Story idea: The Power of Love

(I've posted this elsewhere before, but I'm reposting it here because most of my blog audience probably hasn't seen it.)

(Content warning: discussion of abusive relationships.)

A certain individual gains The Power Of Love. Unfortunately, the only thing ze loves is to cause misery, so ze becomes a supervillain. Ze makes people love each other so intensely that it throws their lives into ruin. Ze makes victims love their abusers, and ze makes stalkers love people who fear them. And if any of society's heroes or leaders use their power for good, ze makes them fall in love with someone who will exploit their powers for evil.

To oppose this villain, a new hero arises, who has The Power Of Friendship. Ze can project a magical force field called The Friend Zone. People in the Friend Zone automatically stop, think, and work out their problems with each other as if they are close friends. Our hero tracks down all the people who were influenced by the supervillain, and uses zir power to help them solve the problems the villain created. Despite their intense feelings, the power of friendship lets them pull through and make arrangements that are tolerable for everyone.

Anyway, ze's so successful at helping people that ze ends up with a crowd of admirers following zem everywhere, hoping ze'll friend zone them.


I didn't just write this to make a joke out of the “friend zone” concept. (Don't worry if you don't know what that is – you're probably better off that way.)

On a more serious note, I think there's a problem with the idea of “true love”. The feeling of love, like any other feeling – excitement, anger, pride – can either cause good things to happen, or it can cause bad things to happen, or both. So what is “true love”? Many people think that love only counts as “true love” if it's the good kind. So what should we call the bad kind or the mixed kind?

This isn't just a semantic dispute. Because love can hurt people, people NEED to have a way to talk about the kinds of love that can cause harm. Otherwise, how can they think about it without fighting with themselves? (“But it seems so much like love! But it's hurting me! But it seems like love, and love is good, right?! But...”) This applies to both the all-bad case (“he's only beating you because he loves you!”) and the mixed case, like where people have a loving relationship that is mostly good, but sometimes their love manifests itself as possessiveness that ends up hurting the other person.

If you're talking to someone, and they call this kind of thing “love”, don't say “this is not love”. Say the thing that matters: “this love is not good”.

– Eli

Approximate readability: 6.89 (2064 characters, 468 words, 31 sentences, 4.41 characters per word, 15.10 words per sentence)