Do You Love Me?
The Desire to Keep Warm
Luminosity by Monika Zaleska and June Xie
Photography by June Xie
A Note from Monika Zaleska
In making this video June and I took snippets of each others poetry and writing and wove them into a love story. We didn't know where we were going in the beginning, but we knew it was about longing, seeing the one you love through rose-tinted glass, wanting to hold on. We filmed at Swarthmore College in the spring 2011 and June almost caught pneumonia from swimming in the creek. I've never learned more from another artist. It was so wonderful to work together.
The Light of Your Look: Luminous
Process thinking is about deep empiricism, about looking into the worlds around us and within us with fearless eyes, seeking warmth and illumination.
The seeking is a primordial desire within the depth of the heart, deeper than words but softer than touch. The desire is evoked both by the light of another person's look and by a Light within their light.
Whitehead speaks of this Light as the Eros of the universe. It is the force which leads protons to seek neutrons, stars to form galaxies, people to seek warmth from one another.
Just Keep Me Warm
In philosophy, says Whitehead:
"Nothing can be omitted, experience drunk and experience sober, experience sleeping and experience waking, experience drowsy and experience wide-awake, experience self-conscious and experience self-forgetful, experience intellectual and experience physical, experience religious and experience
skeptical, experience anxious and experience care-free, experience anticipatory and experience grieving, experience dominated by emotion and experience under self-restraint, experience in the light and experience in the dark, experience normal and experience abnormal." (AI 226)
Whitehead could have added experience relational. He could have said that philosophy cannot omit the experience of looking into someone else's eyes and asking: Do you love me?
But maybe he didn't need to, because it is all relational for him. Grieving and anticipating, touching and thinking, dreaming and awakening: it's all part of the creative, open-ended web of inter-becoming. It is all responsive to the Eros.
We ourselves are nodes in the web or, perhaps better, nodes-in-the-making. Always we are in process. Our questioning is evoked by the Eros, too. "Do you love me?" is a theological question. Am I alone or can I be touched?
I played my fingers against yours, because I wanted you to recognize my presence, acknowledge me, play with me.
So always we dwell between answers and questions, between knowing and unknowing, between security and insecurity, between crest and wave. It is in this realm of the in-between, that we find something sacred, something beautiful.
Part of the sacred lies in the eyes of others and part of it lies in our desire for them to recognize our presence, to acknowledge us, to play with us. We want to feel the warmth of earth in a friend's hair, we want cold beer on a hot beach.
I want to be the boy who explains to you the meaning of your name, the movement of the stars on a cloudy night, the moment of your birth.
That's why questions are so luminous. Questions like "Do you love me?" and "Do I love you?" They are prayers, longings for connection. We want to be warm and to be touched and to be held. Even if we sit apart we want to be acknowledged. We want someone, somewhere, somehow, to know us and hold us.
In this video by Monika Zaleska and June Xie, we hear this desire to be keep warm in the tone of the voices, we see it in the images, we feel it in the moods.
Process theologians say that we are small but included in wider embrace which holds us, and in which we can place our trust. I think they are right. No one is ever completely alone.
But for most of us the embrace is best found in cold beer on a hot beach, in someone listening to our stories, in the touch of hands. while running in a stream.
"Do you love me?" It sure helps to have someone say "Yes, I love you." Or, just as good, to keep us warm.