Why does love hurt? Love hurts for a myriad of reasons–sometimes it is because our love is unrequited, sometimes it is because we fall out of love, sometimes it is about jealousy, but in all cases the real issue of why love hurts stems from the fact that there is a gap between the reality of a selfish, competitive world–to which we belong–and the ideal, selfless world that we are transported to when we ‘fall’ for another person who we dream is perfect.
Unfortunately none of us are perfect, because we all variously carry within us damage caused by growing up in a selfish, competitive world–we all suffer from what is known as the human condition. However the beauty of women can lead us to believe that someone is actually innocent, and that perfect love can exist. The biologist Jeremy Griffith explains ‘that men could dream that women were actually innocent and that, through that partnership, they could share in that innocent state, while for their part, women could use the fact that men were inspired by their image of innocence to delude themselves that they actually were innocent. Men and women could ‘fall in love’, let go of reality and dream of an ideal world.’
The problem with ‘letting go of reality’ was that reality could not be denied forever–we weren’t actually innocent. Whether it was our own selfish reality, or that of our partner, or just the world in general, eventually reality would intrude on our dream which as all of us who have been in love know only too well, can hurt a great deal. That is not to say that a deep friendship and respect wouldn’t emerge and continue to grow in its place, but the shock of emerging from the dream back into the cold, selfish ‘real’ world does really hurt–so much so that some people never get over it, and then never let themselves go back, never wanting to be hurt by love again–which is why Cat Stevens sang ‘the first cut is the deepest’.
To really answer the question ‘why does love hurt’, we needed to be able to explain why there was a gap between ‘reality’ and the ideal world of love and selflessness that we let ourselves fall into when we fell in love. Most wonderfully, biology is now able to provide the full explanation of why we humans are variously angry, alienated and egocentric. This comprehensive explanation and defense of the origin of our non-ideal state, namely the human condition, is available in this Introductory Video Series and Part 3 of Freedom Book 1, by Jeremy Griffith.
The beauty of this explanation is that it turns out that humans have had to be ‘non-ideal’, that is, we had no choice but to be uncooperative. Griffith explains that we all have a loving instinctive orientation that evolved over millions of years, however with the emergence of consciousness some two million years ago, there came a juncture when our conscious intellect challenged our instincts for control, and a terrible battle broke out between them. The effect of this battle was the extremely competitive, selfish and aggressive state that we call the human condition.
Finally the explanation is here that explains that having to suffer being non-ideal has been a heroic state. Carl Jung said that, ‘wholeness for humans depends on the ability to own their own shadow’. Now both men and women will be able to view reality with all its selfishness and flaws, with complete compassion–we will be able to own our shadow instead of having to escape it by ‘falling in love’. This is a love that won’t end in hurt and tears–there will be no hurt and disillusionment because this is based securely in first principle biology–and so it can only bring more and more true, lasting joy.