We can learn a great deal from History. The details in old stories awake our curiosity. Knowing what has happened in the past gives us perspective. Trying to figure out explanations renders us thoughtful; comparing sources, insightful. Theories unconfirmed by facts prompt a man to stop, not to move. Doubts make us reflect and yearn for proof.
Teachings of permanent value
Casanova's autobiography is an outstanding literary achievement that
has elevated its author to the prototype of perfect seducer. Few novels
or essays have equalled his vivid depiction of the best and worst in
human nature. His portrayal of vanity and foolishness has remained fresh
through the centuries, providing evidence of how little the world has
Does Casanova's romantic advice still apply in the age
of instant messaging and on-line dating? Are there practical lessons
that we can draw from his experience? Would Casanova (1725-1798) have
proven an effective seducer also in the era of mobile phones and blogs?
answer might surprise you, but I am convinced that on-line dating would
have not modified Casanova's results. His story would have been
repeated, sequence by sequence, only faster. He would have become
extremely successful in the short term, but eventually, as it did
happen, he would have ended up in loneliness and financial ruin.
the fact that Casanova was not particularly handsome, we can be sure
that, if he lived today, he would have placed a fantastic photo on his
internet dating profile. Through clever grooming, lighting, and
composition, he would have managed to portray himself as irresistible.
people who date on-line don't take the trouble to do that, since they
prefer to be themselves. They opt for looking as they usually do even if
that makes them less popular.
Well-crafted but foolish
The text of Casanova's internet
dating profile would have been well crafted. Most likely, he would not
have mentioned many details about himself. Instead, he would have
written what potential romantic partners want to hear. His internet
chatting would have consisted of witty and flattering remarks. Empty
words are as effective with foolish people today as they were two centuries
We can also be sure that, in his internet dating, Casanova
would have remained a relentless liar driven by short-term benefits. In
the 18th century, he was a manipulator bent on immediate action. His
tactics consisted of assailing preys with flowers and jewellery until
the battle was won.
Would he have found contemporary romantic
films too slow? Possibly. The real Casanova was as fast in charging as
he was in retreating. His objective was to win and deplete the
confidence of his victims. His effectiveness was measured in days. His
purpose would not accept any delays. Even in the worst of times, few men
possess Casanova's callousness.
Feeding the soul
Finally, we can also assume that
Casanova's house of cards would have inevitably collapsed in a
contemporary context. Romantic attraction without substance can never be
sustained for long. If we trust literature and History, human nature
has not fundamentally changed in this respect.
orientation involves high psychological costs and deprives man of the
possibility of attaining real affection. Being focused only on immediate
benefits starves the spirit and destroys the soul.
Looking for a
life's partner is an exercise in self-knowledge which needs just the
time it takes. Remain true to your rational nature and learn from
Casanova's mistakes. Discard a short-term approach to human
relationships. It generates disproportionate costs and inevitably
results in failure.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living
[Image by dicktay2000 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]