Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Love is nothing like they say

It's been said about a trillion different ways by a bajillion different people that life is meaningless without love. For my part, I'm finding that even in my most cynical fuck-the-world-and-the-SUV-it-rode-in-on moments, this is a sentiment I still believe in with all the capacity I have to believe in anything. I suppose that in one way or another, I've always believed it, though I probably wouldn't have phrased it as such when I was younger. I think the world would be a better place if there was more love lost between people, not just between lovers and family and friends, but between neighbors and community members, between people passing on the sidewalk, between shoppers in the grocery store, between all the hungover folks waiting for the host to call their names to be seated for breakfast, between vastly disparate groups that history dictates should not get along, and even (or perhaps especially) between strangers. I believe there are means to express loving regard for others in all these relationships. Just as kind words and affectionate behavior are expressions of love between intimates, I believe justice and empathy are just two of the ways that love is expressed in the social sphere of life, even if it is for people you will never lay eyes on or with whom you do not share a common language. In that sense, I suppose you could say that working for justice is a labor of love, as is attempting to understand the circumstances of those who are very different from us in an attempt to get a glimpse of the way the world looks through their eyes. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I believe that it is being on the giving and receiving ends of these expressions that makes life worth living.

There is more to this, but that's all I've got for the moment. Love to you and yours.

5 comments:

Jason said...

Being the mean parent and making your child mind is another kind of the justice=love thing. I hate correcting, but I would be doing a disservice if I let babycakes grow up without it, she'd end up a tyrant.

All you need is love, right?

Whit said...

Too true. Like the song says, all you need is love.

David said...

Hmmm.. I'm inclined to believe that although it's a nice thought for everyone to love each other more, it just doesn't mesh with the reality of our situation on Spaceship Earth. According to the US Census Bureau the current world population is circa 6,595,470,362 as of 8:54AM CST. Every single one of these people (persons?) have different values, beliefs, and desires and attempt to make their life thoughts fit in, in some way, with the population within which they currently reside. Now this is all gross generalization, of course, but this inevitably leads to the group of persons who manage to form the largest, most powerful block of similar minded other persons trying to control the smaller and/or factitious groups. The scope of this majority rule can then range all the way from what we should have for lunch to which people/ideas/beliefs should be exterminated from our area of control. So that while I try to love and understand my friends in Williamson County, they still make me roll my eyes when they censor the word 'hell' in a 73 year-old play. That they make me cringe when they drive by with 'I'm for the NRA and Tom Delay' stickers on their SUV. That they offend me by passing judgment on members of my family when they plant 'Marriage = one man one woman' signs on the lawn across from my house. And that they oppress my direct circle of friends and family when they approve a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Now the obvious answer here is probably, "Well, David, clearly Texas isn't where you or your friends belong. Still lots of room in New York, California, and Massachusetts!" This then, of course, fits right in with, "They don't think like us, they should leave." Which in extreme cases is extrapolated into, "They don't think like us, let's kill them." I wonder where is the incentive to love others outside of your immediate circle when they can impose their majority-fueled beliefs and values upon you? This isn't to say that I'm not guilty of passing judgments, which clearly I am, but is it possible to have more love when what the majority or the powerful can do affects important life aspects? If what the majority has decided means members of my family cannot share a health plan, adopt children, or inherit property because they are gay then I have absolutely no love lost for them, but only the same contempt they have for me. So I will gladly keep the love I have to give within my own immediate sphere of family and friends and not spare a moment's thought for those who would try to control the way I think, act, and live. They can't have my Bud-Lite, Johnny.

The Holmes said...

Hey David, first off, thanks for the very thoughtful comment. That's a post in and of itself! I think there's a danger when you start talking about all this love they neighbor stuff that it sounds like you want people to just be nice, when in fact we all know that people are capable of being perfectly polite while still harboring venomous hateful feelings towards one another. I think what I'm trying to get at with this idea of love is something much more fierce than that. I'm still grappling with this, and expect to be doing so for a long time, perhaps a lifetime. I actually agree with a lot of what you're saying. To me though, the injustices like the ones you are describing are the acts of a society that has not learned how to accept all of the components out of which it is made, or in other words, a majority that does not accept the commununity aspect of its being, and seeks to eradicate some portion of itself that it wrongly considers hateful, in this case homosexuals. Essentially, it's an act of self-hatred whose consequences are felt most strongly by those not in power. And isn't that always the way? The flip side of this, of course, is the struggle against this majority. Working against such injustice is an act of love, not just for oneself or immediate loved ones, but for all who are oppressed by it, and in a sense, even for the oppressor. To call someone on their bullshit, to tell them that they are wrong and that what they are doing is causing harm, I would call that an act of love, albeit in its more brutal form. Anyhow, thanks for making me think this through further.

jen said...

i think i get what you are trying to say, and i dig it a lot. it's not the surface level you speak of, but the deeper way of engaging the world.