The Art of Loving
- The Shallowness of Modern Love
Love in modern capitalistic societies is often treated shallowly. People are seen as commodities to be used. Each person has a specific package of qualities, which when depending on the value-judgements of others, make them appear as favorable or unfavorable.
They perceive other perspective members of their groups as objects to be possessed, but not as actual human beings.
Once a potential match is made on the market of personality, an individual will enter into an arrangement where they’ll hope to gain some sort of benefit. If their expectations are not fulfilled, then they’ll no longer see the point in giving their “love” to the other person.
People market themselves based on their attractiveness, popularity, status, financial security, and whatever other sets of traits are trending at the time. Opinions change as to what is acceptable. The masses will adapt themselves to what is in favor and promote themselves for future success.
Many people in materialistic societies become infatuated and then mistake their infatuation for love. The intensity of their initial intimacy soon becomes antagonism and boredom, especially once the mirage of passion is gone. As they enter into their relationships with expectations of having perfect partners and ideal mates, they are often led to more failures than successes.
2. Alienation and False Unity
As people grow and become more aware of themselves as individuals, they eventually sense their separateness from others as well. This alienation makes them feel anxious, fearful in their loneliness, and confused about what the purpose of their existence is. They seek out a meaningful direction for their lives that can transcend their loneliness and cosmic insignificance.
People seek to transcend their anxiety of separateness through drugs, orgasms, and conformity to the practices and values of a group.
In many totalitarian societies, conformity is forced on the general population through fear, imprisonment, torture, execution, starvation, and repressive controls in the media. In democratic societies, mass propaganda, political corruption, and expensive marketing is often used to manipulate the masses into servitude.
Many members of capitalistic societies feel that they’re non-conformists, even though their opinions are strikingly similar to the opinions of the rest of their group. They all go to the same schools, work at the same jobs, read the same books, watch the same movies, and share the same favorable ideas with each other.
They have been indoctrinated into certain social, religious, and political groups from the time of their birth, not realizing that their desires have been carefully molded. They genuinely believe in what they do, and who they are, but they don’t realize that if they believed in something different, they wouldn’t have their preferred status.
Conformity is not true unity, but rather, a relinquishing of one’s free thought to the shackles of group rule. In conformity, one seeks an illusion of security while fearing exclusion.
Any unity formed through only sex and drugs is a pseudo sense of unity. Those who seek the highs of either will become attached to expectations of more and more pleasure, which will diminish overtime, after having been temporarily gained.
3. Immature Love and Mature Love
When one person submits to another to escape from their feeling of alienation, they’ve surrendered their integrity for dependence.
They have given up their boundaries to be exploited by the other. Just as that person enters into a masochistic relationship, the one who they’ve come to depend upon is dependent on them as well. The sadist is attached to the masochist just as much as the masochist is attached to the sadist.
In mature love, people unite while still maintaining their integrity. In immature love, people form false-unions in a passive relationship based on mutual exploitation.
Love is active and growing. It is ultimately done in the spirit of giving. To give is not to give away one’s principles or dignity. It is not to forgo one’s values either.
Those who are raised in modern industrial society often expect to receive because they have given. To give without getting anything for their effort makes them feel impoverished. They may even give out of a mistaken belief in sacrifice, and out of a grim obligation to the group, rather than from any sense of joy.
When a person is giving, they are showing what is alive within themselves. They’re genuinely expressing who they are. A giving person cares for the world with active interest, not passive narcissism.
They help other people to grow rather than forcing them to become carbon copies of themselves. They respect the individuality in other people, while also feeling responsible for their own well-being.
Respect is built on the foundation of freedom, not dependence. Only with freedom can there be authentic love.
With love comes acceptance. One learns to accept each unique person as they are, and not judge them.
It’s impossible to know anyone fully, to penetrate into their deepest hearts, but even in the uncertainty between people, there’s appreciation in intimacy, in being together, in learning about each other.
In the act of love, one not only learns about others, but about oneself. The mature person is humble about their incapacity to know the secrets of life, while being in awe of all its mystery.
They’re committed to caring for the world, but don’t cling onto the world greedily. To love is to let go as much as it is to care, to accept as much as it is to change, to grow as much as it is to know the limitations of knowing.
4. Sex and Love
Sexual intimacy can be a manifestation of love. At its height, two selves merge into one, immersed in the present. During sex, one forgets oneself temporarily in a bliss of togetherness.
When the masculine and feminine are distorted in a relationship, then those in that relationship overcompensate for their insecurities. They exploit though lies and manipulations and force. The masculine descends into sadism while the feminine falls back into masochism.
5. Development into Adulthood
While inside the womb, the fetus is entirely dependent on its mother for survival. Then when that baby is born, he or she depends on their mother (or guardian) for milk and warmth and shelter and water and food. As the baby develops into a toddler and child and teenager and so on, they learn of their separateness from other people and things.
During their early development, they’re unconditionally loved by their mother or guardian simply for existing. They receive love for being alive, not necessarily for anything that they have done.
The child, at first, passively accepts love for being who they are. It is only later in their development that they consider giving back.
When a person matures out of their old habits of childish egocentricity, they learn to love in another way. They learn the freedom of independence in newfound knowledge.
As they grow, they figure out how to walk and talk and dress themselves and share and laugh at jokes and write and on and on. They learn the way of the world and how to act properly in that world to be successful. They gain acceptance from others based on what they do and how they think. They fear the absence of warmth that comes from not being accepted.
Mature parents care for their children while also teaching those children how to be independent from them. They do not drag their children down into a state of perpetual dependency.
