Initially, I intended to finish the posts under this title with my last post. But now, I feel I need to add a little more to it. So, I will conclude with this post.
To be honest, initially I want to write many more posts under this title. But I changed my mind when I was writing the last post because I realized that some of my initial plan needs to be changed.
This has a lot to do with the realization that some of the focusing points in the subject of “love” need to be changed. Well, I am mainly talking about “attachment”. I think it is fair to say that my initial plan is treating “attachment” as a purpose of analyzing “love”. In other words, I was hoping that analyzing elements related to “love” will naturally leads to a way (or ways) to enhance “attachment”.
But then, when I started thinking about the subject of “attachment” when I was writing about “passion” in my last post, it became quite clear to me that my view on “attachment” has changed. It was a gradual process, but it became quite clear that “attachment” should not be a focus point in the process of analyzing “love”.
But I decided I do need to say something about it, in order to conclude the posts under this title. So, let me do so now.
First, I want to say that I am definitely not the first person have doubts about “attachment”. At least to my knowledge, Buddhism tries to eliminate all “attachment” (I have to say I don’t know much about Buddhism, and recently I had a very brief conversation with a person who claimed to be very knowledgeable about Buddhism, and he seemed to say that this is not truth. But I have to say I don’t think I am completely wrong on this). Anyway, even in real life, “attachment” is not always welcomed. For example, “unreciprocated love”, which mostly is manifested by “attachment” (however, in this situation, it is often given a different name “obsession”) is not really welcomed by anyone, even by the person in question, if the person in question could think with reason. In fact, many people “escape” to Buddhism (with misunderstanding about Buddhism or not) mostly for this reason (at least this is what I read from many books).
But I don’t want to dismiss “attachment” altogether (my view is, like it or not, “attachment” will happen if people are “in love”, perhaps even when they were “in love”.) I only want to clarify misunderstanding about “attachment”. Essentially, if we focus on “everlasting love”, then, figuring out how “attachment” works will be very important. But if we focus on “true love”, then it seems “attachment” would not be very important to sustain “love”. In fact, “attachment” without “love” would not make much sense. Actually, we probably could summarize all the problems with personal relationship in to one problem, “attachment” without “good will” (if we emphasize “love” as “good will”, we will solve basically all the problems with “love” as long as there is “true love”.)
Here, I want to explain myself that I am not saying that “everlasting love” is not important, or it should not be the goal. What I am saying is, “everlasting love” should be led by “true love”, meaning if you focus on “true love”, then most likely it will lead to “everlasting love”. And, if there is “true love”, “everlasting love” could happen regardless of whether “attachment” exists (I certainly could write a lot more about “attachment”, but since I have decided it is not very important for my purpose, I will not get into details in this post).
Basically, what I am doing in these posts is to introduce “reason” into the discussion about “love”. What I am trying to say is, we should always remember the basic principles of Love and Reason. There are so many problems in the world, as one can see, there are just too many, but I don’t think it is impossible to change it, and the key is to follow the basic principles of Love and Reason, to think about the problems in the world, and finding out where the problems begin.
The purpose of me writing these posts is to point out that the problems started at very fundamental level. So, in order to make real changes, we have to question everything we know with the principles of Love and Reason, and find misunderstandings.
For example, as I have written in my previous posts, the problem with “true love” is not really that men and women are fundamentally different, but that men and women are situated differently. Unless real changes are happening about this, “true love” is very difficult, if not impossible. Without “true love”, various problems will occur and it could seem basically impossible for people to act following the basic principles of Love and Reason.
Now, I want to talk about “obligation”. I think it is important to point out that “obligation” is not directly related to “love”, although people often associate it with “love” without much explanation. I think the reason people could not explain this “association” because they could not. In fact, if there is “love”, then obligation should be unnecessary, because people will do things because of “love”. Only when there is no “love” (or at least no “true love”), people would feel the need to talk about “obligation”.
It is important to understand that this distinction is important because understanding this problem will help us understand the problems with “moral rules”. The fundamental problem with “moral rules” is, it often seems that they are basically against Reason, or at least in the situations where “moral rules” “ought to be useful”.
I think it is quite obvious that “obligation” is part of the “moral rules”, and to attach it to the matter of “love” creates more problems than good results, because “love” is a part of “free will” (at least it ought to be), but “obligation” is not. In fact, one might be able to say that it is attached to “love” rigidly, because people think it is “good”.
