"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, January 25, 2010

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny ...'" - Isaac Asimov

***

"The [new] game of courtly love is an elaborate blueprint for the building of desire, as opposed to the quenching of it. The higher it builds without fulfillment, the more perfect a lover the knight proves himself to be...

Consummated or not, courtly love is by definition adulterous. The knight who jousts on horseback, sword in hand, competes against other knights for a highly desirable lady. But they're not fighting for her hand in marriage, or even for the privilege of courting her. She already has a husband. Initially, at least, they're not even fighting for the privilege of sleeping with her. They're fighting for the privilege of loving her - synonymous with serving her...

In 1154, Henry, Duke of Normandy, captures the English throne as Henry I, making his wife Eleanor [of Aquitaine] a queen for the second time - and [through her] bestowing upon the English court a resident expert on the rules of the game. From there the ideal of love... will be converted into the middle-class ideal of marriage: the melding of two minds, bodies, and hearts into one... Eleanor and her kin would find it next to unimaginable that the heady quality of adultery would one day converge with the dutiful, dispassionate quality of marriage as they experience it.

Maybe that's what finally enables the convergence: Love enters marriage through the extramarital back door. As [Christian author] C.S. Lewis noted in his study of courtly doctrine, Allegory of Love, 'Any idealization of sexual love, in a society where marriage is purely utilitarian, must begin by an idealization of adultery'...

What troubadors bring about is the reinvention of love. They make its pursuit desirable, even admirable. Previously, epic tales of sexual desire ended in mutually assured destruction for all concerned... [Now], to gamble all you have, even your life, on romantic rapture becomes the route to transcendence. The most memorable romantic lovers of courtly literature - Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot and Guinevere, Troilus and Cressida - meet tragic ends, but noble ones. They martyr themselves for the glory of the faith. The new religion of love is a wedge to the future"

--- I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage / Susan Squire


And from Daniel Goleman's Social Intelligence:

"Neuroscientist Jaak Pansepp... finds a neural corollary between the dynamics of opiate addiction and the dependence on the people for whom we feel our strongest attachments. All positive interactions with people, he proposes, owe [at least] part of their pleasure to the opioid system, the very circuitry that links with heroin and other addictive substances... Even animals, he finds, prefer to spend time with those in whose presence they have secreted oxytocin and natural opioids, which induce a relaxed serenity - suggesting that these brain chemicals cement our family ties and friendships as well as our love relationships."
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