Perhaps you will think this is just a battle of semantics. But, I do not think such battles are futile. Words matter. According to popular theories like Neuro-Linguistic Programming they matter significantly, much more than many of us realize.
But, the appropriate naming of a thing is conditional upon understanding this thing, especially when it is as abstract and ephemeral, as defined and debated, as love is.
Maybe sometime in prehistoric, more intuitive times, this was hardly necessary, but today it is. Since the ‘Positivity movement’ – an orchestrated top-down push by social engineering think-tanks like the Tavistock and Esalen Institutes, Theosophical Society, among many others—love has become a very loaded word in the West. By grand design.
Love is the answer. Love will save the world. Love conquers all. Love the one your with. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Yet love is far too loaded a word to make it the salvation of mankind, let alone the multiverse.
This love-pushing is yet another slight of hand by the power structure, and it seems some of most well-versed and well-intentioned in matters of social programming are still falling for this ruse.
Yes, I will name names, of some of my favorites, and boldly so. James Corbett, Ole Dammegard, Patrick Roddie are among those who have recently rekindled this fog of love. These men are working impressively hard to ameliorate the system, but still insisting love is the answer.
These love lovers come from a very long tradition, Martin Luther King preached constantly of love. From the ancient Greeks to Mary Baker Eddy to today’s New Agers who preach incessantly of agape all march right in step with loads of spiritual and even some secular doctrine to boot.
Crossing every musical genre, every soap opera, through environmental and social movements, through philosophers, preachers, psychiatrists, we have been brainwashed and further confused about what this world really needs.
All we need is love? Not by a long shot!
Here’s what I think: You are all terrifically wrong and embarrassingly so. Please allow me to elaborate.
First and foremost, ‘love’ does not translate well, even among Western languages. ‘Te quiero’ the expression most used in Spanish for ‘I love you’ actually translates better as ‘I want you.’ In French the verb for love is “aimer” translated both as ‘to like’ and ‘to love.’
Love does not translate well through time and space either, it evolves differently over time, place and circumstance. There are 4 kinds of love according to the Bible, 8 according to the ancient Greeks, 7 according to Psychology Today magazine.
Which type is it, I wonder, do we expect to work to solve the world’s ills?
There is the unrequited love of the troubadours, the erotic love equated with infatuation, platonic love, familiar love, and I could go on. And on! A single word with so many variables is a really bad idea for slogans and songs about saving the world. Or a really good one, if you want to remain pathetically ineffective.
Everyone understands love, they insist. We’ve all felt love, they assure us. But that too is a big fat lie. Unfortunately, there are many lonely souls in the world who do not understand love at all and who haven’t any capacity to either receive love, or to give it.
Love is passive, remarkably so. Love is a word over-used to the point of abuse and even contains what most of us today consider malevolent, as in the high form of love according to the ancient Greeks, pederasty, the love between a man and an adolescent boy. We must of course mention the unmentionable as well, in terms of love, that disgusting master of headlines and hatred, pedophilia, the ‘love’ of prepubescent children.
Clearly folks, the answer is not love, not familial love, or romantic love, or sexual love, or cosmic love, or love of man, freedom, god, king or country.
The answer is simply not, in any way, shape, or form, love!
The answer is care.
Care takes out the selfishness and passivity inherent in love. A universal word in the way love never will or can be. It is understood across borders and across generations. Care is independent of love’s baser quality of desire, many times we must care whether we desire it or not.
We care for, we care about, we care to, or not to. Care is a very active word, it embodies and requires action.
Give it a try, just to test my hypothesis. Next time you are inclined to use the word ‘love’ try ‘care’ instead. Instead of saying ‘I love nature’ say “I care about nature.”
Instead of saying “I love that child” say “I care for that child.”
It works especially well with my greatest pet peeve with the word—instead of saying ‘Love your enemy’ try ‘Care about your enemy.’
Does that not feel more right?
Because, I do! I can say that with full honesty and integrity—I care about my enemy. I care what he’s doing so I might prevent it. I care what he thinks, what he says, how he says it, where he goes, in fact, I care about every move he makes, so that I can triumph over him.
There is nothing triumphant about loving your enemy, it’s the equivalent of surrendering to him, because authentic love requires surrender, and everything else is just paying lip-service to love.
Food for thought: Let’s try some songs and preaches and speeches about care for a change.