April 24, 2024



Valuing Love

We are told constantly that we must “love” everyone. Leaders of movements declare that they “love” followers they have never 키스방사이트. Enthusiasts of personal-growth workshops and encounter-group weekends emerge from such experiences announcing that they “love” all people everywhere.

Just as a currency,Valuing Love Articles in the process of becoming more and more inflated, has less and less purchasing power, so words, through an analogous process of inflation, through being used less and less discriminately, are progressively emptied of meaning.

It is possible to feel benevolence and goodwill toward human beings one does not know or does not know very well. It is not possible to feel love. Aristotle made this observation twenty-five hundred years ago, and we still need to remember it. In forgetting it, all we accomplish is the destruction of the concept of love.

Love by its very nature entails a process of selection, of discrimination. Love is our response to what represents our highest values. Love is a response to distinctive characteristics possessed by some beings but not by all. Otherwise, what would be the tribute of love?

If love between adults does not imply admiration, if it does not imply an appreciation of traits and qualities that the recipient of love possesses, what meaning or significance would love have and why would anyone consider it desirable?

In his book “The Art of Loving,” Erich Fromm wrote: “In essence, all human beings are identical. We are all part of One; we are One. This being so, it should not make any difference whom we love.”

Really? If we were to ask our lovers why they care for us, consider what our reaction would be if told, “Why shouldn’t I love you? All human beings are identical. Therefore, it doesn’t make any difference whom I love. So it might as well be you.” Not very inspiring, is it?

So I find the advocacy of “universal love” puzzling — if one takes words literally. Not everyone condemns sexual promiscuity, but I have never heard of anyone who hails it as an outstanding virtue. But spiritual promiscuity? Is that an outstanding virtue? Why? Is the spirit so much less important than the body?

In commenting on this paradox, Ayn Rand wrote in “Atlas Shrugged”: “A morality that professes the belief that the values of the spirit are more precious than matter, a morality that teaches you to scorn a whore who gives her body indiscriminately to all men — the same morality demands that you surrender your soul in promiscuous love for all comers.”

My own impression is that people who talk of “loving” everyone are, in fact, expressing a wish or a plea that everyone love them. But to take love — above all, love between adults — seriously, to treat the concept with respect and distinguish it from generalized benevolence or goodwill, is to appreciate that it is a unique experience possible between some people but not between all.