NOTE: this article didn’t quite arrive on the blog as it played out in my head. I wanted it to be more fun while still touching on something that was at least partially true: that didn’t happen. After looking through it a couple of times, I decided I would just put it up as-is – if it makes no sense, blame it on writer’s …
Love is inherently selfish
You are probably wondering what do I know to make such a statement (and you may be right – given the infinite amount of knowledge in and about the universe, whatever I may claim to know is not worth the finite amount of time it would take to express it nor the minute amount of ink I would use to write my name) But stay with me awhile, I do not promise new insights or knowledge (is there anything such as that? For all knowledge by virtue of its definition exists for all time, it’s only that we do not “know” it), I hope to at least make you go “Hmmmn”
Now, let’s talk about the selfishness of love.
Let’s open with that love that most people assume is more or less universal: the love parents have for their offspring (while I am tempted to state that the converse is true, I believe lots of examples exists to make that a much more complex matter). Now this love is selfish. Due to human limitations, we probably shouldn’t expect otherwise. This love is based on the sole premise (to the parent) that here is someone that literarily came forth from my loins – a part of me – mine. So while the bible (JC) summarizes the law into 3 “little” loves, the truth is that for most parents, loving all their offspring equally is hard enough, talk less of the neighbor: the little unkempt urchin down the road that taps on the car’s window does not feature on the love radar – he is just an inconvenient bleep that appears from time to time on the pity radar – and that radar’s coverage is notoriously unstable – shrinking and expanding on what sometimes defy all logic (should we use logic and love in the same sentence?) So the parent’s love is indeed selfish.
Now let us take things up a notch. We will next consider the love of married couples and sometimes “partners” (in more liberal climes). We will consider this outside the context of moral and religious requirements as to what is wrong and right. So, a partner in a relationship (marriage or “committed”) “betrays” the other partner. The other partner gets angry, can’t forgive. Love turns to hatred in a moment based on a single “action” (not necessarily going all the way, may be hitting second base for example). The “betrayed” partner is ready to do grievous bodily harm to the “betraying” partner and whoever he/she committed the betrayal with. So how should we define this love, or is it conditional love (based on reciprocal action)? Is it still love once we stick the “conditional” label on it? Or should we call it something else? So, yes, not everyone necessarily react the way we have described, some are just hurt and can’t forgive. Some “forgive” but seek a separation nonetheless. We are not saying any of this reactions are wrong (except the first one of course), but they still all show that the love is conditional, and the participants “give” mostly as long as they except to “get”.
On to that fast playground from which most commitments ensue – “dating”. Dating is some sort of (pre?) romantic involvement between two people (hopefully of opposite sex) – I am too lazy to look it up in the dictionary. The perennial boy-girl tango. What is known as dating today is not so easily defined. Some people use the term as a catch-all for everything ranging from what some people will term outright sin on one end through to the supervised/chaperoned no-physical-contact-allowed pre-marital get-togethers at the other end. But here, we shall gravitate towards the mid-point: post-teen adults involved in some way. Now, what does a “qualified” man equate to? To some girls/ladies: his ability to guarantee a good time – and what is a good time? Outings to the mall/cinema, shopping trips; car rides, clubbing, etc. I was listening to a radio talk-show for singles looking for relationships and I thought I heard the host read out one such request from a girl looking for “a man with a house” (he might have been joking). What about the man – he expects shows of affection, implicit permission to parade the lady so his “mates” can see how good he has got it, not always does he necessarily expect that the lady will cross that all important line (no matter from whose point you look) of sex (which is another ballgame altogether – sorry – in another ballpark entirely – sorry again –arrgh!) even though this is becoming more of a “given” except to supposed “prudes” and “religious stick-in-the-mud” types (we are happy to say we fall into this category). What if the man does not have a car – does that mean he is not ready or qualified? I believe the concept of men taking care of women (in the financial sense) should not have blanket application in today’s society. It was okay when women were stay-at-home moms, and men went out to work and bring home (all) the bacon. In today’s society where both sexes work and in some cases where the woman earns more than the man, the flow of “consumables” should not only always be in one direction. Now, if the man loses the ability to provide a good time, does that end the love (immediately or after some “reasonable” perseverance or longsuffering by the woman?). If for some other reason, the woman loses interest, should that turn the man to evil thoughts of what evil he can bring upon the woman or wicked tales to others in order to spite the woman or cause her to be looked upon in disdain by the society? So is this love? Or is it selfish? Sounds conditional.
Now we will end this piece by considering a more controversial subject: the love of God for us sinful humans. Now, at first glance, it looks like we can dip our paintbrush in that inkpot of selfishness and paint this the same colour as all the other examples above. After all, God loves us in spite or despite ourselves, and does not want us to love Satan. But hold on a minute, selfishness implies detriment to one of the parties involved, so we are tempted to say that in this case God’s love towards us is selfish, in that it is intended to keep us from Satan. But fortunately, since we know that Satan does not truly love us and also that if we “go” with Satan, there are eternity-determining negative consequences whose principles of cause and effect have been put in place before we were born, then we can safely state that this love is not selfish, rather it is unselfish love meant to keep us from spending eternity in pain with the son of perdition. So we conclude by stating that this is the only true love. All the others above are best effort at this one true love by tainted humanity – though worth commending all the same!
On a lighter note, let us conclude with that well-known saying that “Happy is the man who makes more money than his wife can spend; and happy is the woman who finds such a man!”