What is real love?

Lately I see often these two faces in the gym, on the tv screens placed in front of the treadmills. They are famous singers, with huge fan bases of teenagers, who sing “love” songs of great success.

singers-love-songsWhile I warm up I take a look at their videoclips, that are proposed continuously on the music channels. To be honest I don’t even hear well the words they sing (there is other music in the room), but still the images are enough to cause me an unmistakable feeling of… irritation. Yes, irritation.

Why? What did these poor guys do to me?

You can understand it well by looking at these two snapshots of those videoclips, in which I captured the typical expression of the singer who is popular among teenagers today. If you think about it for a moment, it’s the expression of someone who, rather than singing, is trying to give birth to a watermelon from the ass. I found the lyrics of the songs I am talking about to get sure I didn’t misunderstand. You never know, maybe they were actually singing songs about watermelons? No, I understood well instead: these guys are supposedly talking about “love” in their songs.

But what kind of love? To understand it, it’s sufficient to look them in their face: a dramatic love, a total one, paramount, breathtaking, painful. In fact they sing this love with the attitude and the gestures typical of someone who suffers. And it’s true that television elicits a reaction in the audience: in a moment of consciousness I realized that I was watching those videoclips putting up, in reaction, a frowny face.

It’s in that moments that I realized what causes my irritation: the fact that the bands pumped by the modern music industry promote and deliver to the teenagers (and unfortunately also to many adults) this completely dumb concept of love. Dumb because it’s uselessly dramatic.

I mean, why should a love relationship be all this drama? Why should it be this sort of “turbulent storm”, that overwhelmes you and distracts you from everything else? Why, when you’re with your girlfriend, she must become your reason for living? Why, if she leaves you, you must be desperate? Why should your happiness and fulfillment depend so much on her? Why can’t you carry on alone? This is B.S.! This misconception of love, that unfortunately today is proposed massively also in the movies and in the books, is the foundation of a lot of disfunctional “love” relationships.

On a personal level, it promotes the non-sovereignity on your own life, encouraging and amplifying the dumb idea that happiness must be searched mainly outside of yourself, that it makes sense to depend so much, too much, on another person. On a relationship level, it gives birth to a series of consequent dramas: insecurities, jealousy, possess, skirmishes if the girlfriend cheats on you, depression if she leaves you, and so on.

I was talking about this some days ago with a friend, who recently started a relationship with a woman. My friend was telling me, quite worried, how she realized that this woman is jealous and possessive, as she found her checking her phone and following her movements. And we are talking about over-30 women here. My reaction was determined: dump her n-o-w. How the heck can someone reach the 30s and still be so insecure to be jealous? How can someone reach adulthood and still waste time with these behaviours?

Then I thought about the suffering singers that I watch in the videoclips in the gym and I made the connection: here we have peple, a lot of people, who unfurtunately takes for valid that dramatic and problematic version of the love relationship.

I watch those guys on the tv screens and label them as “drama queens”, a lot of people instead believe that their fake version of love is real love, and consequently tend to re-create all that drama in their own relationships. If there are no problems, they’ll work to create them, for example spying on the partner’s phone, looking for evidence of cheating. And as we know, he who looks for something usually finds something. This happens at 15, at 30, even at 50 years of age. Some people continue the hunt for drama in their relationships their entire life.

So, it’s true that love is beautiful, and that it’s perfectly comprehensible that when you’re in a relationship you shift the attention a little bit outside of yourself, but there is a treshold after which this idea of “turbulent and dramatic” love proposed by the media, delivered on the suffering faces of these singers passionate of watermelon, becomes really dumb and superficial, and especially generates problems.

The first problem is that they’re promoting an incomplete concept of love. They’re putting so much emphasis on the romantic love, the love in a couple, that the resulting message is that the romantic love is all the love. It is not, the love in a couple is only a part of real love. Real love is huge, it’s immense and various, it’s the love for life and the universe. We love our grandparents, we love the work we do, our friends, our parents and siblings, the people we don’t know that we meet in the street, the animals, the plants. All these types of love together make the real love. The love between boyfriend and girlfriend is only a subset of real love. This is the reason why treating it as if it were total and absolute is a misconception, a dumb idea that usually leads to drama.

