Love is hard, and Edison Miyawaki knows it. He wrote the book on it.The insomniac neurologist, who practices at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and teaches at Harvard Medical School, stayed awake many late nights pondering love and its complexities for his latest book, “What to Read on Love, Not Sex: Freud, Fiction, and the Articulation of Truth in Modern Psychological Science.”Don’t be fooled by the winding title, or the presence of Sigmund Freud, says Miyawaki. This is a book for anyone “trying to find the right language to frame very complicated emotion.”An English major while studying at Yale, Miyawaki, a Honolulu native, eventually migrated toward the sciences, but not without falling head over heels for literature. Literature “never leaves you,” said Miyawaki. “One might say it haunts you.”It’s literature — not science — that informs his outlook on love, as with Freud. “The problem I have with Freud as a theory is that it doesn’t suffice to say that we harbor these incestuous wishes about our mother and father. I understand that’s part of the Freudian project, but it’s the 21st century and things are moving on,” said Miyawaki, who argues instead that Freud’s contemporary value lies in his deep reading of the canon.“As fancy as we get in our science, there’s something about the language of imaginative writing that speaks, and resounds more clearly, and is true in a human way,” he said. “My indebtedness is to Freud as a thinker, not a person whose theories are going to apply in patients.”But love is hard — even Freud said so — and Miyawaki says he’s spot-on about that.“One of the big issues in the book is a concept of love as difficulty,” explained Miyawaki. “If we go through our lives thinking that love needs to be a swept-off-your-feet kind of love, like Romeo and Juliet in the first springs of passion, that’s slightly delusional. Love doesn’t always persist that way. And ask anybody what’s the secret in a marriage that’s lasted for a while, and the secret is the work involved in it.”Beneficial insight into the pains and pleasures of love, and life, comes as a result of personal introspection, contends Miyawaki, which in turn arrives, in part, with well-roundedness in literature and the arts.Freud believed love to be a recapitulation of one’s childhood, a memory that unfolds in how our relationships unfold. He was fascinated by Sophocles’ “Oedipus,” Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and “King Lear,” and reveled in these works’ coupling of love with tragedy — tragedy, defined not by bad outcomes, “but tragedy in the Sophoclean sense — the idea that a person has some characteristic that plays itself out inexorably,” Miyawaki said.“Why do we end up dating or marrying a rock singer, as opposed to a classical musician, as opposed to God knows what? There are reasons for that, and those reasons can be revealed, one hopes, through introspection.“Understanding yourself is the task of love, because it’s incredibly hard, impossibly impossible, to truly understand another person. The nature of that impossibility isn’t couched in any kind of pessimism, it’s just one of the beauties of interaction. In love, we almost move from one misunderstanding to another, but at the end of the day, one of the great things about the emotion of love is that it’s OK. It’s OK to have mixed feelings.”At the end of “What to Read on Love, Not Sex,” Miyawaki calls upon the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who said that “there is scarcely anything more difficult than to love one another … it is work, day labor, day labor, God knows there is no other word for it.”Miyawaki agrees. “Rilke’s not being pessimistic. He’s not being dour. He’s being realistic. It would make your love life and my love life easier if we didn’t entertain notions that love should be a certain way. Life should be a certain way, but it’s not. How do we deal with that difficulty? That’s the essence of the book. Love as difficulty, as memory, as a human innovation, that we learn by what we read most deeply, in a lifelong exercise.”
Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion There are close to 500 brands and 7,700 different flavors of electronic cigarettes for sale on the market. None of these have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the American Lung Association.As noted in the article, 20 percent of children have tried these products without knowing the possible consequences. It’s concerning that there are children being exposed to e-cigarettes when they haven’t been evaluated. The new ban will prevent the possibility of potentially harmful second-hand emissions inhaled in public places.I’m aware that electronic cigarettes have been viewed as a way for people to quit traditional smoking, although this isn’t the case. The FDA has not yet found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.The ban on electronic cigarettes is a positive one. The product that many people believe is aiding them in becoming healthier is the very one that could continue to cause harm to themselves, and potentially to others. Remember when they used to say regular cigarettes were safe?Danielle EptingAlbanyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Feds: Albany man sentenced for role in romance scamEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation After reading the Oct. 24 article, “New York bans vaping anywhere cigarettes are prohibited,” I’m pleased to see action being taken against electronic cigarettes. These kinds of cigarettes have been advertised as a healthier option, but the harmful effects of these products have not been reviewed.
Lindsey (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa) had a direct hand in three Syracuse turnovers that led to 13 points, including the game-clinching score. With under three minutes remaining and Pitt protecting a 26-20 lead, Lindsey sacked Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib, forcing a fumble that was grabbed out of the air by cornerback Antwuan Reed and returned 20 yards for the clinching touchdown.Lindsey also had a first-quarter interception and forced a fumble in the third quarter that Pitt recovered. Both of those fumbles led to Pitt field goals. On the day he totaled six tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, an interception and three QB hurries.The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Lindsey has played dual roles for the Pitt defense this year, serving as both a down defensive lineman and outside linebacker. On the season he has 48 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.With his one sack against Syracuse, Lindsey now has 22.5 for his career, moving him past Rickey Jackson (1977-80) and Ricardo McDonald (1988-91) for ninth all-time on Pitt’s quarterback sack list. PITTSBURGH—Pitt senior outside linebacker Brandon Lindsey has been named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Panthers’ 33-20 victory over Syracuse this past Saturday. PLAYER OF THE WEEK—Pitt’s Brandon Lindsey (Aliquippa) puts the heat on Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. Lindsey, a senior playing in his final game at Heinz Field for the Panthers, had an interception in the Panthers 33-20 win.