Like Loic and I discussed many years ago, the best thing about being a blogger is the people you get to meet. It’s also true of being a cartoonist, as well. Cartooning opens doors.
Three weeks ago, the whole cartoonist thing somehow led me to Santa Monica, CA, sitting in the office of Dr. Gian Gonzaga, PhD.
We sat there and talked for about 3 hours. It was one of the most fascinating conversations I’ve had in… like, forever.
Gian’s research, both in academia and for eHarmony, asks very simple questions: What makes for successful couples? What makes for good long-term relationships?
And yeah, as someone who spends a lot of time every year designing fine art Valentines, I find the whole thing absolutely fascinating.
The one big takeaway from the conversation?
It’s called “eHarmony” for a reason. It’s not called “ePassion” or “eSex” or eHookUp or “eRomance” or “eOneNightStand”.
True love, lasting love, cannot exist without some sort of inherent “Harmony” in the relationship. And no amount of sex or passion or romance or money can make up for that. Hence the cartoon above [I actually drew that cartoon well over a year ago, long before I met up with eHarmony. Great minds think alike etc.].
And so eHarmony tries to match single people in a “harmonious” way, to give them a better chance at being in a happy relationship. Visit their site and dig around a little, you’ll see what I mean.
Another big takeaway from Gian?
People are designed for harmony.
We’ve evolved over millions of years to be a certain way. And if we act in such way that is not “in harmony” with this long-term evolved self, we will make ourselves unhappy.
We are made to be good people. We are made to love. We are especially made to love our children. We are made to care about one another (at least in close proximity). We are made to live good lives. We are basically programmed for goodness, and not evil.
The things that make us happy are the same things that made our prehistoric ancestors happy. Our true nature is hard-wired; our true nature has been evolved over millions of years. No amount of “Drugs & Hookers” is going to make you happy, no matter how much money you spend on them. Nature simply didn’t make you that way.
Funny: The day after our meeting, I then found myself in Las Vegas, attending CES on behalf of one of my clients, Intel.
It was REALLY interesting to be in Vegas the day after Dr. Gian. Walking around the bars and casinos, I witnessed a COMPLETELY different worldview from eHarmony’s, to say the least.
I really, really, really enjoyed my meeting with Dr. Gian. I left his office feeling totally energized with my brain on fire. Whatever your take on eHarmony may be, I’m always elevated by people who, in their own way, tried to build their lives and their work around something that isn’t trivial, something that actually matters both to our individual selves and humanity in general. Something not enough of us do. Good luck to him, I say.
[PS: I'm doing a wee Valentine cartoon promo with eHarmony. Watch this space...]