This is not a religious discussion. Though it starts off as sounding religious, it is not. Please read it in its entirety. However, I should warn you that this article is graphic. Discretion is advised. No offense is intended, I assure you. I’ am only keeping things real. I suppose I do this with the intent to show its realities. Again, read with caution. Some may agree with me and some may not. Some may be in shock at what I say. That is fine. I merely post and hope. Let me begin by quoting the following Biblical verse of Scripture…
I Corinthians 13 (KJV)
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
(Just a notation, notice the word “charity” is used in place of the word “love” in the King James Bible – interesting, wouldn’t you say?)
Now that we have read from what many consider the highest virtue of love/charity described, let us now be reminded of its philosophical connotations.
Philosophers State the Following:
1. Love Has a Nature About Itself: Conceptual Love – in other words love has a nature that is describable within the concepts of language. But what is language? What language is used to describe the describable nature of love? What is its substance? The epistemology of love asks how we may know love, how we may understand it, whether it is possible or plausible to make statements about others or ourselves being in love (which touches on the philosophical issue of private knowledge versus public behavior). If love does possesses “a nature” which is identifiable by some means – a personal expression, a discernible pattern of behavior, or other activity, it can still be asked whether that nature can be properly understood by humanity.
2. Love Has Another Nature About Itself: Romantic Love – Romantic love is the desire for beauty. We see something beautiful within the boundaries of our westernized standards, we thus act upon it – it becomes a conceptual reality. Beauty varies. It varies in the east, south and north. What we consider beauty in the west may be considered repugnant in the south. In the west woman often use fashionable high heeled shoes, short dresses, low neck lines, and facial makeup to attract members of the opposite sex. Though not always the case, it is the norm. In the south there are indigenous tribes that consider only the beauty of the face – especially their lips and ears. Often elongating the lips and/or ear lobes (5-8 inches. Ears about 3 inches) to ensure romance. Romantic love is deemed to be of a higher metaphysical and ethical status than sexual or physical attractiveness alone. The idea of romantic love initially stems from the Platonic tradition that love is a desire for beauty – a value that transcends the particularities of the physical body. It is its attempt to capture it. To capture its essence.
3. The Nature of Love: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual – Some hold that love is nothing but a physical response. A chemical reaction from the brain. The Science Channel has devoted countless episodes concerning love’s apparent physical attributes, often comparing them to primates and other species of the animal kingdom. When it comes to the physical and emotional aspects of love, we see the following; caring, listening, attending to, preferring to others, and so on. Lower forms of life demonstrate these traits as well. Yes, primates and other species can care and even listen by way of their gestures and animalistic languages by way of cooing, hissing, growling in jealously, and even foreplay – where the female rules and teases its male counterparts into a liaison. Yet some species demonstrate a promiscuous life style while others remain completely monogamous – even to the point of seeking that one mate to reproduce as they did the previous year among thousands until they have found each other again (as in the case of seals).
Those who adhere to this definition of love are known as Physical Determinists.
Physical Determinist’s consider love to be a physical chemical-biological reaction to Behaviorism. While behaviorism entails love (or its apparent so-called existence), it is nothing more than a learned behavior; a series of actions and preferences based on the ego. “What is it I want?” Then after that the next question naturally comes, “what does the man want?” “what does the woman want?” These are common wants, necessities and curiosities. The existence of such entails “hope.” The hopes or expectations of a given marriage, the perfect marriage, if you will. The only problem with this theory is that the potential actor who demonstrates the conceptual reality of love (as described above) may lack the inner state of its true emotion: identity.
Now some may deny that love can not possibly be an emotion because love simply does not exist. This is similar to the theologian that expresses what God is not, rather than what He is; I.e., love, forgiving, patient, kind, etc. We can feel sad, we can feel happy, but we can not see it – as an empirical substance, like food, solids, etc. We can see the effects of gravity, but we can not see it – albeit some theoretical physicists argue that gravity, as well as mathematical expressions really do not exist. I leave that to them, our topic is “Love.”
Another problem for those who claim that love is reducible to the physical attractiveness of a potential mate, or to the blood ties of family and kin which forge bonds of final love, is that it does not capture the affections between those who can not or wish not to reproduce. That is, physicalism or determinism ignores the possibility of romantic and ideological love – it may explain eros, but not philia or agape.
Agape, Unconditional Love (UC). Whether between romantic partners – which is really philia orientated, between parents and their children, or between humanitarians and all humankind, UC is the state of being that demonstrates an undying love, feeling, or emotion for an individual regardless of their shortcomings. Whether their shortcomings are financial, physical, abusive, drug related, alcoholic, or sexual deviation, love endues all things. But most of the time this type of love is associated with God. You can’t hurt God – not really.