If parents are successful in their roles, then their children will have internalized their lessons, growing into unique people, engaging their lives with competence and confidence. Parents have to make sure that they are not transferring their own anxieties and prejudices onto their kids. Everything that they think and say and do will influence their children’s development.
6. Brotherly Love
Love is an orientation toward life. To love one person while neglecting the rest of humanity is only an inflated egotism of two.
To truly love one person is to love all of life.
There is no exclusiveness in love, but rather, a deep oneness with all that is.
To love is to love everyone, even those who are helpless, weak, and poor. One gives without thinking of giving and helps only to help. People are neither judged as superior nor inferior. They are viewed only as equals, worthy of affection and dignity.
In western culture, love is often seen as a spontaneous grip of intense feeling, or a clinging devotion to the life of another.
Love is not merely a feeling, but an expression, a commitment, and a promise. Feelings come and go. Love is as much an acceptance of oneself as that of another.
Self-love is not narcissism either. Those who cannot love themselves cannot love others.
The selfish person only desires more for themselves while never being satisfied with what they have or who they are. They take without any consideration for others. Those who are selfish are insecure and devoid of any creative purpose, lacking the capacity to enjoy anything for long.
To love oneself is to love others and vice versa. There’s no true difference between the two.
7. Mythological Symbolism
Matriarchal religions usually emphasize the equality of all life coexisting together. Patriarchal religions are often dominated by hierarchical structures.
In mythology, the mother-figure is one of unconditional love and interdependence, whereas the father-figure is one of justice and truth. There are often hidden mother-figures in patriarchal religions and hidden father-figures in matriarchal religions. An acceptance of these symbols, and their prevalence, depends on the conditions within a given society.
In the deepest mystical parts of religion, God is nameless, or cannot be named, because God is infinite, and there’s no way to contain what is infinite.
Many people view the idea of God as that of a helping father. They expect that God should give them what they desire, such as a partner, a happy life, enlightenment, bliss in the afterlife, a job, and so on. They perceive their religion through a childish dependency instead of though a mature love.
When people realize their ignorance, and no longer assume that they know the truth about all of life, then they become wise in the knowledge of knowing that they don’t know.
Symbols are useful but limited tools that represent aspects of life, while never being life in itself. The ultimate mystery cannot be named. It cannot be described with any accuracy. Models of reality are not reality. Some religions try to define reality, others try to define through claiming what reality is not, while others deny both the denial and the definition. Meanwhile reality, in all its endless mystery, escapes the grasp of intellectualization.
In western religions, love often comes in the form of belief and faith. In eastern religions, love often comes through a feeling of oneness with all that is.
Interwoven in most of these mythological systems are the stages of development in all of humanity, from worshiping a mother protector to obeying a father authority to being fully one with a namelessness that transcends the ego.
8. Modern Capitalistic Societies
Contemporary capitalistic societies place the idea of love in the market. People are conditioned to be productive members of the systems that they are embedded in. They are taught to obey those in power and to play acceptable roles in the social machine. Most people in western societies are alienated from their work, from their communities, and mostly from nature.
These people feel alone while longing for unity. They fill their desperate alienation with the consumption of books, movies, music, cigarettes, phones, religions, and other people, as if these were disposable products.
Everything is a refuge, a distraction, from underlying feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and fear. People are judged by how they can satisfy each other while they don’t really know each other.
Modern western societies often encourage infantile forms of love though mediums such as movies, romance novels, and magazines. Consumers are taught to chase after abstractions of love, to idolize their partners, and to depend on rituals of manipulative seduction to win over attractive mates.
All too often, many people transfer the dependencies of their childhoods onto their partners. They see their mates as another form of their parents or other authority figures. They expect to gain security and love and care and so on, usually until they grow bored, or their partner fails to fulfill their unrealistic expectations.
They live in the past and future, never the present, projecting all their problems onto others. Often they avoid real conflicts with their partners, and settle instead for petty dramas, because they fear being alone more than anything.
Individuals often sacrifice their integrity for apathy in conformity. They no longer seek truth, but rather, copy others for success in the market of personality.
Their lives are routines in a system where they must comply. They wake up to work from 9–5, marry, raise 2.5 children, listen to the radio hits, surf the web, post on social media, and consume, consume, consume in a state of idleness.
In order to learn how to love, people need solitude. No television, no phone, nothing but themselves. If people cannot be alone, then they will never know the vitality of their thoughts, feelings, and sensations. They’ll never learn how to listen to their inner voices.
Mature people take care of themselves. They are aware of unhealthy people and unhealthy environments and avoid those situations when they can. They listen more than they speak. When they do listen, they absorb what is being said from a place of deep openness, rather than waiting to respond.
They are fully present in what they do, whether they’re eating a bowl of rice or driving a car or sitting in a waiting room.
When people deeply concentrate as a habit, they learn to be sensitive to the changes within themselves and others. They’re not tense, but alert, not worried with doubts, but open to what may come.
10. Transcendence in Love
As people learn to love, they gradually transcend their narcissistic orientations. Rather than thinking only of themselves, they’re sensitive to the inner-worlds of others.
Those who love are humble. They strive for objectivity in every situation, while knowing how much they don’t know.
Love comes not only from each individual’s independence but from their deep trust in who they are, despite what anyone else thinks or says or does. They are faithful, not merely to their opinions, but to their dignity as human beings. They’re present, open to the world, while never betraying their inner worth.
Love can permeate every aspect of life. It is ever bountiful, passing from neighbors to strangers.
As people trust in themselves, they learn to see the value in serving others. They do not find love in any system or group, but only in themselves, and in each other.