One of my philosophy professors lectured wildly about love once, yelling: “When you’re in love with someone, that person is the lighthouse of your universe.” (I scrawled it inside Science and Poetry in pencil—lighthouse of your universe—as if I would ever forget that phrase.) He was a delightful caricature of his position. I could swear he literally tore his hair out while howling at us. He went on, “Nothing means as much without that person.” One of the men in the class repeated, incredulous, half-laughing, “So you’re saying you can’t enjoy, like, a vacation, without someone if you’re really in love with them?” “Of course not.” the professor replied. “Not completely. You recognize beauty, but beauty means less if they don’t witness it with you. Beauty is less. You see something sublime and your first thought is that they should be there with you. It’s not as good without them. They illuminate. They make everything more.
Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement, There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for plannning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future—you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college.