But is it? I don’t think so. “Obligation” means one “ought” to, but not necessarily wants to. This means it often seems to unreasonable, because if “love” is not generated by “free will”, then what is “good” about “love”? This problem is generated because “true love” is at least very rare, so people are forced to make compromise in order to make the “real world” functioning.
In other words, the world we are living in is a poorly designed system that often runs into dead end. So, it often relying on “patch works” (unreasonable rules, that are at least very large portions of the “moral rules”) in order to sustain it. But the problem is, this kind of “quick fix” often generates more problems. So, this generates a “reality” that that is full of dilemma that people who follow the basic principles of Love and Reason may not even be able to function (for example, good intentions often lead to bad results, as we can see in “Emma”).
Basically, what I am saying is, the “real world” is not very “real” (in sense of based on solid foundations). So, being a “realist” (meaning following the “rules of world”, no matter which set of) will not lead to solving problems in the world very effectively.
Since the purpose of these posts is not just about “love”, but to find solutions for all the problems in the world, I will go further in my analysis. I think the problem with the concept of “obligation” in the matter of “love” reflected many other problems as well. Basically, the problem is, “obligation” is also being extended to broader context, that the “moral rules” often designate the “less fortunate” to be the “obligations” of the “fortunate”. This is because people who are disadvantaged by the system are prejudiced not by one simple fact or situation, but their situations are the results of compounded concepts and rules and their operations. So, they either become “obligations” for the more fortunate, or they have to “fight” for their rights with no prevail. But there is another problem with “obligations”, that is, whether people fulfill their “obligations” mostly depends on their “moral compass”, meaning it is as they wish (but not based on “love”, but based on “moral rules”. But since “moral rules” are often unreasonable, people who often refuse to fulfill their “obligations” often will have other people’s sympathy, and often people that are in the receiving end of the “obligations” will be viewed as “burden”. This is basically the source of all discrimination).
In fact, I started to think that it is possible that the world we live in is structured this way not because some people want to have “more”, but because they don’t want most people to have any. What I mean is, it is quite possible that vulnerability is intentionally created, not naturally occurred (This point is quite obvious in the case of women). On the other hand, power, wealth (or whatever advantages that some people gain) may not be as nature and innocent as they appear to be.
[Well, it is possible that people get their advantages because of “luck”. But the mechanism that creates this kind of “luck” may not be very innocent. In fact, one person’s “luck” often is based on many people’s misery (for example, in the case of a person winning the lottery, just that the misery is mostly trivial, and the chance of “lucky” is random, so people don’t complain about it). But the problem is, people who have their advantages often feel that they are entitled to them. Interestingly, this is not the kind of “entitlement” people are questioning about. It is very interesting how words are twisted and misused so often.]
For Example, women who hope that “attachment” would assure “everlasting love” hence the “protection” (or whatever the “benefit” could be) from men (and/or the situation) would likely buy into the concept of “attachment” more than men, and often entrapped by it (just like people who hope that religion that could “protect” or “save” (or whatever could benefit) them would likely be entrapped by religion as well). In fact, now as I think about it, empathizing “protection” (or whatever the “benefit” could be) as the essence of “love” is probably one of the biggest problems in the world!
Let me explain. I think people will agree that the biggest problem with “love” is jealousy. In my opinion, I think the problem is more fundamental than people have realized. What I meant is, “hate” and “fear” embedded in “jealousy” is basically the source of all the problems in the world (or one can say “the source of all evil”), and I think they are all originated from misunderstanding about “love”.
Let me explain further. As I have said in my previous posts, “love”, like it or not, is at least somewhat based on judgment based on “merit” (so, I think “unconditional love” is the kind of talk that ignores the reality). However, the implication of “love” is greatly misunderstood. I think essentially, “love” really just means “good will”, because I think this is the most reasonable interpretation about “love”, and any attempt to make it into anything thing else just create more problems, because they create entitlement regardless of merit, which makes it into something “worthy” of fighting for. In essence, because “love” was made absolute, people are fixated into trying to set up ways to declare themselves worthy of “love”.
