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Saturday, 31 March 2007


This article (which I found via 3QD) fascinates me. It's about the story of Natascha Kampusch, the girl who was imprisoned by her abductor for eight and a half years. I'm not sure if it's right in saying that the reason people find the story so fascinating is because it's a prime example of the romantic love story (man pursues woman, cannot bear to be without her, etc) gone wrong. Personally, the first question that came into my mind was to wonder how you would recover from the way that such isolation could stilt your social development. What strikes me about the article is the bare-faced way it states the darker side of the archetype of passionate love. It's so true. So very, very true: "love" - passionate attraction - makes people selfish. Don't I know it. In fact, I suspect that a lot of people know this; I can't be the only person to have experienced it directly. But how often do you hear it said?

And how do you distinguish "good" love from "bad"? Is it a matter of the other person being capable of keeping all of their selfishness in check? Or is it simply a matter being able to keep as much selfishness in check as the object of your love currently requires? In other words, if she can't bear to be away from you, either, does it matter that you would end up acting like a jerk if she didn't feel that way?

It used to really bother me that, if I fell in (mutual) love with a man, that might just mean that the only reason he wasn't treating me badly was because I loved him back. It bothers me less these days because I've met enough decent men to believe that there's actually a fairly good chance that this wouldn't be the case :-)

EDIT: And yes, I did worry that I might come to behave that way myself. Certainly I have no doubt that women are capable of being selfish and obsessive in their love. All I can say is that when it came to the crunch, I passed. My respect to all those who can say the same.

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