Again, not to turn this topic into a religious debate, but to consider God as being Agape is to consider Him/Her to be passive (a pasty) no parental correction whatsoever. But that is not the case, guidelines exist. Some call these guidelines, the Ten Commandments. Some call it the Golden Rule, and some call it Ethics. Selfless love is love that never asks “what’s in it for Me?” Rather, it is always asking “what’s in it for the beloved?” “What do I need to do to make the life of the beloved better, no matter the cost to myself?” But humans are vulnerable. In us, too much hurt, betrayal or disappointment kills even the deepest, most enduring love. However, it is interesting to point out that even though “loving thy neighbor as thyself” – is considered the Golden Rule; it is the same thing as saying “I love you because I love my self.”
The Golden Rule has nothing to do with love – it destroys the concept of love, it sounds a bit selfish. In fact in all probability it is selfish. Therefore love, though a romanticized word – even in the Bible and the Qur’an – does not exist as we believe it to exist. It is provided only for the cataphatic sense of thinking and knowledge. Cataphatic theology (Positive Theology), is that which describes God through affirming specific Godly attributes such as Love and Mercy. As opposed to the apophatic sense – as in Apophatic Theology (describing God by negation – what He is not).
But does loving your neighbor as yourself mean loving your self unconditionally also? Because if we do, then we are selfish at the same time because it entails looking after number 1 – yourself! But we don’t fall in love with ourselves, if we do it is considered to be narcissistic. What we do with ourselves, however, may be considered charitable. We care for our well being; as in clothing ourselves, making sure we are fed, making sure we are healthy, clean, groomed, and nurtured spiritually. This is unconditional to our well bring. Shouldn’t we do the same to our beloved? Charity has nothing to do with love – it destroys the concept of love.
A good man will see the need to reciprocate to his beloved by working, bringing home the bacon (though today it takes two sometimes to bring home the bacon), being affectionate, loving, etc; in order to provide the charity. While the woman will demonstrate patience (though some men demonstrate this – the general consensuses is that it is a female trait), beauty, and a good sense of an overall home maker. Women and men seek conditions. However, when you love somebody unconditionally, it actually puts you in a unique position to hold them to high standards.
It has to do with self worth. A woman will not date a man that is willfully, or by circumstances beyond his control, unemployed at first glance. She may not date a man who, according to her standards, is on his way to no where. In reversal, a man will not date a woman based on these issues – to him, she is seen as someone merely interested in the outward trimmings of his wallet and the accepted social norm – what she can bring home to mommy or daddy. For the man it is different, he would want to bring home a woman who is of the non-wanting persuasion. My mama (God rest her soul) used to always say, two things; “does she know you work?” And, “does she know you have an education?” If I said “yep” she would say “oh one those huh?” If I said “nope” she would exclaim, “and she’s still interested?” “Good choice Thomas!”
In other words a state of real love/charity can exist if the two parties demonstrate;
1. Physical Determinism
(which in all honesty seems to exist). This is physical attraction (for one reason or another) – But this is only the top of the surface, subject to possible changes. Changes due to an accident, a deformity or loss of income, etc. As time goes by many people fall out of love because the choices they made involved the following:
1. Parental or overall family approval.
2. A person’s financial position
3. A persons social standing.
4. A person’s education; etc.
Or, it may keep the couple together because they share a common interest. “Birds of a feather flock together!” But does this prove love? The saying; “To fall out of love is never to have loved at all,” is true. It is true because one doesn’t fall in or out into something willingly. It is rather a physical directional force that drives many – it is not love. Falling in and out of love breeds lust. It breeds lust because it relies on the first two concepts; physical determinism and behaviorism. It started on the right track – but was pressurized into not demonstrating the unconditional aspects of love. One should always have the will of choice to choose love; and not to “fall” in or “out” of it.
Prostitutes, pimps, and the sexual deviant freely focus their intentions on lust (sex) and greed, instead of love. They often do so without the pressurized system of social acceptance. In other words they have the attitude of the “I don’t give a shit approach!” “I don’t give a damn about what my parents think!” ” I don’t give a damn what society thinks about me” “I don’t care about his or her education, or financial status, just as long as he or she can satisfy me, and can pay up!” These payments are usually just a one time thing. However, for the record, most prostitutes are either victims of their own misguided bad choices, various circumstances or financial hardships. Poverty, a lack of education, drug abuse, family abuse, and even sexual abuse often play a role in the choices some of these individuals make. But for some, they actually desire the lifestyle of a prostitute by free will.
