PAUSE: Philip Glass on love.

To close out his several-part interview with the Village Voice, Steven Thrasher asked Philip Glass what he thought the meaning of love was. Below is his full response:

Well that’s a very interesting idea. That’s a very interesting question.

We have very different dimensions of it, but I don’t want to throw the question entirely back at you.

We can talk about the love that’s part of compassion, which is a general empathy that we have for every human being, every living being, I could say. Whether we can develop an empathy to that degree, that’s a form of love. And that’s a very high form, which most of us aren’t able to do very much with, but some do, and just knowing about it is important.

And there’s the love that happens within a family. That’s not just “romantic” love, but the love that happens with children, and maybe partnerships that go on for a very long time. They’re a bit different.

Of course we can’t have a world worth living in without both of them. Most of us, I would say, don’t do such a good job with either one. We do our best. And everybody has their demons, everyone has their problems.

But we also have our aspirations, and I think that’s important. Even though we may, we haven’t always been so successful at every form of love, but the fact that we know it’s there and it’s something that we aspire to, and I think it’s something that keeps us on some kind of a track that makes our consensual social life livable-and, really, besides that, enjoyable, and even enlightening.

What kinds of love are in games? We definitely have “relationships” with the characters we play as (Remember the pangs of sadness you felt when Aerith was killed in Final Fantasy VII?)-but it goes deeper than that. Maybe on some level, we play games out of a certain aspiration towards, if not love, then some idea of developing empathy for something beyond ourselves. The act of assuming the role of another person has certain transformative effects-you are, quite literally, Commander Shepard in Mass Effect or whatever, and even though you’ve got free will, you’re still acting as he’s supposed to. Without realizing it, you might cut that bozo screaming on the train a bit more slack next time: his alien girlfriend might have just died.

[via Village Voice]

-Drew Millard