Finding a Universal Meaning

At present, I struggle a little bit to settle on one universal meaning of ‘love’. While we all may have a different definition for this phenomenon, I find it difficult to accept they all fit the bill. A friend recently directed me to a YouTube video entitled ‘The Last’ by WongFu Productions, which explores the concept of love in a very interesting way that almost has me convinced.

The short film displays a young man confiding in his girlfriend about the five women he loved before her. He explains that he loved ‘Who’ in college – a girl he barely knew but was infatuated with, fantasised over, and who “filled in the blanks like a fairy tale author.”

‘What’ he loved was an old friend he met in early college and has been in touch with for many years since. They saw each other grow, change and go through multiple relationships. Although they were almost perfect for each other, they were never single at the same time, and saw each other’s different partners come and go. They eventually faced and accepted that they had to leave their love behind – it was never enough to leave what they had with the person they were with.

He loved ‘When’ in high school – she was his first girlfriend. She enabled him to realise the unique feeling of young love. Their relationship in high school embodied the combination of both love and youth – he experienced a time of innocence, discovery and adventure. They shared these three elements together in things that can only be experienced within your first relationship – such as their first kiss, and sneaking out late at night, all of which trigger nostalgia for him now.

‘Where’ he loved was a girl he met in Los Angeles during a six-month internship. He stayed in LA for a few more years due to a desire to be on his own and prove something to people back home. She helped him to accomplish this with a relationship reflective of the city they were in, with new energy and new experiences that pushed him to mature.

‘Why’ he loved was a close friend of his who passed away. Her final words to him made him realise that one of the great gifts of being alive is the ability to give, receive, and even lose love. She triggered the question: why waste this life not loving?

At the end of the film, his current girlfriend wonders aloud “Which one am I then?” Herein lies the climax of the film: he explains that she is ‘Who’ he loves, that fantasy he had that came true. She is also ‘What’ he loves: the depth, inside jokes, and his best friend. She is also ‘When’ he loves: they are the youthful loves their older selves will reminisce about someday. She is ‘Where’ he loves because he would go anywhere just to be with her. Finally, she is ‘Why’ he loves: because before he met her, he didn’t truly understand what he was looking for. He concludes that she has given his past and future meaning; that she is the sixth, and the last.

Essentially, I think the message of the video is that the concept of love comprises all of the five elements that were outlined above: they are everything you envisage in a partner, your best friend who you wish to grow up with and travel anywhere with, and finally gives you a purpose for living. So are you convinced?

Note: the short film can be viewed here.

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