WE are all in denial.
Ask the average person about love and he or she will turn up a chin to say: “I don’t believe in that nonsense” or simply dismiss the very notion of selfless passion as “corny.” Yet the most popular books, films and songs are awash with a rivering of love.
When the movie Titanic came out, even the most hardened heart was analyzing Jack’s death and Rose’s class suicide, both done for love. I even witnessed a dust-up between two men after this exchange:
Man Up 1: Jack was a fool, he lost his life for a lie.
Man Up 2: That’s not true!
Man Up 1: You do realize you have just called me a liar….(then he threw punches in bunches).
After that, Man Up 1 became Man Down.
It was madness, the sort of madness that presupposes that love exists and is so widespread as to bolster motion pictures into cinematic (and forensic) immortality.
Love, like “The Force” in history’s biggest film franchise “Star Wars,” is an energy field created by all living things: it surrounds us, penetrates us to bind the world together. And that’s why every great work of art is about love or is under-towed by love. Even war and action movies are predicated on love.
One of the most influential film franchises of all time is Rocky, which is about a down-on-his-luck street brawler who rises from crass to class by dint of a grit and determination infused by ‘heart.’
This is what defines Rocky Balboa.
Not his fists, but his heart.
Rocky is ALL HEART.
That’s why when he goes toe-to-toe with better boxers, they always out-punch and out-class him but never do these opponents out-Rocky him. He’s a champion at heart and this heart pumps him through the lonely morning ritual of rising at four, drinking six raw eggs, and going out to do roadwork en route to world title after world title.
Because of this love, Rocky ensures we are emotionally invested in his character at a very elemental level. His heart tugs at our hidden heroism, our ability to realize our potential and commit to it with all our love.
A work of art without love, either in its portrayal or its inspiration, continually falls short of greatness.
It’s only love that replenishes art and sets us in Groundhog Day mold: living the same day over and over and over again as we create over and over again.
And because we are so consumed by love, the rest of the world disappears along with the periods of dismay and bitterness, revolt and despair, suicidal self-destruction and cynical recklessness, and we are led by love as we recreate that love each time we create love.
Is it any wonder that the love song “”Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran is probably the most listened to song in history?