Sunday, April 08, 2007

Clipped Wings

You cannot clip the wings of a falcon and still have a falcon.

That should be a lesson to lovers who would try to clip each other's wings. You can call a clipped falcon a falcon and say it's the same bird as before, but you are only deluding yourself. In truth, your flightless falcon is only similar to the bird it once was. Why don't we see this?

A large part of the answer is language. We think we have the same bird as before because we call the bird by the same name as before. We call it a falcon when it could fly, and we still call it a falcon when it cannot fly, so we think we have the same bird. Yet, the bird behaves differently, we interact with it differently, we experience it differently. If we went solely by what we actually observe -- and did not rely so much on language to tell us what we should observe -- we would concede that a clipped falcon is not the same bird as an unclipped falcon.

I have seen in my 50 years that many lovers try to clip each other's wings. Perhaps they think they can clip each others wings and still have the same person as before; the one they fell in love with. Yet, every so often, those lovers wake up one morning thinking, "He's changed. I don't love him anymore."

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