In the play I am looking for today in Banksy for the Wimp: Shakespeare Edition we meet the archetypal lovers, rather star crossed in their case.
Love – some refer to it as an international language that overrides any barriers. And yet, the cultural differences in the way we conceptualize love make it impossible to come up with a universal definition. Even the heart, which I use as well in my emoji code as a stand in for the concept, doesn’t mean the same to all of us. That’s a main problem with a language that uses symbols in need of interpretation. An ‘L’ is an ‘L’ while a heart – well, even in my code it appears again as stand in for the concept of life that includes being alive as well as survive etc. There it is accompanied by a visual image of heartbeat.
On the other hand, that’s also the advantage of an unusual code like the emoji code I devised. It makes it possible to illustrate a connection that goes beyond the visual. It is more than a thought-terminating cliché that love keeps us alive – as a single person and as a species.
Love has a biological basis, in our brains not hearts though, that involves three neural circuitries including neurotransmitter. They enable us to care for and identify with another person to the point of unconditional selflessness that we show in our actions from momentary lust to long-term attraction and commitment. Thus love is a major facilitator for interpersonal relationships which lead to offsprings and the care for them as well as to sharing of resources, feelings of safety and security, and mutual defense.
Yet, while love means giving it is at the same time very egoistic. Since we have a sense of self we all jonse to be recognized as an individual and to be cherished for who we are. Love in friendship and family, but even more so in a committed relationship is what gives us this sense of recognition. Our being turns from something dissolving into nothingness through time into a blip on someone’s radar into an existing universe.
Unfortunately, our real interpersonal relationships become rarer instead of more. Families and long standing communities break apart. Caring becomes a weakness because it makes us vulnerable. The part of love desired is the part that gives us recognition. To achieve that we overshare, the more exclusive, the more explosive, the more unnatural the more attention, the better. We become so confused we end up not finding each other anymore. And it hurts.
The play I am looking for today isn’t just about star crossed lovers. In Shakespeare’s version of the tale their death out of love reconciles their feuding families. From Dante (canto VI, Purgatory) we know however that the Montague’s were a family from Verona, the Capulet’s a Cremonese family. They were political rivals who played out their feud all over Lombardy until their continued warfare led to both families’ destruction. The difference between reality and fiction, between death and life was love.
It’s not that hard now anymore to tell me the name of the play, is it? Do so in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win an original paper version of a storyboard of your choice from this series.