and Queens.
Despite being full of ornate lies and disguised truths and convenient endings, these stories became legend. Modern day advertising and PR professionals would call it paid publicity. The romances you read about in the paper about actors and actresses? Committed love and Made for each other. Yes, its the same. all bullshit.
say hello to the roman acceptance of humans as sexual beings.
a concept once celebrated in their art - as in Khajuraho, India.
Even though roman and indian societyback then  in general was pretty much about social economics, orgies and multiple marriages, romance as a 'concept' of exclusivity began to thrive thanks to the favour it received from royalty.

How about Romeo and Juliet?
Hello? that's about royalty too.
People wanted an escape from their mediocre lives and literature and drama provided that.

Literature and drama about stories of TRUE LOVE provided people the escape they needed from their mediocre lives of lies and unfullfilled dreams and harsh realities. True love became the morphine to their pains.And THAT's where people realized the true power of TRUE LOVE - "damn! this shit sells!".
Since then, book after book, play after play, every mode of mass entertainment revolved around TRUE LOVE. to such an extent that it even began influencing the greatest business in the world - RELIGION.
this story, we all hear of
- radha and krishna.
the eternal romance.

We all hear about Krishna and Radha. But do we hear of Lord Krishna making love to a horde of milkmaids (at the same time, yes) as depicted in the mattancherry palace?

where did monogamy become a part of TRUE LOVE? hello? did i miss something? of course yes - the selling power of the concept of TRUE LOVE!
Where did the stories about Lord Krishna having 8 wives go?
and actually, its 1001  wives. but this you won't often hear about.
In storytelling - it is much easier to focus on just two characters and romance the universe around them rather than focus on a multitude of characters. Fewer characters make better stories and more memorable characters and therefore it became the norm. Plus, it also soothes another insecurity of human kind - the fear of loneliness and the promise of eternal accompaniment. "till death do us part" is born out of this insecurity. Why, Indian Rituals this even further - by taking 'marriage' even beyond the life - into 7 lives!
[Btw - just so that i should mention - krishna had a 1001 wives. But that ain't celebrated or understood anymore. This is SILENCED by a million self appointed MORAL POLICE BODIES. To such an extent that in India itself you are not allowed to take pictures within the mattancherry palace where these illustrations exist.]

Let's leave myths, religion, folklore and legend. let's step more into modern day.
But just for the sake of being more specific, lets focus on one segment - INDIA.
A country soon to have the largest population in the world - a country that fucks like wild rabbits and yet has rules about love and marriage that outdate half the planet.

If there is one mode of mass media that has the largest influence on people in India, its movies.
So let's take a trip into Bollywood - the indian hindi film industry.
quick quiz:
you have a minute to answer.

Even if you are a hard core movie freak, the chances are you wouldnt be able to name more than one.
For the past two years, i have been speaking to producers and production houses in bollywood. And from all the interactions, there seems to be a consensus that ROMANCE and ROMANTIC COMEDIES SELL.
Why, YRF - one of india's largest film production studios has been a churning mill of only love stories and love triangles for the past 30 years!

Surprised? you shouldnt be. Look at the demographic they are addressing.
Who goes to theatres?
Couples looking for a romantic date. Desperate guys trying to get their woman feel mushy and give-in. Get lucky maybe. College crowds - whose do all and end all of life is overloaded with managing their flaring hormones.
that's 80% of your film viewing audience. NOW - what would these people want to watch?
Action - well guys maybe. a few girls. Comedy - why not! lets have some fun! Romance? WHY NOT!!!!!
Gets your partner mushy - check.
Maintains and propagates the illusion of love on which your relationship is based - check.
Does not distort the constructs your mind has made over a lifetime - check!
done deal.
so, what will bollywood make?  - MORE ROM-COMS! MORE ROMANCES!
the cycle is an unending one.

the best example of the overpowering NEED for romance is the RIP-OFF tollywood and bollywood performed on MEMENTO - they took a pure psychological thriller - turned it into one big, warped, panzy love story and it became the biggest hit of the year!

Media propagates romance and the concept of true love - people fall for it - weave their lives around it - want to adhere to it even when it starts falling apart. kind of reminiscent of that age old proverb -
"small lies need have bigger wings to cover them."
and this little butterfly called TRUE LOVE has turned into an all destructive dragon!

films display true love - media propagates true love - brands sell on true love - people desperate with insecurities live on these illusions - illusion soon turn to realities - and even when the realities are shattered, people continue to hold on to them.... why, coz their entire life now revolves on believing that its TRUE!
[pretty much like the man who buys a 5000 rupee TV set for 10,000 rupees - with a lot of sacrifices at his end. When others buy it for 5,000, he knows he's been duped. BUT he'll keep on justifying his purchase with a million self proclaimed reasons despite all evidence against it. But he wont accept that he's been duped - coz accepting that would shatter the illusion that he has so painfully created to keep him sane.]

