Is Love Truly Blind, And What About Love At First Sight?
The expression “love is blind” is one that is being popularly used today. Historically, these words were first found in Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale where he wrote “For love is blynd alday and may nat see”, translated as for love is always blind and cannot see.
The expression only became common when Shakespeare took it up as one of his favourite lines, appearing in several of his plays. In The Merchant Of Venice for example, Shakespeare wrote “…But love is blind and lovers cannot see, The pretty follies that themselves commit…”
Could Shakespeare be right, is love truly blind? This has been an age long question begging for answer. Fortunately, science has come to the rescue, indicating that the blindness of love is not just a figurative matter.
According to a research study conducted by the University College London in 2014, the feelings of love suppresses the activity of the areas of the brain that controls critical thought. That one research may not be enough to draw conclusions, but the findings agrees with what many people believe.
So if you believe, like Shakespeare and the UCL researchers, that love is blind, you are not wrong. But what then becomes of love at fight sight? Can blind love see?
The way I see it, love is a gradient with three key stages. There is love at first sight, there is love with ‘clear-sight’ and then there is blind love. That order represents the notable transitional stages of a growing love. So yes love could be blind but often it can see clearly. It just depends on what point you are on the love gradient.
Love at first sight
The first moment you spot a potential partner can be very decisive. Love seeds may be sown during the first few minutes of your meeting, growing instantaneously into young love. But such love isn’t blind as its seed is a mutual connection based on first impression.
Love at first sight grows out of instantaneous acknowledgement of the other person’s likeable qualities. This may be anchored on looks, wealth, prestige, power, intelligence, smiles, voice and other similar characteristics. Once there is a match in the key qualities that a person desires in a partner, there is a possibility of love at first sight.
This stage of love is simply an excessive admiration and can be likened to infatuation. The love may or may not last. It is possible to remain in this stage of love for a really long time. But if the relationship is lucky, it may quickly advance into the next stages of love. Otherwise, it dwells in infatuation for long and eventually come to an end.
Love with clear-sight
After the storm of love at first sight comes clarity of mind. This paves way for a closer scrutiny of the person you are in relationship with, leading to the next stage of love on the gradient. One built on similar or/and complementary needs.
The early stage of love at clear-sight is full of self questioning. You begin to ask question like, “Do they have the right qualities?” Matching similar/complementary qualities are ticked against a mental checklist. It is often the case that while you are carrying out this examination, your partner is doing the same thing too, crosschecking their mental list with what you have to offer.
A partner’s list may transcend sex, manners, hygiene, temperance, honesty and all other characteristics that couldn’t be measured at first sight. They may even begin to measure the extent of some of the qualities that made them fall in love at first sight. For example, they may want to ascertain how much money or power you have. With increasing knowledge, the love existing in the relationship grows or depreciates.
Once this business-like stage of self questioning and mental list-matching is successful, the relationship stands firmly on love with clear-sight. Both parties now know what they are in for, or at least what they are getting. As the love grows, romance and intimacy heightens. The focus of the relationship then shifts more towards building trust, communication, commitment and shared interest. At some point, a love with clear-sight could become more like blind love.
Blind love is love that has grown beyond the infatuation of love at first sight and the self-interest of love at clear-sight. It is an unselfish love characterized by devoted commitment and sacrifice. With blind love, as Shakespeare puts it, lovers cannot see the pretty ‘follies’ that themselves commit. Yes, with blind love, lovers can sometimes be perceived as not thinking rightly. They may make unconventional decisions and take uncommon actions. And that is understandable.
The selflessness of blind lovers makes them place their relationship above themselves. A partner’s happiness becomes dependent on the other person’s happiness. At this stage someone would say “I will do anything for you” and mean every word of it. Blind love is what you may refer to as unconditional love. Only a few relationships attain this level of Shakespearian love.
Some relationships never make it pass ‘love at first sight’ while many dwell for long in ‘love with clear-sight’. The transition time varies across relationships and the people involved. Some people may jump quickly through the first two stages of love into blind love while others may never truly make it there.
So is there love at first sight? I would say yes there is. Is love blind? Yes it can be, but sees more clearly with the mind. Between these two extremes lies the space where most relationships dwell and grow.
Love is a journey, travel it. And don’t worry if you go ‘blind’, because that’s when you will truly see.
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