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John Cameron Mitchell on the Origin of Love

Question: What is love, and does the experience of love \r\ndifferent between LGBT and straight culture?

John Cameron Mitchell: Well, there’s, you know, obviously\r\n different kinds of love and the Greeks had all different terms for it. \r\n And in the strongest relationships we have, those kinds of love inter, \r\nyou know, they are simultaneous, they ebb and flow, sometimes they’re \r\nall there at the same time.  You know, eros and agape, which is the \r\nmore, sort of love of mankind, you know, selfless kind of love.  And \r\nphilia, which is a kind of deeper, sort of non-sexual affinity.  And, \r\nyou know, so I don’t really have any, there’s no rules that I’ve learned\r\n about the ebb and flow of those experiences.  I mean, we know that, we \r\nseem to learn some things from relationships that don’t always seem to \r\nwork the next time around.  I mean, you try to avoid patterns and we \r\nlearn about ourselves, you know, over time.  Oh, I married my mom again \r\nor I, you know, I made that mistake again.  It’s strange but it’s, you \r\nknow, you hopefully learn along the way what is useful, what isn’t \r\nuseful, and then the next time someone comes around, you forget it all. \r\n So, I don’t know.

You know, there’s an understanding of \r\ndifferent kinds of connection and as long as you don’t mistake one for \r\nthe other, I think that’s useful.  You know, there’s an infatuation with\r\n someone, there’s the depth of a long relationship or friendship or love\r\n relationship that feels very different and in the is perhaps the most \r\nvaluable.

And there’s, there’s a kind of a hard-won wisdom that \r\nmaybe comes out of all those, all those relationships, while ultimately,\r\n you know, are trying to help you understand what it means to love \r\nyourself and to love the time alone.  At the end of "Hedwig," there’s \r\nthis fragmented face that kind of comes together as she seems to find a \r\ncertain wholeness in herself internally rather than by defining herself \r\nas a half and seeking another half.  You know, when you are defining, \r\nwhen you’re thinking of a lover as someone who completes you, it almost \r\ndisrespects them and yourself, by calling both of you incomplete or \r\nyou’re nothing but something to, you know, fill the wound.  You know, to\r\n cover the, you know, to, as something complementary rather than \r\nrespecting someone as a whole.  And that might not always be useful, \r\neven though it’s very powerful for people.  So, you know, it’s an \r\nongoing, it’s an ongoing understanding and quest and I hope there’s, \r\nwhat’s nice about Hedwig is that it doesn’t define anything too strongly\r\n and seems to have different interpretations across cultures.  You know,\r\n being in different countries and people’s reaction to the myth and to \r\n"Hedwig" is really interesting, it feels international.

Recorded on May 3, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen

The "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" creator ponders the "ongoing understanding and quest" of love.

Remote learning vs. online instruction: How COVID-19 woke America up to the difference

Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.

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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
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  • "I think most people are actually kind of comfortable with the idea that science is a reliable way to learn about nature, but it's not the whole story and there's a place also for religion, for faith, for theology, for philosophy," says Francis Collins, American geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "But that harmony perspective doesn't get as much attention. Nobody is as interested in harmony as they are in conflict."

Signs of Covid-19 may be hidden in speech signals

Studying voice recordings of infected but asymptomatic people reveals potential indicators of Covid-19.

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Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
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Supporting climate science increases skepticism of out-groups

A study finds people are more influenced by what the other party says than their own. What gives?

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Politics & Current Affairs
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