Second, even considering only this partial love, the love in a coule, it’s absolutely ridiculous to conceive it as dependency, suffering and pain. Love is the one that rises between two people, who are already complete and happy singularly, who resonate when they are together, and are even happier. They laugh, help each other, offer support to each other, have compassion, they walk together a part of the road of life together. More than anything else, they feel joy. Love is not what rises between two derelicts who are contastly in pain, looking for someone who can give them a reason for living!

Just in these days I’ve read the prophet by Kahlil Gibran, in which I really like the description of love. Reading this book I thought “this, this is real love! Not that painful drama that I see on the screens in the gym!“. This is what Gibran writes on love relationships:

Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. 
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow

I like these words a lot. I completely agree: real love is the one between the strings of a lute, separated one from the other, that quiver with the same music.

A beautiful (and a bit scary!) spider

This morning I met this interesting and unusual spider in the garden, bright yellow, and with a HUGE abdomen. I got very close to film it, I don’t know if it was a risky move… maybe -since it’s so big- it’s also poisonous to humans if it bits? Anyway, I identified it as a marbled orb-weaver, the technical name should be araneus marmoreus var. pyramidatus. First time I see one of these, it’s a cool spider!

old videos – da caricare

Pieris Rapae eggs

pieris-rapae-eggsThe epic battle between team De Santis (my father and I) and team Pieris Rapae (the butterflies that everyday try to lay their eggs on our broccoli plants) is still very much in progress.

Every time we are in the countryside, we monitor the plants as there are always some white butterflies flying around the garden, lying their eggs on the inferior pages of the broccoli leaves. We remove the eggs, or the caterpillars that would hatch from them will devour the plants! Today I took a very close picture of the eggs. Look how interesting they are. It’s a pity we have to remove them, but unfortunately only one team will eat the broccoli… and we want to be it!

Brown rice VS white rice

Brown rice is the rice as it comes naturally from the plant. The grain is complete, composed of three parts: germ (the point where the grain sprouts), bran (the external envelop), endosperm (the white internal part, that the new plant initially uses as “fuel” to grow). White rice is the rice resulting from industrial processing. The grain is incomplete, because the germ and the bran are removed. Only the endosperm remains.
Brown rice is alive food. If you put a grain in water, it will sprout. White rice is dead food. If you put a grain in water, nothing will happen.
Brown rice requires longer time to cook, because the presence of the bran makes the grain harder. White rice has been created for “convenience” reasons: one of these is that it requires less time to cook, because without the bran the grain is softer.
The presence of the bran has an important effect in brown rice. Since it contains fiber, it slows down the absorption of sugar in the blood stream, which is released more gradually and for longer time. Result: you feel full for longer, and have better control of your appetite. White rice was created also because it’s more palatable. Without fiber, as soon as you eat it the sugar is immediately released into your blood stream, giving you “pleasure”. But you pay a heavy price for this pleasure: the spike in your blood sugar level will be compensated by a very low level later. Result: you will have low energy, and soon you will be hungry again.
Brown rice is a nutrient dense food. Together with the carbohydrates contained in the endosperm, you also get  minerals, vitamins, good fats, fiber, all coming from the other two parts: germ and bran. White rice is an empty calorie food. Basically, it only gives you the pure carbohydrates contained in the endosperm. So white rice is caloric, but not nutrient.

This simple comparison brown rice vs white rice makes it evident:

brown rice is the healthiest form of rice. It is nutritious and it represents a long term strategy for having more energy.

white rice in an unhealthy food. It is non-nutritious and it represents a short term strategy: it’s a libido in the moment you eat it, but it’s also an insidious energy zapper.

Make your choice!

Notes: updated Nov 11, 2014 with better pictures.

Related: Density of nutrients, How your body uses the different nutrients