The Relationships Arena: Start Here
The Search for Intimacy
". . . and yet, to say the truth,
reason and love keep little company together nowadays."
- William Shakespeare
Sometimes, the course of true love runs less smoothly than others.
"The LiveReal Relationship Arena" is the branch of our overall mission that focuses on relationships.
(Our "overall" mission here at LiveReal, to put it into a few words, is to search for the truth about all this stuff. (There's a deeper dive into that here.) What kind of "stuff"? Well, we'd describe it as "the important stuff" in life: The Big Questions, "the meaning of life," the "what's-it-all-about-ultimately-seriously-for-real" kind of things, etc.
So, our mission for "The LiveReal Relationship Arena" is to "search for the truth about all this stuff" on the topic of relationships. (Primarily the "intimate relationships/dating and marriage" scene right now. We're working to expand our scope more, but we had to start somewhere.)
"We are all so much together
but we are all dying of loneliness."
- Albert Schweitzer
OK, so how do we do this?
Our approach is to search the world over - through a lot of bull - to try to find real nuggets of practical wisdom. We search anywhere and everywhere we can. Through mountains of information, in science, in religion, under rocks, from various grandmas - anywhere. If there's a headhunting voodoo-doctor cannibal in the bowels of a jungle who really seems to know something about relationships, we'll listen to him (or her). (And then probably get the heck out of there.) Then we gather those "nuggets" here and talk about them. Our full process/methodology/approach is described more here.
"I forgot how difficult it was
to be a human being.
Nobody looks at each other anymore."
- Thornton Wilder
So let's bite off just one piece of it: marriage.
Getting married today could well be like someone embarking on a long journey without a map, a compass, or a clear idea of where exactly they're heading and why, armed only with a load of enthusiasm and a lot of good intentions. Without the tools, the maps, the directions, the right orientation, the "relationship smarts," (that are only too often learned the hard way, and too late)...it's only too easy to wind up, in a shipwreck of the heart. (Not to drive a metaphor into the ground...)
Relationships can be the most important aspects of our lives; yet they can also be be one of the most puzzling. We can spend more time researching the purchase of a new car, or watching ballgames, or reading cookbooks than trying to understand what's actually going on in our own intimate relationships. Most folks don't start out wanting to get divorced or being heartbroken repeatedly, or becoming a lousy parent, or getting abused, or being the one in school or office that nobody likes, or treating people badly, or being alone. Yet we seem to have more solid, scientific knowledge about the mating rituals of the Mexican Walking Fish or Hairy-Nosed Wombat (actual animals) than we do about our fellow human beings.
". . . we know more about the courtship and mating rituals
of virtually every form of wildlife
other than young men and women..."
- Wall Street Journal Review and Outlook
And that seems a little weird to us.
A lot of folks seem to take it for granted that relationships are things you just "do."
You just "figure it out as you go along;" you just "do it," and "do the best you can, and that's all you can do." In other words, every person has to figure it out for themselves. Every person is on their own. There's nothing to "study" or "learn." You just do it.
That seems a little weird to us too. After all, it takes a degree of skill, knowledge, and practice to learn to draw, build a bridge, throw a football. It takes years of training to learn plumbing, fixing teeth, or running a chicken farm. Intimate relationships, by almost all accounts, are much more complex than any of these; yet we receive almost no "training" in that. Schools apparently find it dreadfully important that we learn leaf collections, and diagramming sentences, and the various parts of cells, and atoms, and cut-up frogs...but relationships? The opposite sex? Loneliness? Why a boy is terrified to tell a girl that she's pretty? Why people choose to be with the people they do? No - that's something everyone have to figure out for themselves. Now, back to that urgent business of diagramming sentences...
Seems weird to us.
Relationships seem to be both an "art" and a "science."
- An "art" side to it that's subjective, personal, intuitive, instinctive, that yes, every person does have to figure out for themselves, as only they can. But part "science," as well, even if it's a "science" in its infancy. We are not the first humans in the universe that have ever been involved in a relationship; billions of others have come before us. Is there a chance that at least a few of them have learned a few decent tips they could pass on to us, to save us from having to learn the hard way?
"Most people see the problem of love
primarily as that of being loved,
rather than that of loving, of one's capacity to love."
- Erich Fromm
Makes sense to us. It seems to us like there's no need for every person to start from scratch, with a blank page, reinventing the wheel of relationships and dating and the whole game. And most of us know that - everyone intuitively looks to advice from friends, moms, grandmas, Oprah - it's no small stretch to imagine that some folks might actually know more about relationships than others. Even a lot more. And they might have nuggets of wisdom to share.
Our job, then, is to try to find those nuggets.
Nuggets of wisdom from folks who have genuinely made discoveries about the inner workings of relationships, who seem to really know something - and uncover what they really know, gather it in one place, and talk about it.
Because good relationships don't come easy. If humanity has found much in the way of real wisdom throughout history, it doesn't seem to have been doing a great job of passing it on to regular folks. (If anything, we seem much better at passing on bad habits.)
Which is why we're taking it upon ourselves to try to figure it out.
To collect whatever wisdom we can find, gather it in one place, and apply it to our own lives. Because we seriously need it.
At the end of the day, there's this small, strange word: "love." People talk about it, long for it, think about it, search for it, read books about it, sing songs about it, write about it, tell other people to do it to each other, and so on...but how many of us really experience it? Practice it? Understand it? Live it?
That something that we, your trusty, cuddly, loveable LiveReal Agents, are working on.
We aren't relationship ninjas (who is?) - but we've made what we believe are some genuine, valid discoveries that we think are worth sharing.
And we've found a few other folks who seem to know more than us.
There's a lot of unconquered, unexplored, untamed territory to cover in these realms.
We intend to explore it.
"A thought transfixed me:
for the first time in my life
I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets,
proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers.
The truth - that love
is the ultimate and the highest goal
to which man can aspire."
- Viktor Frankl,
on his experience in a Nazi concentration camp
"It is a serious thing to live
in a world of possible gods and goddesses,
to realize that the dullest person you meet
may one day be something which, if you saw it now,
you would be strongly tempted to worship;
or else a horror and a corruption
which you meet now only in a nightmare.
All day long
we are helping each other
to one or the other of these two destinations..."
- C. S. Lewis