The Beatles Were Wrong: The Love You Take Is Not Equal to the Love You Make

The Beatles are wrong about very few things. Collectively, they were practically infallible (just look at Sgt. Peppers). Individually, well, they were all hot messes. And yet, for the most part, in their art, there were no untruths. With just one exception: “The End.” In keeping with its incorrectness, it is also, for some reason, the second to last song on Abbey Road, rather than what it should be: the end. Maybe this bizarre placement was a testament to The Beatles’ distinctly British sense of humor. Their unique tongue-in-cheek way of saying that this aphorism is actually a lot of bollocks.

Because, in truth and when you really examine it, the love you take is never equal to the love you make. There is always some disproportionate reciprocity, some fashion in which “the other” in the relationship cannot or will not return what you have put out toward them.

With the phrase, “Love you,” repeated a total of twenty-four times, it’s plain to see the real reason The Beatles need to repeat it so often stems from one of those “methinks the lady doth protest too much” motives, where insistence upon a sentiment tends to mean its exact opposite. The era in The Beatles’ career that Abbey Road was released in (the end) is telling of this vehement axiom, for, yes, at a certain point, the quartet comprised of John, Paul, George and Ringo did love one another. Loved and understood each other in a way that no other human being could as a result of enduring an experience so singular in nature that it required the creation of a new word to describe it: Beatlemania.

But like all extremes of intensity in emotion, the spectrum of love that The Beatles felt for one another, particularly John and Paul, turned to hatred. After all, aren’t the two feelings merely sides of the same pence? The things they once enjoyed and appreciated about each other shifted into the very qualities they despised, that would lead to their uncomfortable disbanding. Yet one assumes you can’t experience contempt for a person until, at one point or another, loving them with the burning fire of a thousand suns. And it is precisely because of this that the love you take is never equal to the love you make. Because so often it transmutes, like some tainted form of alchemy, into ire and vitriol for the person who can’t return your emotions in exactly the same way. Particularly if said person has any trace of Scorpio-ness within himself. Lennon only narrowly avoided this sign by two weeks with his October 9th birthday.

So no, there can be no equality or satisfaction in love, no matter how much you try to emanate it from your inner self. This doesn’t give you license to be an asshole, but just don’t expect much in return from other people or humanity at large as a consequence of listening to “The End.”