Friday, August 12, 2016

Love’s Travails


Love is the capacity to put yourself in the shoes of the other person.  Sex has little to do with it.  Psychological researches have shown that lust is associated with motivation / reward areas of the brain, while love activates the regions connected to caring and empathy.

Source: Here
Those who care for others more than for themselves as Mother Teresa did, for example, are the ideal ‘lovers’.  She cared for the persons who had no one to rely on when they needed help the most.  She cleaned the filthiest of human bodies and applied the balm of tenderness on their festering wounds and lesions.  Hers was a sincere interest in people as people.  Not as vote banks.  Not even as potential converts, as alleged by some, though her love did convert a lot of people into better human beings.  Genuine love is transformative.

Genuine love changes people.  Into better human beings. 

Not many are capable of such love, however.  But there are a lot of social activists who have given themselves selflessly to certain humanitarian causes.  That selfless giving is love.

Contrast that love with what gau rakshaks and such right wing activists are doing now.  They are motivated by hatred and vindictiveness.  Some of them are prompted by sheer profit motive.  They are extortionists wearing the garb of religion.

Genuine love can never be violent at any cost, whatever the cause one is championing.  Love is empathy, psychology tells us.  Cruelty and violence have no place in it. No one can play with cruelty without losing his/her sensitivity of mind, as Dag Hammarskjold said. 

Those who love cows will look after cows and not attack people who live on their products.  Those who love their gods will perceive those gods in their fellow human beings as Mother Teresa did.  Yes, for Mother Teresa, people were images of her god, Jesus.  To that extent, her love was conditional.  She loved people because they were the living images of her god.  And make no mistake, there is no unconditional love in the world of human beings.  All love is conditional and limited by many factors simply because that’s all what we, human beings, are capable of.  But such conditional love is infinite times better than the hatred or the extortionist motives that drive today’s guardians of morality, religion, gods and cultural nationalism.


PS. Written for Indispire Edition 130


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8 comments:

  1. Mother was without an iota of doubt a saintly person, leaving her poor European country under dictatorship and coming down to our city of joy to care for the poor.
    But there was no real need to ensure that the cared for persons align with her religious belief.

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    1. Did she convert? I wrote about it some time back:

      https://matheikal.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/mother-teresa-and-religious-conversion/

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  2. Conditional love or selfish love ? Oh but if love is conditional then but obvious those conditions are set for selfish reasons to begin with.

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    1. Yeah, there's no difference between conditional love and selfish love. Human love is limited and I have no knowledge about any other kind of love ☺

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  3. Selfish love will seek happiness only for your own self....but love that is true, even if it is conditional, will try to ensure happiness of others.

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    1. That's a fine distinction you make between selfish love and conditional love and I won't dispute it. But what I meant by selfishness was the quest for self-fulfilment. For Mother Teresa, to use the same example, her love of the poor and the abandoned was actually her way of finding self-fulfilment and to that extent it was selfish. I know I'm taking it to a different level. However, that clarification is necessary.

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    2. You seem to take it to Rand's definition of selfishness. But, out of topic, is there any reason for you to not like her works?

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    3. I read Rand when I was in my twenties and fell in love with her. I was an idealistic dreamer then. Rand's worldview is idealistic. Rejecting the excesses of socialism, she embraced the extremes of capitalist individualism whose selfishness, when put into practicality, is what we see today: cutthroat competitiveness. Her idealism borders on the religious paradise, an earthly utopia, an impossibility.

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