History = Love ?

So I went to see The Social Network tonight – or The Facebook Movie – whatever you want to call it. I really enjoyed it. Took my mind off things and was quite an engrossing experience overall. It’s actually the first movie in a while that I’ve read reviews of beforehand and went in with generally good expectations and left without any disappointment at all. It was quite, quite good. It got me thinking on the way home – I had read before seeing it that the film posits one of the factors behind Facebook’s creation to be Mark Zuckerberg’s love of this woman. Though the Albright figure in the film is apparently fictional, I thought that plot line harmonized with the core of human existence. The idea that a man desires companionship with one other person so much that he pours his heart and soul into this creation that ends up leaving him in the exact same position. Alone. I thought it was particularly humanistic. Because if you think about it, the great inventions of history down to the smallest event caused by a human individual that sent a ripple through time was done out of love. If there’s one thing history is driven by it is love.

Maybe this is overblown – something, obvious, or logical. But if you really want to know why an event in history unfolded in the way it did, why not look at how love drove the parties involved. It seems to apply to a couple random historical events I’ve picked out. Take the 1453 Siege of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks (Wikipedia: The Fall of Constantinople) for example. The Ottoman Turks under the command of Sultan Mehmed II laid siege to the city out of love: the establishment of the Ottoman Empire – and with Constantinople as the heart of the empire. It’s flowering jewel – and we certainly know what came out of that historic battle. But the motivation of the defenders whats equally such. The Byzantines fought to preserve the last shreds of a dying empire that had once spanned across the whole Mediterranean. Out of the love of this memory they defended a city that had once been the new capital of the Roman Empire, established by Constantine.

Of course, a blog post wouldn’t be a blog post if I didn’t reference the Nazis and WWII. But I daresay that it was out of a, well, rather twisted conception of love that Hitler committed crimes against humanity in order to manifest his racially pure idea of a German state that he loved.

Anyway I digress. It’s always when you reach Hitler that the argument tends to loose some water. It makes me wonder though… for so long I desired to join the Foreign Service out of love – mainly for a group of older men (now it’s a story!) who thought and deliberated together to design the Republic we have today. I admired those men, and many of the ones that followed them, because the things they wrote are living, breathing historical documents. The same goes for the institutions they founded. The principles and the ideas. Once again, were all done out of love. A love for an idea of a country that could be. And I don’t mean to gloss over a historical narrative here – it unfortunately had to come a the price of wiping out an entire indigenous civilization, with a much longer history.

Anyway, my desire to join the institution itself comes from a desire to uphold those original principles, and of course, try to correct some of the serious imbalances in U.S. Foreign Policy. So yes, for the love of my country, I want to do it. At least for the time being. I guess what the point of everything I’ve said here is… does such a motivation, perhaps a goal to become Ambassador to Lebanon one day – can this, or is this, driven in any way by the love of another single human being (group of men notwithstanding). Am I in love with an idea that I can bring someone back by pursuing a dream. Maybe, maybe.

So I guess the real question now is… did Mehmed II conquer Constantinople for the love of a woman? – assuming he was straight of course.


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