#LoveWins Part 3

Previously in the #LoveWins series, we started to define what love is and is not with 3 basic observations. We continue by defining love with some slightly more complex definitions:

4. Love cannot be forced. In Disney’s Aladdin, the genie gives the following as a limitation to wishing: You cannot force anyone to fall in love with you. For a cartoon, this rule is profound as it makes the wisher not have the power over love. Let us say that it was possible to wish someone to fall in love with you. This would be a bad thing as the thing desired for would only be a counterfeit and thus not truly love. The person compelled would be changed against their will. Thus by forcing a person to love you, that person would be changed from the one you fell in love with. One cannot wish the demise of the object of their affection. Plato makes this exact point in The Symposium.

If Plato does not convince you, there is also a pretty heavy handed episode of Doctor Who that addresses this issue as well (and was really the only good concept in ‘Gridlock’ in my opinion). In that episode, there were drug dealers who dealt in emotion patches. One would slap on a patch and immediately forget, feel happy, sad, or whatever emotion one could afford. So in that dystopian future where one was ruled by emotion patches, the feeling of love would be no more than a mere dose away. That manipulation of emotions would mean that people could force others or themselves to only feel things that they wanted. That would be in no way loving and in fact is one of the lessons the Pixar movie Inside Out teaches: “that someone who only pursues pleasure is going to be a shallow, selfish person.” A forced ‘love’ on others or the self is a deadly lust for power that can harm and is not love.

5. Love is not free and is costly. This has been a large misconception about love, that someone can be a lover and not a fighter and that there is such a thing as free love. I will always fight for my wife and family because I love them. If one does not wish to fight then the love that they have either is not worth defending or is all about themselves. Both of those outcomes cannot be love and would be at best selfishness. The great author G.K. Chesterton wrote this about that divide:

“You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it. You cannot fight without something to fight for. To love a thing without wishing to fight for it is not love at all; it is lust. It may be an airy, philosophical, and disinterested lust; it may be, so to speak, a virgin lust; but it is lust, because it is wholly self-indulgent and invites no attack. On the other hand, fighting for a thing without loving it is not even fighting; it can only be called a kind of horse-play that is occasionally fatal.” [1]

Many people who end up divorcing regret not fighting for their marriage, but over 80% of couples who rated their marriages as ‘very unhappy’ said they were happily married five years later according to this report from the Institute for American Values. The people who fight for their marriages are the ones who are the happiest because they understand  love is something that is costly due to its importance.

6. Love requires the immaterial soul. Imagine, if you will, a world where the only things that exist are things that we can touch, feel, and observe. That would mean that things that cannot be directly sensed are illusions. Among the illusions would be our thoughts and our will. We have just established that love requires a fight and thus by implication a will to fight, but that will needs to be free because love cannot be forced, as also stated previously. If love was just a bio-chemical or a physical reaction it would be just emotional. We previously established that could not be the case. If love were just the passing on of genetic material due to ‘selfish’ genes (ala Dawkins), then that would mean love is just an illusion for that end. Love would be merely physical and we previously established this cannot be. This imagined world also goes against what we talked about ‘is’ and ‘ought’ because love is not lust. In addition to all that there would no grounding for value or human dignity in that make-believe world. So if we believe that love exists then the make believe world where only material things exist cannot be. So the concept of love contradicts that world, because either that world exists and love does not or love exists and that world does not. Because love exists, love requires the immaterial soul because this soul is where free will resides.

Next time we will bring everything together to see what this all means.

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[1] Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens, CW 15:255.

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