Utilitarian Love

John Stuart Mill, one of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, defines utilitarianism as a theory based on the principle that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness”. Where happiness is defined as pleasure and the absence of pain.

If we think about it, most people dream about utilitarian love. We want to meet someone, fall in love and live in happiness as a result of the relationship with this person. We want our love to be useful, to lead us somewhere. We choose our partners according to our dreams and needs, partners who can serve this purpose, who can provide for us, give us something, or make us someone. Fairytale love stories always finish with – they lived happily ever after and we want the same story to happen to us.

What if we try and our utilitarian relationships don’t work? Or what if we fall in love with the ‘wrong’ person? A person who we won’t be living happily ever after with? Someone who we cannot be together with because this person doesn’t fit to our vision?  But also we cannot live too long without each other?

I recently watched a movie – Cold War. One of the most beautiful films I ever watched. Showing a love story, which I just described. Very difficult, happening in difficult time in a difficult place, between two people who are very different from each other. This love is destiny, not logical, not utilitarian but it lasted despite of circumstances, hurt and disappointment.

Why does love need to serve any purpose different than love itself? Why not just to do it? To love, like you dance. In dancing there is no purpose other than dancing. There is no goal to finish it in some particular place on the dance floor or to finish it faster than others. When you dance, you want to lose yourself in the dance. To enjoy it, to be here and now. Present.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *