By Rooda Al Neama (@ThinkDubai)
“Love is blind” is a saying many of us use whether we are trying to prove a point to our friends about their love interest or when we realize flaws we have never seen before in those we love. What we do not realize or particularly know is the origin of the phrase; I mean have you ever considered the fact that if you say “love is blind” to any person in this world they would understand you and nod their head in agreement? It is one of those clichés that never gets old or too sappy.
It started with the Romans and Greeks that had a love God by the name of Eros, translated to Cupid in Latin. When sculpting him, they had a blindfold over his eyes to indicate that love is blind as lovers are blind to the faults and flaws of those they love; and so the saga started.
In literature, the phrase was used across cultures. Shakespeare uses this idea and phrase into “The Merchant of Venice” saying “For I am much ashamed of my exchange: But love is blind and lovers cannot see” re-emphasizing the fact that when you are indeed in love, it blinds you to the point where the other persons shameful traits and habits are overlooked. In Arabian Literature, the renowned Kais Ibn Al Molawah, also known as Majnoon Laila (Crazy about Laila), when describing Laila in his poetry he would focus on her perfection to an exaggerated extent. In one of his poetry verses he says “If the full moon shall not rise today, you can take its place with your glowing beauty, and if the sun did not shine, you will take its place at dawn” showing how his love for her blinded him to the extent where she seemed perfect to even replace the moon and the sun.
In religions, we see that “love is blind” has been incorporated as well with the legendary Priest Valentinus who was jailed for holding marriage ceremonies in secret and consequently put in jail. He then fell in love with the jailer’s blind daughter and prayed for her eyesight to return. Miraculously, she regains her sight but as with every tragic hero, he was sentenced to be executed. The day of his execution is celebrated today as Valentines Day, the day of love.
In Islam, Al-Imam Ali, an Islamic scholar said that one cannot have a clear mind with love as the enemy of the mind is love and that many minds are prisoners for the prince of love. He concludes that blindness is the faithful partner of love.
Science has also been influenced by this phenomenon, leading researchers to study the human mind to find a scientific explanation for our behavior when in love. A recent study by two professors in the University College of London studying the different states of the brain found that being in love inhibits negative emotions such as anger. They also found that being in love affects the part of the brain that is involved in making judgments about the person you are in love with. This proves that when a person is in love, their hormonal system changes and prevents them from actually seeing the person they are in love with in a complete realistic picture but rather a narrowed view of their perfection.
Through the many cultures, religions and science, we can confidently conclude that love is indeed blind. Whether we have proof or not, we can observe ourselves and find that the way we perceive those we love is completely perfect and very different from what the person is in reality.
So the question is: love is blind but is it mute?
June 2011’s issue:
Here We Start – Community Talk – Food for Thought – Just Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art – Microscopic Me – Scenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow – To The Point – Words, Observations, and Ramblings