I want to continue a discussion opened on a friend's blog. He writes:
It is my opinion that mankind does not seek love out of a desire to be codependent, but rather out of a desire for acceptance.
The obvious question arises, "Can a man obtain the same kind of acceptance from his family or friends as he can a lover or spouse?" Tony replies:
Personally, I feel I can achieve only a certain level of acceptance with family because, quite obviously, they had no hand in picking me. They are, in effect, stuck with me.
I agree with his analysis, but it begs two questions: Why is the acceptance from family and friends different from a lover or spouse? How does one define the terms for acceptance in either case?
Foremost, I think the difference in acceptance is obvious: sexuality. The acceptance of family and friends lacks a sexual motive, one hopes, while the lover's acceptance requires said motive by definition. No matter how magnificent a poetic verse shapes the romantic definition of love, pure sexual attraction is essential to its existence. The only difference between love and platonic adoration, and, thus, the only difference between a lover's acceptance and a friend's acceptance, is the lack or presence of sexual attraction.
As one discusses acceptance, a definitional analysis seems reasonable. What does it mean to accept? On what basis is someone accepted? To accept is to condone the actions, philosophy, existence of another person--or at least the tolerance thereof. When we accept someone, we are saying, "I am willingly tolerating or condoning you as I currently know you with no obligation for the future." The statement is harsh, but, as I often reiterate, expectation, in all of its forms, is difficult, if not impossible, to rational defend. Just because I accept someone now, does not mean I will accept them in five minutes or vice versa. This leads directly into the answer of the next question.
People are accepted and denied based on their actions. On what else can one be judged? Motives are an interesting judge for character, but our acceptance of a motivated man is still based on his actions. If a man kills in self-defense, his motive is survival and even our laws, which state that killing is wrong, accept this man's actions. Furthermore, even if prosecutors have "motive" for a crime, they must still prove a crime occurred, that the action occurred. If and how people act on their motives is more so a basis for acceptance than their motive for doing so.
Action even provides a basis for sexual attraction. Assume this hypothetical male situation: A beautiful woman, wearing a form-fitting red dress, saunters in your general direction. Her eyes connect with yours, and she reaches out her hand as if to communicate. Jackpot. In a calm, seductive voice she asks, "Do you have a light?" A cigarette dangles from her outstretched hand. Repulsive. Certainly this example is not universal as some people condone smoking, but to me and several of my friends, a female smoker is an immediate turn off. Her actions, more so than her appearance (a topic for later discussion), are the basis for acceptance on a physical level.
Just my $0.17, friends. Please reply accordingly.