[Thoughts provoked by someone who talked about Unconditional Love.]
Like many words in the language the oft-used term Love has many connotations. Its use and meaning may even vary from person to person.
To me, Love is an intense emotional attachment to some entity or person. In this sense I love many entities and a few people.
The entities include mathematics, music, poetry and physics,
The people include my wife of more than fifty years, our children and their families, my siblings, as well as a few very close friends. The love I have for them is not unconditional (whatever that may mean), but unfailing. My love for them has always been there, irrespective of circumstances.
But I distinguish love from liking – a verbal distinction one can make more easily in English than in most European languages.
Love includes pain at separation, while liking only gives pleasure in company. Thus, I like all [most? :-)] people, most Democrats, many Republicans, most of the books I chose to read, and good chocolates, as also a few politicians, conservatives, humorists, and movie stars.
As to Nature, I care for it, I admire it, and I am grateful to it for enabling me to live on this planet, but I can’t say I love it. I will do what little I can for Nature’s sustenance and non-violation. I am hesitant to use the term love for trees and lakes, meadows and mountain tops, and not for toads and termites.
I respect people generally, of whatever race or religion, nationality or political persuasion all long as they don’t step on my toes or negatively provoke me by their hurtful attitudes.
n spite of the wise injunctions sages, I cannot in honesty say that I love all people on our planet: I am unable to even understand what that could mean.Though this may sound somewhat un-Christian, I will confess that though I have liked most of my neighbors I have not exactly loved them.
As to loving God, I really don’t know what that implies either, though I know that mystics and inspired religionists have claimed that they do just that. My translation of the phrase loving God would that one should treat with care and respect all of God’s healthy creations: that excludes many viruses and bacteria from my very anthropocentric perspective.
August 27, 2015