Wednesday 3 September 2008

The True Threshold Between Good and Evil- Handling the Emotion of Love

One point where I think Catholic Theology comes up tops is in it's analysis of evil, is in it's understanding of good and evil.

Catholic teaching points out that each one of the seven deadly sins, is in fact a perverted love. It is loving something in particular to the exclusion of the overall good. It is loving something in particular so much, that you forget the overall point of love.

Pride- Love of self.
Wrath- Love of getting you way.
Envy- Love of whatever it is the other man has and you don't.
Avarice- Love of the ability to acquire.
Gluttony- Love of food.
Lust- Love of sex.
Sloth- Love of indolence.

To sin, you have to be capable of love. To hate, you have to be capable of love.

Because all Hate-based systems are founded on love too.

The hatred shown by the Nazi creed is not rooted in nothing, it wasn't hate for hate's sake, it was loving something too much.
An ideal of what a perfect German should be.

And it occurs to me that the fine line between Good and Evil really is in ourselves.

It is in our ability to control our own drives.

You see, I've realised, Love in itself isn't the test. You can love and still take that road towards evil. And it is Love that will take you there.

It's whether you can win that battle within yourself.

And it is the battle most people fail in.

We say that those who cannot love have no soul. And I guess, for all practical purposes, it's true.
Because that set of emotions bound together with logic and reason that makes us what we are, immortal it may not be, but it's what makes us human.

So Loving simply makes you human.

The battle for your soul, the battle over whether you really can claim to be good, or will forever be tormented inside by evil, is the choices you make in HOW you love.

It's how you react towards the object you love, and in how you make pursue that love with regard to love generally.

In many cultures, it has at times, been regarded as th right of the husband of an adultress to either execute his errant wife, or at least demand her death. This is so in several Muslim countries, though I believe it's true that in Uraguay a husband coming upon his wife in flagrante and shooting her is classed as justifiable homicide.

And secretly there are some who applaud these notions. Adultery, after all, is a betrayal of love.

But isn't killing the one you're supposed to love a slightly bigger one?

A woman having sex with another man isn't an act of hate, killing is.

Ultimately, the real evil is committed by the aggrieved husband. The aggrieved husband who acts in blind rage, or worse, in cold blooded hate exorcises his thwarted rage by obliterating the one who causes it.

It is there, in that moment he loses the battle for his soul.

Whatever one thinks of adultery isn't the issue, betrayal it may be, but the only thing destroyed is his dignity and his feelings.

Not really worth a life being destroyed for.

But what REALLY is at the heart of this?

Conditional devotion.

The expectation of receiving something back for your devotion. And anger that you didn't. A feeling you've been cheated, and you want paying somehow.

Nietzche is often held up as ant Anti-Christ amongst philosophers, but it was Nietzche who perhaps summed up that important moral message, which, if you get your head round, really does explain to you the point of love.

'Love is a gift, it confers no rights.'

And if we observed that, then everything would be fine.

But we don't. We hawk it round the market place hoping that we'll find someone who values our love it what we think it's worth.

We decide to love someone on condition that they value our love for them at the price we think it is worth.

So much of the pain in human interaction is basically caused by people's inner inability to cope with the fact the object of their love doesn't value their love for them at the price they want the object of their love to value it at.

But you see, to them it might actually be totally valueless. It might be totally useless to them.

I think both positions are hard. It's hard to be loved by someone who's love is really not the love you want, or worse, is valueless, it's hard to be the subject of. The opposite position is in some ways easier in fact, or seems so, but in fact it's the most dangerous at all.
Because your soul truly is at stake.

I think I only really grasped this properly over the last year; it's that, that predicament which really is the dividing line which determines whether, in a metaphorical sense, you're damned or saved. I say metaphorical, because I do believe this life is all there is.

Because unconditional love accepts that even wanting them to love you back, is wrong.

I've been the subject of it. Someone who could not see that for them to love me at all, could only lead to my misery. From my perspective, their love and their hate were just as bad as the other; neither could do me any good, both could only make me miserable. From my perspective, their love was worth even less than valueless; like Phlogiston, it actually had negative weight.

And I'm sure that must be hard for someone to accept. That the Love you feel for the object of your Love is not only valueless to them, it actually causes them pain.

But it's how you handle it. Is it something you face, or something you persist in, trying to find a way it can be done, trying to influence them, trying to change their mind?

Because in those circumstances, you're already on the road to evil.

You're pushing the desires of YOUR heart against a true unconditional desire for the good of the object of your love.

And on a lesser scale sometimes people do try hard, they ardently pursue their suit to the degree that the other party thinks; 'Why not give them a try?'

