I’m a freshman student and this is my second semester. After all the excitement that comes with the newcomers’ ceremony and welcoming, I’ve come to meet people, deal with them, understand their motives and then tolerate them. There are no « bad » or « good » people. There are « bad » and « good » experiences that nurture psychological and behavioral patterns, and the more we’re going to emphasize the fact people at AUI are superficial and shallow, bad/good, the more accentuated these aspects would be. We all have defaults we’re ashamed to talk about, avoid to show or let people realize, and it’s not a terrible thing to admit. Yet some people wouldn’t even admit that to themselves. So let me ask you: how can you be able to forgive other people if you do not forgive yourself first? Once you’d forgive yourself, you’d open the door to change and you’ll open yourself to love. And then now I get the point where I ask myself “What is love?” and I find an inner voice whispering inside: “It’s like an iPhone game app. Once you unlock the first stage, you’re ready for the next.” In this case, the first stage is accepting oneself and then getting ready to welcome other people –and eventually the one- in our lives.
Saying this pulls me up to the major “click” that triggered my willingness to write.
Every once in a while, I used to go through the posts on the Facebook page “AUI Confessions” (Al Akhawayn University Confessions). Reading those confessions makes me think AUI is all about love. Oh, let me correct myself; but permit me the word: Sex. (Of course, this does not apply to everyone as I have met a couple of amazing people whose interests are significantly shifted away). Pretty sad though. Girls wanting to either have fun or fall in the arms of their sweet Charming Prince in University, guys wanting to screw around like fools under the pressure of their teenage hormones. Where is the love in all that, tell me? Love is not about waiting to hear a couple of stones thrown up to your windows, it’s not like a savior that is coming to deliver you from the chaos you’re suffering from, for what are you looking forward to flee or avoid? What is there that pressures you so hard as to think love is the only remedy?
We have been too much indoctrinated by the classical cultural portrayal of romantic love in the media. All the fairy tales we read, all the Titanic-like scenarios we watch unfolding before our dazzled eyes… too perverted I’d say. Pervert in a way that it perverts the brain, as it is self contradictory in its very essence; because not only do we tend to remember that “they live happily ever after” but we also unconsciously miss the fact that those very protagonists burst out of families that are torn apart (“divorced parents”, “cheating mother/father”, etc.)
Now I am not aiming to overwhelmingly smash down the theory of love itself, but what I am saying is that we ought to be rational about it and think it through carefully.
Love is both a biological reaction & a social construct. The biological reaction we tend to call “love” is scientifically not intended to last. Like all emotions, love has a biochemical and physiological component (mirror neurons). The heart palpitations, the little butterflies in the stomach and things alike. But these are just immediate reactions on the short-term (longer terms for some types of brain structures) that lead to irrational, emotional and drama-filled scenarios, for the problem is not in starting the relationship in this case but rather to sustain it, which wouldn’t be rather difficult if not impossible.
For the social construct aspect, one can clearly see from the works of Foucault how much of a concept of love was missing in the Classical culture. Before Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliette”, there is nothing such as two people falling in love and ending up living as partners or marrying (and of course, eventually “living happy ever after” *giggles*).
In the Greek period, getting attached to a woman was a sign of weakness (in Homer’s work women were seen as trade, in Mythology, Gods were fond of rape… you could only read about “true love” in Ovid’s work, yet at the time he was considered as a freak).
The ground for love was being set in the West during medieval era. Starting from that time, the concept of love, how it works and governs changed over time. Love today is even getting even too commercial, sometimes even used as a type of propaganda; a random exercise to practice, actively promoted by power: media, state and capitalist classes.
To make long story short (I just looked up what I wrote and realized how much I’ve been dwelling on these facts), love as what everyone seeks (I don’t like to use the terminology of “seeking” as it implies expectations and therefore potentially deceptions), is what is called by the prominent psychologist Barbara Fredrickson as a rather “micro-moment of positivity resonance”. It is that connection, that flow of positive emotions which you share with that other person, and this brings me to my very first founding: You cannot share positive emotions if you do have none. That’s why you have to get yourself prepared to cultivate them in order to spread them around.
And how does that happen? I cannot tell you a magic recipe, as every one of us is different. But if you permit me to share my experience with you, I never feel so much balance within myself the way I do when I look forward to understand the motives of my own self, and this only happens when I let myself dig in the realm of spirituality or knowledge. A dear friend of mine used to tell me “Knowledge is power”: the more I think of it, the more I realize how deep and meaningful this is on so many levels. And the tight connection between this and that (love) may not make any sense to you unless you try it out. The more you know, you more you’re equipped with the appropriate tools to understand yourself and people around you, the more you’re ready to forgive yourself and people around you, the more your heart unfolds to love yourself and the people around.
And remember, when I speak of love, I speak of that one which you get to share with your parents, with your friends, with the “randomest” person ever. It’s no big deal not to have a boyfriend/girlfriend. What is it that a boyfriend or a girlfriend adds up to your happiness if you’ve finally reached your balance? It’s a complementarity, it’s something you think about when you’re hundred percent sure you’re done with your inner stability and that you’re able to handle with great maturity and honesty (yes, values are another topic but I don’t want to make this any longer).
So much hatred I see in AUI, so much blame, so much deliberate decisions over who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s good and who’s bad, and the flagrant consequences of depression, self-effacement, social withdrawal… and even more hatred, apprehension and contempt. I read so much bullying on the AUI confessions page I even get indignant and sorry for both people who write that and the others who have to cope with it. Why? WHY?
This is not the way things should be done. As a parent, you don’t educate your children by bullying them, but by showing them why what they’re doing is wrong. And you don’t go around embarrassing them in front of their friends, you take them aside and explain the reasons of your assessment. One thing I know is that behavior nurtures behavior. Hatred leads to more hatred. Behave well, and nothing less would you get in return.
You and I know that Moroccans are great pioneers in having prejudices and creating false judgments/falsehoods. What strikes me most is that everyone complains about everyone being this and that, this and that…. Which means that, ironically speaking, none of them could be accused of such. Self-explanatory right? Yes, each one of us has a part of guilt. Yes, myself, you, our friends… etc. And it’s not, again, a terrible thing to admit. Confessions are a first step to self-alteration, and on a larger scope, community change.
Thank you AUI Confessions, if the confessors’ goal is to remain as constructive and pure as your intentions.