Sexual attraction operates at close range, like magnetism, with which it has long been identified, or really close up, like the strong nuclear force that holds atoms together. To hang together in intimate carouse, two nucleons must overcome mutual repulsion, not unlike two lovers. Romance operates over long distances, like gravity. Romance and gravity ignore intervening obstacles: sex and electromagnetism may be baffled by them. All these forces, social, animal, and physical, strike a delicate, chaotic balance where together they bring about the complex and lovely self-organized criticality (SOC) that engenders creation itself. If we thinking creatures could share this balance, we’d find ourselves living at the crest of each passing moment, where “energy is eternal delight.”
And failing that, since we are not likely to have nervous systems capable of truly seizing on the instant (carpe diem is such a forlorn expression), we might strive to explore the meandering course where romance and attraction strike their balance. I believe that may be called love, my dear Alma.
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