i cant think straight any longer so im just going to fire these ideas out as they come. ive been trying to write this bit about how romance is almost like a new religion. well I guess not a new religion, its been around for quite some time, maybe its better to say its replaced elements of religion in our culture. i say this because the old school romantic ideas seem to be based on faith. ideas that destiny will provided us with our perfect mate, that there are some forces working on unseen levels moving us toward the other half of our soul. our true love is out there just waiting for us. I think a lot of people take comfort in this idea because if you believe in destiny, it relieves you from a lot of responsibility for your own happiness or, on the other hand, justifies actions that on very human level could be considered nothing else but cruel. more than merely justifying actions though, romance seems to be the whole purpose of sexual relationships. sex becomes a manifestation of that love, as opposed to an end in itself. so the tropes of romance are justifications for the pleasure of sex. which brings up the whole idea of why we seem to feel a need to justify pleasure in the first place? brings up the question of the purpose of pleasure. i think our culture, at least traditionally, has had a problem with having pleasure as a goal in itself, pleasure itself was not useful rather, if it had any connection to the idea of utility at all, it was the universes way of telling you that what you where doing was probably a pretty good idea. food tastes good because we nourishment, sex feels good because we need to propagate the species, whether we like to admit it our not the appeal of violence is that dominating other people feels good and if you could dominate others it increased your own chance of survival. but these are all very basic urges which I assume developed over thousands and thousands, i dont know, i guess millions of years and now have to be tamed and reshaped to fit into our modern culture. for some reason seeking pleasure for no other reason then pleasure itself is seen as base and even crass. ive always thought that what sets us apart from other animals the most was that somewhere in our evolution we stopped adapting to our environments and started changing our environments to suit us. i know this is probably a gross oversimplification but still think it works on an abstract level. this extends to our relationship with pleasure, we now believe pleasure to be the whole purpose to life as opposed to the universe’s way of telling us that we where doing the right thing. so now we have to invent new reasons to replace the most natural ones. sex is no longer about procreation but a manifestation of destiny, food should be a reflection of your personality, violence is legitimised as long as there is a referee present and trophies involved. it seems a large function of culture is the attempt to elevate the role of pleasure in our lives beyond mere gratification and to frame it as a connection to some higher purpose. this ties into ideas of taste, style, and cool. what is taste is not the ability to discern between various strata of pleasure? this is also where the ideas of rules comes into the whole equation. when you deny the “natural” purpose of a certain type of pleasure, you have to create a set of rules to replace the justification. for example, we still want to have sex, yet we dont want to have kids so much. but we justify by saying well as long as your in loving, trust filled, monogamous relationship thats a healthy and functional relationship. granted the rules themselves are always in flux and sometimes the whole point of the game seems to be to find out how you each perceive these rules. anyhow, thoughts?