On the other hand we have the moral, proper man and woman who has received all that a proper society has to offer; a loving family, an education, a job or self employment. They demonstrate physical determinism and learned behaviorism. The kin, in this case, repeats the next level – one of; parental or overall family approval, the showing off of a person’s financial position, a persons social standing, a person’s education, etc. This level was also achieved by their parents. It is a cycle. But is this “love?” Is this unconditional? I’m afraid it is NOT. It is a package – a package that goes beyond the prostitute. It is a selfish need to satisfy the wants and necessities of the here and the future. But the prostitute and pimp is only interested in the here and now. Which is the greater offense? You tell me.
In most LGBTQ relationships the package deal does not exist. However, the general consensus is that the partner/mate should strive to better themselves. Their relationships are based on the same principles given above – it is no different as far as the mechanics go. But it is seen as different or odd to some, even wrong. But I ask, “what is right and what is wrong anyway?” But now we are talking about morality and ethics. And that is not what this article is about – let us keep our focus.
But some may argue, that the moral woman can provide lust, love, stability and a future; while the prostitute can not. While that may be true, the price of the moral woman is still nevertheless a package deal worth a bank account, good credit standing, a good job, and even a good education. But the whore only asks for a one time gratuity of; $25 for a blow job, $50 to shallow, and $100 to $200 for intercourse. And that is it. You never have to see them again, unless they became a regular. Moreover, it should be understood that although a prostitute does not provide stability, love, or a future; it doesn’t necessarily mean they can not. We all have the ability for the know how.
However, when unconditional love is able to demonstrate its ability to look past the trained behavioral ego and see a person – the soul – without financial status, without a social status, without a job, without a child; it is then truly demonstrated and proven. For the soul/mind has no tangible physical realities, it is independent from such. It is the Cartesian approach as opposed to merely the behavioral. Cartesianism deals with the dualism between the mind/soul and body – it is the Platonic and Aristotelian viewpoint concerning love. Hence it is my opinion that to truly love a person is to love their soul/mind – this supersedes the body – physical attraction – though important as physical attraction is, it is not the only attribute of this invisible concept we call “love.” Physical attraction merely starts the engines, but in order to keep the engines going you constantly need to fill it with gasoline. And so it is with physical love. That is why folks fall in and out of love so quickly because they pretty soon run out of gasoline. So instead of feeding the physical love into something greater, most folks opt to use another car, and so on, and so on, and so on.
Let me start off by saying there are no conclusions to the matter at hand. There are no set standards to apply. Love, as we have demonstrated, can be seen (in the physical) as in its attributes: caring, listening, providing, forgiving, patience, etc. But these, as we have learned, are more in way of a charitable nature (love in action if you will). The concept of true love may or may not exist as we believe it to be. Remember, it is not a tangible substance, but we see what many equate as qualities of a describable love. But physical attraction exists, lust exists, sex exists, romance exists, and charity exists. Unconditional love however is self denial – a rare trait today. It is the love of the soul/mind, even onto your own. Where physical determinism and behavioral standards, though not ceasing, springs into life that which becomes the “Hope.” To me hope, besides charity, is the better love in action. But how to test hope is another thing altogether. We have often heard of testing one’s love, but what about testing one’s hope?
Now many would claim “I do not need to test hope because I’ve been hoping for a long time!” “I love him, but he is not doing anything to better himself!” “He is still job-less, and penny-less and I’ve been with him for a year or more!” “I hope he changes!” Let me ask you a question then, “are you any different financially with him?” Nine out of ten times the answer would be “no.” Then way all the fuss? I would also ask, “Do you spend money on him?” “Yes I do.” In reference to that there are only two reasons why one would continue to spend money on the other person: 1. It is because you do it for yourself; like going to the movies, going bowling – you want his company. 2. You buy him things he needs – which has nothing to do with you, but you do it because you have charity, not love for him at this moment. In other words, you have grown, he has not.
The same applies for the men – some woman are gold diggers, but you love her because she treats you well, but overall your pocket is suffering – charity suffers. You have charity for her because your love has grown, while hers has not. Why do you do it? You do it to fulfill the male ego. You do it more so than the woman because society claims it is proper to provide for the woman, to pay the check always. To pick up the tab. This is where hope comes into play. People set standards (hope) that will, on some occasions, fail. In order to test love or hope let me suggest the following:
Men! When upon meeting a woman and she’s asks you “what do you do” in other words she wants to know if you are financially secured, tell her “I’m unemployed” “But I’m looking” Lets see how interested she is in you after that (remember my example of my mother’s quotes and citations?). Of course this may be hard for some men to do, especially if they make good money – they want to empress, ergo the ego hates to be beaten down. But I find it rather easy to beat down. I find it quite fun actually. But of course you can’t stretch it no further than say 6 months into a relationship – then and only then, in my opinion, you will discover her worth in you. Yes, in you! Also try not to appear so fashionable – avoid self-vanity.
