Timed Writing Assignment Short Response:
“It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”
Alexander S. Peak
Also available in .pdf.
21 March 2003
Is it better to be heart-broken, or to own an aching, longing, desiring heart? This type of statement can’t be looked at as offering two options—two very distinct options—one of which is more positive or more desirable than the other. In the end, never-having-experienced-love and having-experienced-only-ephemeral-love are both quite undesirable circumstances. Does it matter which of these experiences a person would rather engage in? No, it doesn’t.
[Online Note: This was a timed writing assignment I completed in class when I was in high school. The point I intended to make was that there is no objectively correct view on which of the two alternatives presented is desirable, as desirability is quite obviously subjective. But upon further reﬂection, it seems a huge problem arises in trying to answer such a question even based strictly on subjective experiences, for no one can truly experience “never having loved”; one can, at the most, experience “not having yet loved.” The point at which this becomes “never having loved” is at one’s death, and those that have reached death are no longer in a position to make comparisons. Thus, the most one can do is compare “having loved but lost” with “not having yet loved.” Further, even if it were possible to ask a dead person what it is like to “have never loved,” it would be impossible for this dead person to compare her or his experience with “having loved but lost,” for obviously she or he has never experienced it and thus is still not in a position to make an appropriate comparison.]