How can we transcend our romantic delusions and fantasy feelings and build our loving relationships on reality?
Romantic love might be the most pervasive myth of Western culture. Romance is a cultural invention, not a natural phenomenon.
We have been so deeply indoctrinated into the romantic mythology that we have no awareness of the process of emotional programming that created our romantic responses.
Popular culture provides the main ways we learn how to 'fall in love'. Movies, television, popular songs, novels, & magazines
all train our feelings into the wonderful delusion of romance. Our romantic games would be harmless if everyone knew
that romantic love is a fantasy feeling.
But while still under the influence of romantic illusions,
some people make the life-altering mistake of getting married. Perhaps we guard against
every form of political or religious mythology,
but what about the most potentially harmful myth; romantic love? Religious indoctrination demonstrates emotional programming. Is 'being saved' the religious equivalent of 'falling in love'? We are taught what emotions to expect then we try to create them. Most of us emerged from childhood
believing that romantic love is a natural phenomenon.
When we 'fall in love', we seem to be possessed
by an irresistible passion, filling our hearts.
So, how could these romantic feelings be a cultural creation, invented several centuries ago?
Before the Middle Ages, some people probably experienced
exaggerated, fantasy feelings close to what we now call 'romantic love.' But such accidental eruptions of personal, deluded feelings did not become the passion of the masses
until the French troubadours refined and spread the emotional game of love. Who were these people who as a matter of historical fact
started the feeling that has now become a taken-for-granted phenomenon? The French troubadours were traveling entertainers who
put on plays,...