But it is still wrong, and it will still lead to wrong further down the line. Because you might have won their heart in the short term, but you only have it online.

One day, that choice will still come back to you, having to accept that the other party does not value your love at the price you think it should be valued at.

Accepting that you give them all the love you have, and to them it really is useless.
It's not your love they need.

I think that's the difference between the road to Heaven and the road to Hell.

Giving your love and not expecting to be paid back in love. And refusing to accept payment back. Because if it was given, it would only be given out of charity.

Accepting that no matter how high a price you put on yourself and no matter how much you know this is The One, accepting as irrevocable the fact your love really is of no value or use to them whatsoever.

And wishing they can find love that is.

The battle for your soul is won the day you know you will always give them everything they ask for, or you know they need from you (as opposed to what you would like to THINK or HOPE they needed), and would refuse anything they offered you.

Surely that HAS to be the ideal?


Anonymous said...

Love is never valueless. Regardless of where it comes from or whatever the situation.

At least I don't think so anyway.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that I necessarilly get angry when I don't get anything back.

Ownership isn't love.

The anger stems from finding out something wasn't what one thought it was.

Anonymous said...

Love is what white is to color - not the absence of colors but the contrary.

Hence love is all palettes of emotions you can have - greed, lust, love, humbleness, caring, you name it.

You do not control whom you love, or who loves you, the heart has its reasons that the mind does not control.

Anonymous said...

Oestrebunny- Maybe.

People would pay a lot of money for the Trance album Additive 2.

It isn't on release any more.

I wouldn't.

I have it burned onto this PC.

So to me, it's valueless.

Shelly- Yes, I do agree with you.

But still, I'm not sure it justifies anger.

If you love someone, you love them. And if your anger is stronger than your love for them, than your love isn't as true as you thought.

Crashie- Yes, I agree. You cannot control the sentiments, but you can choose how to act upon them.

That is the difference between Man and the animals.

You can be driven by your desires, or by reason.

Or better, you can use reason to shape your desires in a either a constructive, or a destructive way.

It really is, like everything, about rising above self.

Anonymous said...

My anger was never stronger Crushed. There was something happening, which I couldn't explain, which made me angry.

Like, my emails getting intercepted without my permission.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you have a copy burned on your computer means that the album isn't valueless to you. The media is not important.

Anonymous said...

I think evil can CAN stem from a lack of empathy - evil acts could be put down to a psychological condition.

I don't believe people kill for love - I believe they kill because of power.

Anonymous said...

Shelly- Well, I hope you're closer to having found answers to those issues.

I know you've been through a trying year last year, but it's good to see you back again and still fighting.

Oestrebunny- No, the album isn't valueless to me at all.

Hving located a copy and burning it onto the drive really was almost like finding the Holy Grail.

I always meant to buy the album bacl in 2000 or whenever it was it came out. I have 3 and 4, but they're nowhere in the same league.

I can't really explain just how perfect a mix CD it is, listening to it always puts me in a good place- it truly is beautiful.

Of course, part of what makes it of such high premium to me is the fact it has Sosa's The Wave, DJ Taucker remix on it.

But it also has I know you Love me too (Chris Raven), Did you hear me? (Red Light District) and Eastern Temple (Jon the Dentist). all amazing trance tracks, all in the dark and brooding yet hard as nails category I'm partial to.

It took me years to find a copy, and at times during my search, I guess I'd have settled for any album that just had ONE of those tracks on it.

But it wouldn't have been the album I was looking for.

And it would only have had relevance to me while I was without a copy of Additive 2, a consolation prize if you like.

I'm sure I'd have bought any album with The Wave on it- but it wouln't have made it Additive 2.

And now I have Additive 2, that album would have limited value to me.

I'd have paid a lot of money for a copy of that album at one time- because of what it meant TO ME.

So to return to the metaphor, love is always iimportant, but it's not up to us to determine how.

Kate- Yes, but that's the point. A lot of people love withOUT that empathy. They are so blinded by their own desires to have that person that they are incapable of seeing what it is the person they love truly needs.

And then they believe that their love gives them RIGHTS.

And than the fact they don't get their 'rights' turns their love to hate.

Yes but to kill for power, you have to love power first- and that is a love, the love of being able to control events.

Anonymous said...

If you love someone, you love them. And if your anger is stronger than your love for them, than your love isn't as true as you thought.

You can have the truest of love for someone or something, but an act of betrayal is hard to forgive. Anger/disappointment call it what you will would be something most of us would feel as much as it is a wasted emotion.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I have a very different understanding of love.