A copied Indian REALITY show is based on the human tendency to  be sexually unfaithful. They catch 'CHEATERS' by making temptation available to them. And when they do cheat by giving in to temptation, they are 'caught'.
BUT it presents it in a light that this giving in to temptation, is UNNATURAL. (which is bullshit)
Yes, Commitment exists and yes, Cheating is bad, and wrong. but what is REALLY wrong and unnatural is forced fidelity/commitment. but that is not shown. because THAT, wont sell.

What you see in a TV show is what a channel wants to show you. Channels want to show whatever will increase its ratings and therefore get it more advertising selling space. not the TRUTH - why? coz nobody wants the TRUTH.
What do you think people want - a true documentary where nothing explodes? or an exciting, action packed film where everything explodes at the hint of a crash?

The whole concept of TRUE LOVE is like a huge comfort blanket bubble. People spend so much time, believing it, dreaming it and building up to it that when it finally does happen and wane away or even break - they are self blinded to the truth staring at them. They chose to believe in the illusion over the reality.


Love, is a valid emotion. 'true love' is a concept. and therein lies the difference.
When you love someone it is not the same as being 'in love' with someone. 'in love' is closer to the concept of 'true love'. Romanticised. Fictionalised. and SOLD to the masses.

Psychologically speaking, lets first segregate the fact from fiction.
What is popularised as 'true love' is actually what psychologists would refer to as PASSIONATE LOVE or INFATUATE LOVE. and that is actually just a PART of love.
People habituated to the widely propagated concept of 'TRUE LOVE' generally confuse love, liking and commitment to be one and the same thing - that is where they face disillusionment.

try understanding the sternberg's triangular theory of LOVE:

In a common scenario, you must have noticed that if the person who is 'in love' happens to find another person attractive or has sex with another - suddenly, the whole feeling of 'true love' vanishes! hows that? And this is more visible amongst the socially dominant sex.

This is partially and very notably because in most cases LOVE is reduced to just a matter of social principles and GENITAL SLAVERY.
Love is not regarded as an emotion, but as something dependant of social rules and popularised concepts of sexual commitment over true emotions.
But as steingberg's model correctly depicts - COMMITMENT is actually the most emotionless part of the construct of love. and most relationships in today's world are more about commitment, rather than love. and then people ask, where is the love. funny isnt it?

have a look at this venn diagram: it's desbribed in urban terms, but its a picture of reality. as is.

LOVE - SEX - FRIENDSHIP (LIKING) are three different circles that don't necessarily always overlap.

Romantic love - which is more like a drug - overpowering your senses as powerfully as cocaine (yes, its lab proven) is a physiological-emotional reaction.
It generates high levels of euphoria, fearlessness, and willingness to commit and oversee logic. BUT Love is something that naturally lasts somewhere between 18 months to three years.
And to an extent, the more you are exposed to each other, the faster it will wane off.

Is it possible to feel romantic / passionate love for more than one person at the same time?
YES. it is.

Does that mean committed relationships can last only up to a maximum of three years? don't jump to conclusions just yet. hold your horses.

Friendship/Liking - is a more long lasting emotion. Something that can last a lifetime. and therefore is much more important in a long lasting relationship that love itself at times. After the love fizzles out - you can or cannot, may or may not reignite it (yes you can). But FRIENDSHIP or LIKING an individual, lasts. maybe not for eternity or whatever, but way longer than love does.

So the whole concept of opposites attract, is pure romantic propaganda bullshit. A relationship between TRUE opposites would flicker away as fast as it burnt.

SEX - is a BIOLOGICAL NEED. just as love and friendship are psychological/social needs. Not only is it principally wrong to view them in the same balance - but it is also what makes abstinent people who disguise themselves in the guise of social power or religious godliness the most commonly known sexual predators. Coz it's unnatural! The true basic / carnal needs of human beings are FOOD, CLOTHING, SHELTER, SEX and BEING LOVED. (yes, sex and love are ACTUALLY unrelated though great when together.)
there is research (much cold-hearted as it maybe) to prove that the lack of either one of these can lead to death.
(btw - just so you know, human beings, just as every other animal on the planet are born potentially bisexual - it is common occurence for straight men convicted for long years, to turn gay in prisons and be perfectly straight again when out.)

As you would notice in the venn diagram - the most powerful relationships are those in which all three circles overlap - but it in no way suggests that THAT is the only way it can be.
it is perfectly natural to have friedns you love but dont have sex with.
you can have friends you have sex with but dont feel passionate love for.
you can fall in love with a friend/s and have sex with him/her/them. and its all still perfectly natural.

