The Risk of Love
The analogy between love and religious faith is pretty common, love is often referred to as being a 'leap of faith' and is becoming something of a cliche. In this post, i'd like to extend this analogy one step further. To make this comparison, i need a faith-based philosophical model, and Kierkegaard's philosophy seems to be a perfect candidate for it.
Kierkegaard is extremely skeptic of reason and shows through a great deal of reasoning that it is impossible to achieve objective, necessary knowledge about things related to human life. This leads to the human predicament: we have no knowledge at all about the purpose and meaning of human life, and yet we have a dire need of such knowledge to live our lives. Either we can remain in our state of utter skepticism, or, as Kierkegaard advises, we can take a leap of faith, a ‘leap into absurdity’, an irrational belief that there is something called ‘God’ who can give us enlightenment if we desire it. And now comes the tricky part: We can never know if this decision was correct. It could be the wrong decision. But this is the 'risk of faith' which we must take if we are to escape absurdity. The risk is enormous, because if God doesn't exist then you'd have spent your life chasing an illusion. Kierkegaard himself chose to believe in the truth of Christianity and in the Incarnation of Jesus. The reader would probably have his/her own version of faith and the associated risk.
Now, most people do come to realize that the leap of love is a lot like leap of faith, but they don't extend their thought and identify the risk it entails. Because just like there is a risk of faith in religion, there is a risk of faith in love. You don't know the other person completely when you begin a relationship. You have only a vague and approximate idea of what sort of a person he is, and even though you have no objective certainty that the relationship will work out, you decide to take the leap of faith, and with it comes the risk: the risk that the person might not be the right one for you, and you might end up ruining your life running after the wrong person. Or even if the person may be right one, there are so many external factors which can lead to a break-up or the deterioration of relationship. You can never be sure. But this is the risk one takes, and most are willing to take, to experience the beauty and joy of a successful love.