Love is one of the very mysterious experiences of life.
In today’s Age of Technology love is even more mysterious than it was in the earlier times. This is because man lives more in a cut and dry fashion in his relationships, human and immaterial, than before.
Love for God is the most widespread manifestation of love. Man does not understand God very much but loving Him comes easily to him, though it is heavily laced with a fear of Him. Loving Him is a way of total submission to Him. But love does not have to be blind, in fact it is one of the great illuminators.
Love for knowledge, social causes, and pursuit of excellence can make their achievement easier. Love is a great lubricator. A state of love can facilitate understanding and production of effort to achieve something. Love comes from the humanity of man and, therefore, its use in the pursuit of large and abstract projects makes them appear within human grasp. This is the greatest benefit of love. In the beginning God was worshipped with fear and later with awe. Relating Him with love has taken place after considerable development of the human civilization. Love as an emotion was not present in the primitive human times but evolved as human mind evolved. It is among the more sophisticated aspects of the human personality. As the power of love grew, man used it selectively in his enterprises. But the converse of it, hatred, also developed and did its damage. But it is not as widespread as love is.
Love is of many different types. Let us first look at the love between a man and a woman. Romantic love has been on wane since we have gotten deeper into the Age of Technology. The center of gravity of today’s love between a man and a woman generally falls into an erotic terrain. Sexual fulfillment is the driving force for the inter-gender love. But its physical causation is not its end also, sex stimulates a whole spectrum of emotional and intellectual ambitions.
Beyond the inter-gender relationships, there is a whole gamut of relationships between man and other entities. Today’s man does not love another person in the old sense but simply cares for him. The emotion of love is thought to be unnecessary. It is because emotions can create problems. An un-emotional relationship is easier to maintain and mould. Today’s thinking person does not relate with his work, society, and humankind emotionally but with thoughtful awareness. He strives for understanding and not for an emotional bond. This detachment is the result of man’s loneliness, subconscious realization that it is he who controls his life and not some supernatural entity, and the demands of the modern life. Again, in relationship with God, today’s man seeks more understanding than love.
But to think that love is dead would be a huge mistake. Love is still the raison d’être of many relationships for a vast number of people, though it is on decline.
But what is love? It is a durable emotion developed in the process of a mind’s relationship with something it considers to be of great necessity and interest to it. Technically, one could be in love with anything but because it entails an intense subjective attachment with an object, the human system can comfortably carry only so much of this burden. The modern man wishes to carry as little of this burden as he can, as he needs as much energy as he can command for the basic process of living, which is highly demanding. But since some emotion is necessary for a healthy life, through a long process of cultural evolution, his emotions are now focused primarily on himself. Narcissism is the most widely practiced form of love in our age.
Love is a sophisticated projection of self-concern. In the antiquity of the human mental development, there was no love. All emotions were primitive, including that for self. Physical needs ruled the human behavior. As the mind developed, some of the human emotions became more refined. Ego and selfishness grew incrementally. At a more advanced stage of the development, the self-concern grew up into self-love, which in turn became love, as we know it today. Love of an object is the sophisticated involvement of our self-concern with it. Some of the greatest work man has accomplished and some of the fundamental knowledge he has gained has been due to his concern and love for himself. The prism of self has made us see things which intellect would have taken much longer to do. Our relationship with universe is due to our perception of our selves.
In love we look at things with an outpouring of our selves. Self provides the focus and energy for the object of our interest. As opposed to love, intellect, the great facility of reason, works through other mental channels than self-concern. Love is the child of humanity that humankind has developed through eons. It is much simpler than intellect, it creates lot more energy, and is more universal. When a man wants to give all his being to something, he has to draw on the resource of love.
Suffern, New York, Nov. 28, 2010