Love is just one of the many facets of the human experience
Behold! I’ve been summoned to mull over an idea. As I am used to tinkering with thoughts, mulling on ideas is a related pleasant activity. However, tinkering is synthetic, while mulling is analytic. The problem with analysis is that it is a time hungry option, and time is the least available resource ever for us humans. Therefore, my mulling will be less deep than it should be.
BHD has written a great perspective piece on how civilization is in fact a history of oppression. First thing, evolution is not civilization, just to clear things up. We are not more evolved than the Romans were, we’re even just barely more civilized. We are strongly technologically superior to our ancestors, but we’re very much the same as far as evolution goes.
Why did I start with evolution vs civilization? Because it is important to understand that we’re the same people today as the people who were trying to figure out what makes volcanoes shoot flames to the sky and concluded there must be a dragon inside. We just base our construction on a priori knowledge, not on better brains or bodies. No evolution.
Humanity still struggles to become human. (BHD)
is a great description of the situation I’ve seen in a long time. Sure, it speaks volumes, but only if the volumes have spoken to you. Ask around and see how it is hard to get folks to convey the meaning of the phrase above.
But then the perspective’s vanishing point is revealed: love. So I immediately got back to one of my previous “posts”, tinkering on love.
Love gives meaning to live, and that’s about all it does. I don’t see how “love is where evolution is guiding us”. For many reasons, first being that love is a sentiment or a state, but it is one of many. It is not the end, nor the beginning.
I believe the person to blame for our misguided voting of Love as president of all beingness is Kierkegaard with his interpretation of religious and dogmatic principles as the pillars of a good life. Soren gave us the idea of agape love and it took in exchange clarity in our thinking about the diverse problems we’re facing in our brief existences.
These are Christian reflections; therefore they are not about love but about the works of love, says SK.
The idea above exists simply because we are limiting God by stating “God is love”, but I, a mere human, can state that definitely God is not love. God may love, can love, would, could love. God should love. Me. You. But to reduce every thing to one thing must be a fallacy of thinking, even if we do it for temporarily grasping vague infinities such as the Trinity. We cannot shrink God beyond the tzimtzum.
I have no idea why we like to artificially hand pick “chosen” parts of ourselves and declare them to be better than other parts. Love is a very good ingredient in our lives, with enough self education and grounded attention we might even act as beings of love, immersing our entire activity (“work” in Soren’s words) in our state of love. Because, indeed, love can be a state or a sentiment. When it is a state, we look at it as more than the love we give to girlfriends, brothers, parents, as Tremaine L. Loadholt argues, we start to believe we are it. We believe we are love when love is our current state.
But is love the most desirable state to be in?
Love is this bully that snaps you from the strings inside you never knew you had and puppets you into being everything you’re not.
My view is that the only true love a human being is capable to experience is the love towards their child. That is the basic wiring inside ourselves on which the state or sentiment of love is weaved upon. What crawls upward on that hard wired conditioning towards raising our progeny is then refracted through our personality as all the other “types” of love we spread around: love for life, love for the other, love for the kin, love for the parents, love for the lovers and so on. All these other types of love Tremaine, are not of a lower type, they are the same thing.
It doesn’t matter if you have children or not. Love is a state which sucks energy from higher, more distilled forms, and sends it in a downward spiral as fuel for our will to live and, well, keep calm and carry on. But it does this as a dictatorship, you do not have a choice here. If you can choose, you usually exhibit some kind of sociopath diagnosis.
1 Corinthians 13:4–8 describes the dread of being taken by love in its purest form. Love is an efficient machine of ripping out of you any way of asserting yourself above Life. Love gives the meaning we require to stop our inner barbaric and maniacal impulses to kill each other because we hate the tea we had this morning.
If those whom we begin to love could know us as we were before meeting them … they could perceive what they have made of us, (A.C.)
and without a clear idea if he meant what I think he did, I still find this to be a nice way to put my bully perspective above.
Tremaine L. Loadholt you said:
Love is the best thing (IMHO) we can gift to someone else. It is priceless, takes several seconds to display, and lasts a lifetime.
The best gift to someone else is the gift which matches exactly what they need. If one needs answers, love isn’t it. If one needs health, love doesn’t cut it. Of one needs time, love takes away even more of it. If one needs freedom, love will make their captivity easier to bear, and freedom farther still. If one needs a future, love will infuse it with such a disillusion that when it arrives the past suddenly appears idyllic. And not everyone can perceive love in several seconds, even if we can display it ever so fast. It is priceless and it does last a lifetime, indeed, you cannot fall out of love. But you can hate, which means fighting the love in you because you can’t stand its dictatorship anymore.
Nietzsche does something good in regard to our subject, that is to shine some light on another problem with the all encompassing notion of Love: love has very little to do with lust.
There is no such thing as erotic love!
As far as erotic states go there is only lust and hunger. This terrible limiting idea of “erotic love” keeps sex and sexuality at bay from entering society as normal human-ness for millennia. Love is love, sex is sex. Love does lead to lust. Lust does lead to love. Yet they are separate states, and sex is an effect of the state of lust, while sexuality is a personality aspect that encompass everything from reason, to love, to attachment, to perception, and to simple biology. There is an abyss of human sexuality precisely because it is a personality aspect, something that gets built and cooks inside one’s unique experience. Love is a part of sexuality, sometimes a very, very small part, other times a huge part, mostly depending on your childhood, that’s where Freud as weird as he is got it right, in my view.
The notion that love and a ‘pure soul’ will do whatever is needed without any grit or sweat from the effort and thoughtfulness of our choices and deliberation, is a huge and pervasive catastrophe to me. Classical Sass
Not only to you! But the notion is right, even if not correct. A person in a state of love, or experiencing the sentiment of love, will do whatever is needed and the grit and sweat are lubricated by love to such an extent that for an outside observer they are not there. It is not correct though, because we humans keep everything we were into who we are so that we can be who we become. Therefore a drop of hindsight will reveal the grit and sweat that appeared to not be there.
Love is unconditional only if it is reciprocal.
Unconditional unidirectional love moves to a different state called devotion. That is not love anymore. That is why it is good to be friends to those whom you “marry”.
Plato said that love must contain admiration for its object, and I agree. My opinion is that you cannot feel direct love or altruism at another human unless you honestly believe they are better than you. Because the root is our hard wiring to raise progeny, and we all think our children will do better than us.
BHD, though, summoned me for another point as an answer to Dave Araki: to talk about how we need to stop talking about love, and talk about things that can really bring about change.
Recently I posted an answer to one of umair haque’s pieces on love as empathy. One note was:
Why is love better than, say, compassion? Or wisdom? Or equilibrium? Or continence? Who made the chart? Isn’t it a bit mistaken to teach the supremacy of love in a world where people are controlled by anger? I wonder a lot if love really emancipates the human being. Its irrationality and downward direction are giving me the doubts.
So, yeah, my view on civilization’s next step is to move from oppression to wisdom. Peace is attained through victory, not love. No lover ended a war ever, but many loves started wars. The concept of peace is a concept of force. I would go as far as to rename History into Power. Power strong enough is effecting victory. Victory has nothing to do with battle or war. Victory is the only deity the warrior worships, and as long as we’ll be competitive creatures, we’ll have warriors. Victory means creating a skewed equilibrium, where the lower power succumbs.
Peace is a concept we misuse a lot. When we assume peace as a mission we are merely building bigger armies and more evil guns.
What we sometimes mean by peace is prosperity. Prosperity is attained by wisdom. Many times by peace we mean advancement. Advancement is many times in the realm of determination, because it is generally the result of failure. Some other times we mean by peace, communion. Communion is the effect of compassion. Which brings me to: the bonding behaviors.
In my ideas about what we are, I see a behavior as composed of many states. In my view a “good” behavior will produce many more good effects than a “good” state. Therefore I’d go as far as to consider that empathy, compassion and sympathy are far better things to forge than love, both at the scale of humanity and at the simple human individual level.
Desire that emerges out of connectedness to all other life is love in action. BHD
That is beautifully put. But it doesn’t deal with the individual ego of every human. Why we pretend that once submersed in universal awareness we’ll loose ourselves, beats me. Love is not the timeless piece of the universal puzzle, BHD. Love lasts just for your lifetime.
Empathy is a feature we can grow into humans, just as we grow math skills in children, helping them figure out numbers by counting beans. Who ever had a class of empathy? Compassion is a concept where humanist science culture and education help immensely, but we need more coders! And to feel sympathy we require more than the automaton life choices of nine to five wage slavery, because sympathy is rooted in direct experience.
There are ways to move our society in the direction of prosperity, advancement and communion, ways that cultivate the proper human development that is required way longer after we experience the life enhancing gift of meaning that love will give us at some point in life.
Martin Rezny replied to me in a very beautiful piece I’ll end it for now with this quote, as a warning on making human evolution the story of love:
Dreams can turn into nightmares very easily in the absence of spiritual awareness informing a moral conscience, while even the most primitive state of affairs can actually be a utopia, if the humans living in that community manage to glean enough transcendental insight.