True Love or Success: Should we Pursue One or the Other?
by Paul Ewing
“True love”? “Success”? What are these things? Before deciding upon one or the other, or neither, we need to understand the concepts. I hesitate to attempt definitions for either as they are in some ways indefinable. But let me take a stab at it. “True love” means romantic love, love of the sort first defined by knights and damsels in the Middle Ages. In that case, true love was unattainable, unrequited love—the woman on a pedestal (frequently married) worshipped afar by a man who demonstrated his love by jousting or combat in Crusades. This evolved into the kind of love portrayed in the movie Gone With the Wind with Scarlet O’Hara ‘loving’ Rhett Butler, not to mention Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. True love in all of the above seems impractical. So what about “success”? According to American philosopher William James, “the moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success. That—with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success—is our national disease.” Success may be practical but we might lose our integrity in the pursuit of it. Having said such negative things about both ‘true love’ and ‘success,’ I’d say that it might be better to avoid both.