Happy The Day After, Finally, Valentine’s Day Is Done And Over With: Valentines Day, Espionage, Commercialism, and the Betrayal of Love
“Love is whatever we can still betray…”–John Le Carré
By Nate Thayer
Happy Valentines Day, everyone. Or, more honestly, Happy The Day After Valentines Day is Done And Over With.
Now that Valentines Day–that capitalist marketing trick we are pressured to prove our love via bald commercialism –is over, I waited a full day to throw in my cynical, curmudgeonly two cents.
While money can not buy love, it does facilitate the business of love, which is what Valentines Day is and what love can not be: The business of love, institutionalized, diminished and soiled.
Diminishing and soiling love by legitimizing the pressures of commercialism is an insidious betrayal. And once love is betrayed, there is nothing else left to betray in life.
Here is my contribution, with thanks to the excellent Portuguese journalist Rui Araújo:
My friend, the excellent Portuguese investigative journalist Rui Araújo, recalls an enjoyable 1987 afternoon he spent with John Le Carré , the iconic former British spy turned spy novelist.
After Araújo interviewed him, the two repaired to an afternoon, over lots of wine, to a Lisbon cafe and discussed love and philosophy and literature and, of course, espionage.
Le Carré was in Lisbon to write “The Russia House”, a novel about love, morality, loyalty, courage, and betrayal.
During their conversation”, John le Carré asked me for my pen, picked up a book and wrote. “For Rui Araújo in memory of a happy conversation – with my best.”
A few minutes later, as their conversation continued, “he looked me in the eyes, smiling” and took another of his works in his hands.
He then Wrote another inscription: “Love is whatever we can still betray…”
Le Carre, a man steeped in a life work of duplicity and betrayal, was saying that, for him and I submit for many of us, one of the few things, after a life well spent, left to choose to not betray, is love.
Rui Araújo mentions as “my old friend Alfonso Armada, and a pragmatic philosopher says ‘worse than deception is self-deception.'”
But Rui Araújo suggests that there is one thing more insidiously damaging than betrayal of real love: When the longing and desire for love is “confused with love.”
Or, even worse, when love has ceased to be demanded as an objective for a fulfilled life and substituted with the desire for “material comfort and appearances.” Then, lies and cowardice fuel the betrayal where inevitably it ends mired in the carnage of the sorrow and pain of the heart.
Araújo writes that life always involves “sadness and pain….It is preferable, therefore” when it comes to love, “to have patience. Life is the same.”
While money can not buy love, it does facilitate business, which is what Valentines Day is: The business of love, institutionalized, diminished and soiled.
Once love is betrayed, there is nothing else left to betray in life.
Diminishing and soiling love by legitimizing the pressures of commercialism is an insidious betrayal.
Thank you John Le Carré, the spy, and Rui Araújo, the investigative journalist .
And Happy Valentines Day everyone,sort of.
More importantly, Happy The Day After Valentines Day is Done And Over With……..