Talking about relationship in this particular context, obviously, I would imagine, we would be talking about relationship between two individuals: husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, etc.
Before we begin to look at the concept of relationship in that sense, I think we should look at how we relate to different things, including inanimate objects, because sometimes we treat inanimate objects in a very humane way, but sometimes we treat human beings as objects, as inanimate objects and we begin to fall in love with our motorbike or our car and all sorts of mechanical gadgetries of all kinds. We attribute human qualities to the objects that we possess, but when it comes down to human beings we try to turn them into inanimate and unconscious objects.
I think we have to realise that the starting point of any relationship is not to treat the other person as one object among the many, but rather as a conscious human being with consciousness of his/her own, with free will. When we begin to look at the whole thing in that way, then we begin to realise that there is a basis for relationship. If we don't do that, if we don't treat humans in a humane kind of way, then the relationship that we have becomes more and more precarious.
What we have to realise is that we treat others simply as objects in a variety of ways by using strategies of all kinds. The strategies that we have developed are based upon emotional skills that we have learnt from our childhood. We begin to use our emotions in a very skilful way in order to get what we want. A lot of the time the way in which we use our emotions as strategies, is a very self-orientated one, a very selfish one. Consequently the whole thing becomes very complicated because of that.
Before we get into the emotional side of the whole thing, perhaps we can look at LOVE, because what we actually mean by love, which is also a state of emotion, is very ambiguous and we don't really know what love means at all. A lot of the time, we are taught different things about love, we idealize it. It's a sort of aspiration we have that cannot be realised because a lot of the
concepts that surround love are so abstract, so beyond possible human
experience, that it's like chasing after a shadow. It is too abstract to be of
any concrete human experience and because of that we begin to look at our
relationships in a very misguided way.
When we fall in love for instance, we feel that we're meant for each other, and everything is rosy. But then gradually things deteriorate and we think we're not in love at all. The interesting thing here is that we always think that love is something divine, given to us by God himself, it is the least human thing that one can have. One has to see love as a simple human experience. There is nothing particularly divine about the whole thing, when we begin to look at the concept of love in this particular context.
Love, like any other emotion is a human experience, and it is a strategy that we have developed to relate to another person, or other people as the case may be. So first of all, what we have to realise is that there is no such thing as a love that is so pure, and so fantastic, that it is going to cure all our neuroses, all our problems and that if we have a little taste of the elixir of love, then all of a sudden we are all going to become so happy and the whole thing is going to become a rosy way of life. That is not necessarily a very good picture of love, because normally we tend to think that love is not like that.
But what is it? What we might regard as love, is completely beyond human experience; it is just a concept, that is too remote from immediate human experiences. So when we begin to look at the whole thing that way, then we begin to realise that love, like any other emotional experience, like jealousy, pride, etc, is an emotion. As an emotion, it is something that we have constructed, we have constituted, and therefore love, anger, jealousy and so forth are skills that we have created. Usually we don't want to acknowledge that. We would rather see emotions as simply happening to us, completely outside of our control. When we look at our emotions that way, then the whole thing is a cop-out, because we do not want to take individual responsibilities and we blame the whole thing on our emotions. When we have an argument, how many times do we say: ''I didn't really mean it, I didn't really want to do that, but I couldn't help it. This thing just suddenly overtook me and I had no control at
all." If we really look at the whole thing, we begin to realise we meant
every single word we said, and we also meant whatever we
did. We actually know, in terms of extreme agitated states of mind, what we are doing, because in fact we know how to get to a person's weakest point and we know how to make a person feel insecure. We also choose those moments to attack the person very intelligently and skilfully. When we act out emotions we simply continue to do that again and again and we do not gain any insight into our emotions. So emotions are not something that we have to release as we go - just like when we want to have a piss, we can't resist, we just go and piss, then we feel relieved afterwards. Emotions are not like that. Emotions are consciously developed.
The situation can be resolved through making proper measurement of it, through making a proper judgement of it, through making intellectual assessment of it as well. So we stop thinking that emotions are related to us as impulses. If we can see things that way then we begin to re-orient our whole situation in relation to ourselves, or other people or another person.
We begin to develop our relationship on a whole new foundation and then we begin to take more responsibility for actions and so forth. We in turn begin to blame less and less our emotional blindness which makes us go crazy and then afterwards go and say, "it was stupid of me to do that but I just couldn't help myself," and the other person is supposed to act as a forgiving person and come to some reconciliation and of course that gives you some kind of satisfaction as well.
Sometimes we go out of our way to have drama, to act it out. Then we make it up and making it up is so fantastic, it is so uplifting that we have to go through the dramatic thing again only to say I didn't really mean it. So in this particular situation, what we have to realize is that this is what we do and when we say something, that is exactly what we are saying, that is exactly what we are doing. We have to take responsibility for those actions if our relationship is to be genuine and sincere. There is no panacea that can be introduced out of thin air that will solve all our problems in our relationship. For example, unattainable love, the concept of romantic love that we have which is supposed to demolish any problems we might have in our relationship, with one stroke.