True love ought to be real love, a noble love that has lasted. Yes, people have their own definitions, their own understandings, their own use of the words ‘true love.’ And that usage all over the place. There is just next to no objective case to be made as to what love is. After all, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ they say. Ok, and why not.
But people say that they have experienced God’s love, as unchanging, eternal, and absolute as God him or herself.
Well, God’s love, as originating and emanating from a god, might just be a mirage or figment of our imagination. However, that love, as well as real love or noble love or any other kind, compel us nevertheless, and that is what matters. It is like the carrot held up in front of the donkey by the rider. The donkey moves. Do we not all desire love, no matter what kind or how real?
We? I don’t. I am a peanut! We know little about love.
Let me tell you that humans are different from other species. We are capable of imagination beyond your wildest imagination. Our behaviors are not just driven by instinct, we remember the past and anticipate the future and talk about it and manage life like no one else. Hahaha…
I see. How fascinating. So, then, what do you mean by being compelled by a noble love?
Well, without being loved, life is just not that great. At least for us humans. We need to be affirmed so as to feel being someone. And we model ourselves after those who affirm us, that is, our early caregivers, etc. Love is leaned in the family, or not if there was not much love. Love is compelling either way, that is, in giving or receiving.
Again, loves are different things to different people. Even for just one person, love might be a different thing between today and tomorrow, in the relationship to this or that person, during the time between birth and death. And I think that we all rank these, our various notions of love all the time. That is, we order these notions of love based on their utility and then some, we re-order these notions as needed and wanted by us and as told by others.
Goodness, it cannot get any more complicated with you people.
Well, to make it short, noble love is the kind of love that shows up at the top of our rankings more often than not. It is perhaps the kind of love that works best for two lovers over time.
That’s it? Isn’t it rather vague? With God’s love at least you have an anchor in love as caring. As in charity, as in the common good and social cohesion. As in living for the sake of others!
Yes, in the public sphere of society, that might work well enough. Even on the family level, which is a bit more of a private sphere. But in real privacy, let’s say between husband and wife at night in bed, you’ll find that a normative love, that is, unerotic God’s love or love as caring, does not hold up very well unless one is into threesomes: husband, God, and wife.
That is a shocking thing to say! Sacrilegious that is. Luckily, peanuts are not easily offended.
I am telling you, I’d rather find nobility within myself than letting someone tell me what and how to do in lovemaking. For me, eros is a constant negotiation between my partner and me alone. I am not one of God’s minions and performing that script, period.
Okay, okay, don’t get mad at me. I am only a peanut.
But what about people who simply cannot hold themselves to their own nobility? Just look at St. Paul and St. Augustine. They were boundless abusers once, before repenting and all.
Yes, and they swung from one extreme to another: from excessive indulgences to next-to-no pleasures at all. Nowadays, their flawed narrative still keeps misleading many people. It is that abusers and especially their victims, the abused, turn to God’s love to anchor their lives. Be it so. The carrot of God’s unerotic love might just be the medication they need to keep their lives steady.
Tom, you are a bit too cynical, too sarcastic for me. Go and watch a Disney movie and chill out. Things will be better then.
What if some folks would call what you term noble love simply a godly love? Would that help you in feeling that your autonomy in private settings is preserved? A godly love as oriented towards the noblest of each other’s natural desires, inclinations as well as aspirations at any time?
That could really make a difference, I believe. Noble, godly, real, true, erotic love – you name it. Who can argue with that? But God’s love? No, thanks, what a turnoff. Everyone surely has his or her particular way of ‘rocking,’ which most likely will not simply correspond to a parentally caring love emanating from a god.
I know that most people are not inclined to conduct their lovemaking in accordance with other people’s norms, religious or not. Had a god wanted people to conform to a plain or flat or lukewarm form of benign recreational sex, that god should have toned down our ancient sexual instincts, our lusts and inclinations, our physical endowments and all, while installing the rather modern capabilities of morality, ethics, and religion.
Apparently having failed to do so makes me believe that ‘God is dead,’ as Nietzsche is famously known to have said. And if someone would argue that God is not dead, he must be a real good sadist, I figure. He left people in a real conundrum that cannot be justified by any means.
Thanks, Nietzsche. You are always so thoughtful…
Can I tell the other peanuts about this?
The author of this blog, Tom Froehlich, is a graduate of the Unification Theological Seminary (Class of ’83) and is infatuated with musing about the phenomenon of lasting erotic love in human affairs.