“ ‘A romantic,’ said Nightingale much, much later. ‘The most dangerous people on Earth.’”
For years, I’ve considered myself a romantic. I love music, chocolate, perfume, flowers,, Valentine’s Day, and all things ‘love.’ I’m an optimist who tends to see the good in people and situations, and who believes in the transformational power of kindness and beauty. It seems to me that the recipe for a happy and fulfilled life is a daily dose of joy, pleasure and dark chocolate. Clearly, I’m a romantic, right?
And yet, when one considers where the word ‘romantic’ comes from and what it really means, it goes much deeper than candy hearts and cupid. A true romantic has more than just optimism and a belief in love and beauty. A true romantic is quite powerful and, in fact, pretty dangerous, as Aronovitch points out in the quote above. Here’s why…
Romanticism was an “artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, partly as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment.” (Source). When the world seemed obsessed with knowledge and science and business and productivity, some people (mostly those dedicated to the arts) rose up to remind people where REAL power, truth and intelligence come from, thus the Romantic movement began.
Romantics, the followers of this movement, are characterized by the following traits:
- They value emotion, imagination, the senses and spiritual truth over reason, science and the intellect.
- They value the individual over society as a whole, and believe that every person should strive to be self-referenced and self-actualized.
- They reject all forms of materialism and, instead, recognize the abundance of the natural world.
- They appreciate beauty over usefulness (particularly as it applies to nature).
- They turn inward for guidance, believing that all answers lie in our individual passions and struggles.
- They honor the creative spirit more than the rules, traditions and dictates of society.
- They have a deep appreciation for the exotic, remote and mysterious. They know how little they know.
- Rather than strictly adhering to what came before, Romantics dream of a better future and believe in the possibilities and strength of the human spirit.
So you see why Romantics may be considered dangerous; they follow their hearts and their intuition and are, therefore, hard to control and manipulate. They won’t blindly follow rules and settle for the status quo, but instead they question, imagine, dream and create. If there is beauty to be found (and there always is), they will find it and appreciate it fully. And perhaps most important (and most dangerous of all!), the Romantic honors him/herself above all else and will not compromise his/her character and integrity. Ever. For anyone or anything.
So this Valentine’s Day and always, let’s fully embrace what a beautiful thing it is to call ourselves a Romantic 😉
Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves!