It’s been a while since I blogged. I kinda started, then I just faded out. I’m not the bloggy type, but once in a while, the bug bites me… and I write.
Today, I feel like writing again. I don’t know why, but I just found myself here, wanting to write about love.
I hope this doesn’t get boring… because love is a very common topic and it is very hard to say something about love that is new and insightful.
I don’t think love is just a feeling of affection. Although it is, perhaps, the most common signal we equate to love, it is only one of the symptoms of love. It is not love itself. Also, affection can be triggered by other, should we say, less desirable causes – e.g. lust, greed.
One way in which we attempt to rationalize love is commitment. I think commitment is a measure of love. But commitment is not love. It cannot stand in lieu for love.
I think love explains the presence of affection and commitment, not the other way around.
So what is love?
I think love is an ideal. A virtue that is beyond our reach, but to which we are willing to commit whatever we can to its attainment. It is not a quality we can pin down. It is that indescribable reason that justifies all that we do for which our own personal gain is not the purpose. Love cannot be understood within the context of our base instincts. In order to appreciate love, one must first accept the efficacy of a higher goal. A cause, far more important than ourselves.
Therefore, I believe love is what happens when we become a cause, the effect of which is not directed at our mortal selves. And for love to make sense, the lover must be willing to accept that there is a goal higher than himself/herself.
Although objects of our love could be human, the ultimate goal of love is less so. Although, as humans, our first instinct is to love and preserve ourselves, we are aware that our lives are an insignificant dot in the vast stretch of eternity. We nurse a desire to make it more meaningful. We are afraid that we could just be another random, forgettable, accident of nature. It is within the context of this realization, that we conclude that love for ourselves alone may not be sufficient. Therefore, we struggle to prove our alignment with an order which is more durable, less random. This is what makes love possible.
When love happens, the lover has already committed to pay his/her entire life in exchange for the satisfaction that the life will be attributed with a purpose aligned to an ideal that will outlive the lover. The committed life will be paid either at once, or in piecemeal through acts that uphold, preserve and defend the chosen ideal.
Love is that mind construct that rationalizes our attempts to reach beyond the limits of our mortality and touch eternity. Also, whatever aligns with this love becomes an object of it.
From this perspective, when we choose partners, inasmuch as we could say we love each other, the truth is, we have chosen to love together. We have chosen to reach out together to an ideal that we are both committed to that we hope will be worth the rest of our lives. It is this alignment that makes us the object of each other’s love. However, our love is only an offshoot of the love for a greater ideal which we share.
In reaching towards this ideal, we always fail. No one ever attains it. But that doesn’t prevent us from trying anyway. It is the journey that counts.
So, here is how I summarize my thoughts.
To accept a cause beyond yourself is faith. To work towards an ideal requires hope. The reason that explains all the effort is love.
So these three abide: Faith, Hope and Love. But love justifies everything.