Let me analyze “love” in two kinds of understandings. Let me start with the “love” as we generally understand now as the kind that is “unconditional”. First, as I have talked about in my earlier posts, people’s status in the matter of “love” do not seem to be all equal. There are ones who “love”, and then there are ones who are “loved”, where people who are “loved” are often based on “something good on their own”, while people who love would often feel the need to prove that they are “good for you” (so that even if they are not “good on their own”, they are still good enough for their “love” to be accepted, because of their “devotion”. As I said in my last post, the situation is quite confusing, because people who “need love” in the first place often because they are somehow “imperfect” that need “protection”. But in order to gain this “love”, they have to put out and try to prove they are worthy of this “love”. But this effort is often in vain, because on the other side of the equation, people who already gain the status of “worthy of love” is not done so by “their actions” towards the others (particularly at least). So people who supposedly capable of giving “protection” would not necessarily need to give any “protection”, so even if they will do so, it is often done arbitrarily (I think by now, one can assume I am not just talking about “love” in intimate relationship). Hence people who are in the receiving end of “protection” often seem to be very jealous of each other (out of frustration perhaps), or at least this is the type of jealousy people often talk about (It is interesting how this kind of jealousy rarely target people with power, and if they do, then they will be labelled “crazy”). But there is another kind of jealousy (or emotion of hate or fear that originated from the mechanism of jealousy), which is from the type who is “good on their own”, they would often take measures far more severe than necessarily to “punish” people in order to maintain their status. For example, this is how “God” behave, and it is quite common behaviors among the powerful. I have expressed many of my doubt about the theory of “God”. One of the questions I have is, why “God” acted as if he needs the “devotion” of people? In other words, the behaviors of “God” do not seem to indicate that “God” has much power. His behaviors very much fit into the pattern of people who are using scare tactics to coerce people into obeying him. In fact, this is basically the essence of the power structure. Whoever have the power do not actually “have” the power on their own. They have the power because other people give them the power (mostly because they acted like they deserve it), and the question is why other people give them the power?
As I have said in my earlier posts, I think misunderstanding about “love” is the source of the problems with “religion”, and problems with “religion” are basically the source of problems in the world. For example, I have read the “Bible” quite a few times, and every time I read that the part about the “original sin”, I could not help but to question the rational of the story. Now, as I think about it, the actual “original sin” is marked by the event that “God” chased out Adam and Eve from Eden, not because of their act of eating the fruit, but the fact that no one questioned the rational of “God’s act”! Think about it, how can we say he is a “loving god” when he does not even respect our “free will”? The reason why they are not supposed to eat the fruit is not explained, and no good reason I can think of either. So, once we accept that we don’t want to ask for reason that we are being condemned for our “eternal sin”, it is very clear we are living in a world that is built on a structure that is based on power (i.e., force, or violence), rather than based on Love and Reason.
Here, I want to clarify that when I talk about “religion”, I mostly talk about “God” because this is basically the “norm” of most “religion”, even though there might be some minor variations. But Buddhism seems to be an exception (again, I want to say that I don’t know too much about Buddhism, my understanding about Buddhism is based on my general knowledge over the years). For example, at least in China, I think the power structure is maintained mostly by “tradition” (mostly the tradition of not asking questions and obey power), while Buddhism helped to maintain this power structure by essentially eliminating people’s will power in general.
As I have said in my earlier posts, the reason I want to analyze “love” is because I think only if people can “love” each other, then a society that is built on Love and Reason is possible. But only if people can follow the basic principles of Love and Reason, “true love” is possible. So, it seems we are in a circle. But I don’t think we are in a deadly circle, if we clearly understand Love and Reason.
Now, let me talk about “love” based on “good will”. I think we need to be very clear that “love”, like any kind of Love, is first and foremost, “good will”. We should not burden “love” with too many “real world expectations”, but focus on “love” being an emotional need. We all need to love and be loved. But we cannot have unreasonable expectation of “unconditional love”.
I want to emphasize this because too often, “love” seems to entitle people to hurt others (or even kill others). This will make no sense if we focus on “love” as “good will”. I don’t deny no one will be happy if “love” is not returned or “lost”. But if people will hurt of kill someone who they claim they “love”, then we need to question what kind of “love” it is. This will happen if we accept “God”. Because if supposedly “God” is “good”, then whatever “God” could do will also be “good”? So, once we accept that we can be “punished” most severely because of the jealousy of “God”, then there is no “love” or Love (therefore no “God”, if “God” is “love”), because “unconditional love” leads to elimination of “good will”. How can anyone claim one is worthy of “love” (let alone “unconditional love”) because he is “good on his own” if he has no “good will”?
But interestingly, if we accept “good will” as the fundamental principle of “love”, then there is a kind of “unconditional love” that everyone should be “entitled” to, that is, the “good will”. This is the kind of Love that everyone should be loved in order to build a society that everyone could act based on the basic principles of Love and Reason. In order for “true love” to exist, there must be true Love.
February 17, 2019