Women! When upon meeting a man and he asks you “What are you looking for in a man?” By all means tell him “I’m looking for a man that will love me and my child/children unconditionally” And if circumstances permit parade your sister’s or cousins children in front of him – to make it seem believable – and lets see how interested he is in you then. Of course this may be a bit difficult for some women because they want to appear young, full of vitality, sexy, not tied down, but free. But this test can only go for at least two or three months, least he get attached to your sister’s kids. Also try not to appear so fashionable – avoid self-vanity. Wear a long dress instead of showing off your legs and open toe high heels. Wear a simple pair of shoes and slacks. If he is still attracted to you, then by all means he may be a good catch for you.
However, no matter how you slice it, even this test is subject to an individual wants and desires. However, it is better to be deceived for a short season than to be deluded by a standardized expectation of hope that may (not that it doesn’t) never come to fruition. It weeds out the fakers, the pretenders, the actors (as mentioned above) and the wanna-be’s. After, when all is said by way of deception, then we can truly exclaim “He/She is my beloved – for He/she loves me unconditionally.” “What’s in it for the beloved?” “What do I need to do to make the life of the beloved better, no matter the cost to myself?”
But remember. “All is vain” (the Book of Ecclesiastes).
Love is one of the greatest bi-polar emotional virtue/vices that one can fall into or out of. This is probably why the words; “I love you” were never issued from the mouth of God. The words “I love you” is no where to be found in the Bible, the Qur’an, the Bhagavad Gita, or any other works of Holy Writ. Most likely because God is “a moral” – outside of issues of morality and ethics. He is not bound under the conditions of love and so forth, because if it were so then He would be subject to something over Him – as if it existed before Him; hence shaking His omnipotence. Moreover, there wouldn’t be misery in the world if He was bound to such issues of love and morality. All issues of morality and ethics; including love, was written for our benefit, not His.
Yet how is He able to STILL accomplish worship and love from creatures that see Him not? How does He pull this off? The cat, remember the cat. The love is there for the taking. We see it all around us. But we must be passive about it. That IS unconditional love. We do not have to be told it, or even say it. But it is there. Why am I bringing God into this scenario? Answer: I’ am trying to show a comparison between what many would consider the highest virtue of love when compared to that of mortal love.
In my humble opinion, the answer between the two lies within “you.” You are “love.” You have your own form of love. You have its virtues and vices, like mentioned earlier. It is now up to you to sharpen this thing we call “love” to your OWN advantage. To “My own” advantage Thomas? Isn’t that a bit selfish? No, it is not. Once you’ve attained an advantage over love – it’s vices, then you can share it in its purity, if you want that is, anyway you please. Be it the sharing of your time in volunteer work, feeding the poor, helping people in general, writing your thoughts and beliefs (like I do) or sharing it with someone new; you will definitely draw people to yourself, especially women, because women are the virtues of humanity.
But sometimes it’s virtues are corrupted due to society and peer pressures. Whether corrupted by drink, lust, vanity or love itself; you will have the ability to say “Nope, he’s/she’s gorgeous, yes! And I love, or I could definitely love him/her, but nope!” “I’ am love and I control who loves me and desires to spend time with me.” Pretty much like God, huh? Passive, but persuasive. They will see it. Just like many who see God, but yet have no empirical evidence, except for the creation that surrounds us on a daily basis and a bunch of books that records His charities and judgments, yet they/we have no evidence pertaining to the words “I love you” or “I love humanity” written in down in any Scripture. Such an oddity, wouldn’t you say? Yet marvelous and poetic at the same time.
Independence; what a wonderful gift!
This dichotomy will create a true self worth, a true identity within yourself – hence allowing yourself to be the boss man, or woman, over that emotion we call “love.” Only then can we be true to our own particular forms of love as we see it to ourselves. So yes, love does not exist, it only exists as reflection of its highest virtue – an abstract, so to speak. It’s charity is seen though; and we must be true to it. Remember the words of Shakespeare…
“In all this, to thyself be true” – Hamlet
True Love/Charity/Expectation & Hope, may we all experience it!