Monday, January 14, 2008

The real meaning of love

From an unlikely source: a Spanish priest talks about his book that connects the crisis in marriage with the crisis in religious vocations. The key to understanding this unlikely connection is that he believes the modern world misunderstands love. Here is the "money quote" as they say.
Father Manglano: Starting with Spinoza, philosophy has proposed a subjective love: Love will be a passion that awakens my happiness because of my relationship with a person with whom there is chemistry, as we tend to say.

Love will come as a sensation that I find in myself. Then, what I love when I say that I love is nothing distinct from myself. In that way, things, love lasts only as long as the sensation lasts. The moment the sensation disappears, or I wake up as a different person, that first love will have died, and on and on. Love understood in this way is necessarily ephemeral.

Nevertheless, other philosophies understand love as something objective: It is the free exercise of loving another person, of uniting myself to him or her.

The "you" is not an opportunity to feel like I'm in love, but rather the "you" is the motive for which I come out of myself to base myself on another vital center, which is the person of the beloved.

Love is "in relation to": I come out of myself and go toward the one who gives to me. Then yes, it is possible to accomplish an eternal love, that is, after all, what all of us would like.

I make an argument similar to this in the closing chapters of Love and Economics

1 comment:

Roland said...

This may also be kind of funny, but in my philosophy courses there are certain 'loaded words' that I forbid the class to use in essays without defining them. 'Love' is the first word on the list ('feelings' and 'relationships' aren't far behind).

I think part of our issue results in the grammatical limitations of English. We use one word to describe a host of ideas that the Greeks had specified into at least five very different words.

Also, we're brought up to think that all forms of this general notion called 'love' are inherently good, right, true, and even godly. So we think it's perfectly acceptable to use the same word in describing our relationship to our mother, our girlfriend/boyfriend, our dog, our favorite pencil, our country, a mid-day nap, or a hormonal surge.

the priest is doing a good job of clarifying what Christ meant by Love. After all, if "love" meant that you get warm fuzzy feelings, then it would be impossible to love your enemy.

Love, for Christians is not a feeling, it's a committment. Pure and simple.