"If you're not with the one you love, love the one you're with" [An old axiom, later a song]
The reader should be forewarned that this blog is written partly with "tongue in cheek." Some years ago Johnny Standley created quite a popular song ("It's In The Book") in which he "critically" examines the words in "Little Bo Peep," reducing the nursery rhyme to nonsense in an amusing parody of literary analysis.
While my intention in looking at the words of "Love The One You're With" is a more serious commentary on how to live, I understand the risk of some readers finding my analysis equally funny. But what the heck? Since life is short, why not live dangerously and provocatively?
The counsel at the core of "Love The One You're With," while obviously applying to personal relationships, is also clearly applicable to other situations/predicaments in which we commonly find ourselves. In the broadest possible application, rather than bemoaning our mortality or human condition, enjoy what we can and, as the poet advises, "take the cash and let the credit go."
We can imagine or wish for an alternative to our inescapable existential "predicament", but fantasies will not change the reality that our only option, other than this fantasy world, depression or suicide, is to "love the life" or play the hand we have been given, seeking those experiences that make us feel most alive and fulfilled. No less than Walter Pater, the pre-eminent advocate of "art for art's sake", advised this emphasis in this memorable quote from the famous conclusion of his book, RENAISSANCE: "To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy. is success in life."
The immediate context of the song itself is that the speaker (singer) is "down and confused 'cause [his] baby is so far away." Instead of people in this situation becoming angry, distraught and sad, the song goes on to advise that you can "turn your heartache right into joy" by "lov[ing]" the one you're with. Extracting the underlying principle, specific examples in other areas of life would be "love the job you have" rather than be depressed about the more ideal job you don't have, love the body you have rather than longing for an ideal body you'll never have, and enjoy the home you're "stuck" living in rather than crying about not having the home you've always wanted.
Given that such counsel for instant gratification and acceptance of what is, if followed, is an admitted compromise with and/or departure from traditional values of faithfulness and aspiring to greater heights (e.g. "The Impossible Dream"), this song certainly is not going to win any prizes for lifting us up "to more than [we] can be."
But expediency in seizing the moment (carpe diem) for whatever it has to offer can be a kind of wisdom worthy of serious consideration just as much as following traditional values is.
Since this blog has been "loosely" developed around quotes/truisms giving advice, I am tempted to conclude with the "waffling" compromise toward life expressed in the modern saying "whatever floats your boat," but that would really make this posting both a parody itself and an easy target for parody that I stated was my intention to avoid. So, I'll conclude, instead, with the course of action recommended in Hamlet, "By indirection, find directions out." That should really leave everyone puzzled!
Causes Brenden Allen Supports