Why we want people who are bad for us

There is no good answer to this question, as James Hillman observed long ago:

“You love this woman because it is THIS woman. And that makes her the unique woman. That’s the important thing, the uniqueness. Because it is THIS woman, it’s not another woman. It has nothing to do with any of the rational qualities. It’s not because anything. THERE IS NO BECAUSE. The because is: it is this woman. And that gives love back to the Gods. You see, the Gods hit you with her arrow, or they hit her with your arrow, or you both got hit – and that arrow is the reason.”

The human brain evolved a frontal cortex to override these irrational feelings. That makes us particularly suited to sit in tension — the tension between “I want this person” and “I shouldn’t want this person.”

It may be little consolation, but beautiful things can come out of this tension.


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