Tuesday, September 11, 2012

There’s Really Only One Genre

As a writer, we talk about genres quite often. There’s Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action, Thriller, etc. Each genre has its own attraction. 

But after reading St. Augustine’s book The Trinity, I’m beginning to think there is just one. Everything is a Love Story.

I remember listening to the commentary from the screenwriters of the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. They described the basis for the characters and story. One of the screenwriters mentioned that, in fact, the genre of the story was not Action, but a Love Story. He pointed out that the story moved along based on the character Elizabeth, her choices and Will’s choices based on hers. Her decisions drove all the action and movements of all the characters.

I shared that with my husband at the time and since then he comments on EVERY movie, “Ah…it’s a love story.” (Even if it’s blood and guts.)

I’m beginning to realize he is right! (I hope he’s reading this.) 

Case in point, I recently watched Cowboys and Aliens. I was curious to see how the writers combined those two identities. And yet, guess what? Though cowboys and Native Americans on horses were fighting aliens in spaceships, the true genre, what drove the story was love. I KNOW! Right?

Spoiler Alert!!! (The humans were eager to get their abducted loved ones back and fought to do that.) 

What does this have to do with science and faith?

St. Augustine in Book IX of The Trinity, pg 272, concludes, “…love is not love unless it is loving someone else.”

He goes on to say that, “so then there are three, the lover, and what is being loved, and love. But supposing I only love myself, are there now not two merely, what I love and love (itself)? For love is not loved unless it is already loving something, because where nothing is being loved there is no love.”

(I had to read it several times too.)

The undercurrent of that statement is the following: Love is what drives life—whether we understand that or not. There is an innate, unspoken drive to love. And when that is missing, things go horribly wrong. 

Augustine’s comment is that when we love ourselves there is that which we love (ourselves) and the love itself, produces two, but not three.

But to be Trinitarian—to be complete—we must love someone else. When that happens, what is created, formed and magnetized is a precious bond, spoken or unspoken, to which we respond. Just like Elizabeth and Will in Pirates of the Caribbean all our actions are driven by love. 

And it doesn’t have to be a romantic love by any stretch of the imagination. Mother Teresa loved the poorest of the poor, she saw Jesus in every soul she touched. John Paul II loved so much he forgave the man who shot him. He saw Jesus in the man’s eyes. Saint Maria Goretti, on her deathbed, forgave her attacker and wished that he be in heaven with her. 

Of course the ultimate love is God the Son dying on the cross to redeem us once and for all. There is no greater love.

Where does such love come from? God. The Trinity. The ineffable, unexplainable, indefinable, love that God has for each of us.  

If that’s the faith love, how does science fit in? How do you define love in scientific terms? 

Science uses reason and facts. Typically scientists say they need to SEE the evidence in order to describe it. However, I don’t believe we have the complete evidence to say the Big Bang Theory happened, nor are we able to reason (without the THEORY not proven idea of evolution) why humans have a conscience. 

Scientists make assumptions too!

Ask a scientist the same question as we asked before. Where does such love comes from? 

Listen carefully to the answer.

Responses will vary, but typically—if they can reply—scientists postulate that love is a type of hormone that our bodies desire to feel good.

Then ask the next questions every good scientist worth his salt asks: Why is that hormone there? What is the purpose?

Once you get past the answer that we need it to procreate and carry on the human species, then ask if spiders or alligators feel the emotion of love. They seem to do just great without the complexity of giving oneself completely to another. (I haven’t heard too many love sonnets by alligators …except for his next meal.)

 And so the discussion ends unanswered on the science side...

However, we know the truth, it remains in our soul, our being, that piece of us that reasons and feels from the heart. 

The true answer is that love is innate and not definable by any means we have. It is eternal. It goes on forever. It is Trinitarian in nature, and drives us all to do things outside our comfort zone, outside ourselves. It can’t be explained by science, philosophy or any other discipline.

And when the love for another person is experienced, we encounter the nature of the Trinity in an indefinable way.  It is where humanity meets God. It provides a glimpse of what awaits us past this life.

And that is why there is only one Genre…the Genre of Love.


Diane Marie Shaw said...

I had to read this through twice. Lots of thinking involved and strangely I experienced peace as I read it. :)
I think you just made writing a whole lot easier. Go for the love, and as you said it doesn't have to be romantic love.

Robbie Iobst said...

Wonderful bottom line backed up by cool evidence. The LOVE STORY is what makes every story work. I am going to taqke this idea and try to apply it now to novels and non fiction and see if it stands up. Thank you for making me think!!
:0) And on a FRIDAY! :0)

Loretta Oakes said...

Diane: I love your comment about peace! Thank you!

Robbie: Ha! I'm glad someone was thinking on Friday...cause I wasn't! :)