Polyamourous relationships have survived very well even in the modern day scenario - and very well too despite the social criticism. read the following excerpt from ADAM LEIS's study on polyamory:
"Can you have more than one boyfriend or girlfriend outside your marriage?" Well of course! It is very important to remember, though, that you must respect the wishes of your spouse. If they do not agree with a polyamorous, nonmogomous relationship, then perhaps you two should sit down and have a talk about what is best for each other.

Though it is importnat to note that people often use POLYAMORY or OPEN RELATIONSHIPS as a shield to be outright frivoulous and sexually irresponsible. That is NOT polyamory. Any kind of relationship that harms or disrespects the other person, is wrong. and in the long run, unhealthy at various levels.

In short, the point here is that even if polyamory is or isnt your cup of tea, the overhyped concept of sexual exclusivity, is nothing but disguised genital slavery. and that Love, is not the same as sex or liking. or vice versa.

Pop questions: 
try to think deeply, put yourself in these shoes and answer these questions...
What would you do if the person you really loved and wanted to see happy would be better off being in a relationship with someone else? 

If you cannot sexually satisfy the person you love and vice versa - but you both still totally love each other. and are happiest with each other. What would you do?

What if the person you love also loves someone else too and has sex with that person?

What if the person you love loves someone else too but does not have sex with that person?

These are open ended question. i'm not looking for an answer. and there's no right or wrong. just be honest to yourself and answer them. these are just to make you think. think about it.

Love, honestly, is everywhere. It is an emotion.
it doesn't really come with conditions and social constraints.

the expectations we burden the emotion with come from our own social constructs and popularised concepts propagated by the media. Don't give in to that.

Love the people you love. Don't try to fit them into the little boxes of expectations that you have been fooled into calling TRUE LOVE.
What truly matters in a relationship with any person you like - whether romantic or not, is honesty and respect for that person and their needs. Passionate Love and Sex, if there, are the cherries on the cake. Enjoy them. from time to time. they are beautiful! BUT, never mistake the CHERRY for the entire cake - therein will lie the ache called dissapointment.
AND if you STILL want to be quixotic and chase a unicorn called 'true love' in a fairyland of rainbows, well, there's not much i can say - just be careful and don't be conned. there are a million people out there trying to sucker you.

Keep your head on your shoulders, your genitalia well protected, and your heart where it should be.

Pushkaraj Shirke


  1. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/lifestyle/lifematters/blogs/ask-sam/how-long-does-it-take-to-fall-in-and-out-of-love-20110629-1gpwt.html

  2. health care professionals have considered three primary drives of sexual desire, each with their own neurotransmitter:

    Lust (horniness) --driven by testosterone.

    Romantic love--driven by serotonin and norepinephrine.

    Attachment--driven by oxytocin and vasopressin.

    In Intimacy & Desire
    there is a fourth "drive" of sexual desire that's never been considered. It not only differs dramatically from the other three drives, it's stronger than the other three combined:
    Our urge to develop and maintain a solid sense of self.

    excerpt from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intimacy-and-desire/201108/developing-self-greatly-shapes-your-sexual-desire

  3. I had once written as my fb status that, "love is just a biochemical reaction, whose effect lasts for a few months to few years and 'POOF'OVER.FINISH and then they ask where has all d love gone " ... i received a lot of flak for this comment sheesh :-/ - Neha

  4. I stumbled on your blog and I love it, Pushkaraj Shirke. I wonder if Bollywood's monomaniacal focus on RomCom's is because of arranged marriage in India. American women are all too familiar with the cycle of flirtation, sex/relationship and then you realize what a horrnedous jerk/bitch you're with and move on. Depressing rather than exciting. American RomCom's are more about post-divorce or unrequited love - where two people established roles as coworkers, friends, etc, were in relationships with other people but had these feelings for each other that they couldn't act on. Movies tap into suppressed desires - hence Hollywood's obsession with violence and, especially, car chases is because America's intolerance towards violence and strict enforcement of driving laws. You can be charged with assault for THREATENING to hit someone. Of course, if you're the son of the governor or an ex-star football player, you can get away with murder.

    Here, in SoCal, if you park where you're not supposed to, they come by every half hour and give tickets. You have to come to a complete stop at stop signs: I have to do 48 hours of community service for one time of failing to come to a complete stop before the stop sign. Mind you, I DID stop but a small part of my car was in front of the stop sign. From now on, whenever I see a movie where a big rig truck completely flattens a stop sign, it will give me tremendous joy.

  5. thank you. and yes, most and almost all commercial cinema is out selling people the 'dream'they can never attain in real life.
    its intresting knowing these supressed issues people have about road rage i the US. no onder games like NEED FOR SPEED, BURNOUT and MIDTOWN MADNESS do so well. not to mention story less movies like fast and the furious!

  6. Bit hard to digest but very much in line with reality!! Good job

  7. Refreshing. Looks like we've got a cynic. :-)

  8. Well that escalated pretty quickly! Reading this was a good experience, good questions raised in the end.


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