Love is hard work. We live in a world where hatred, malice and disdain are the norm. There is constant snarkiness and coldness. We are a country dedicated to “independence” at all costs. We walk through the world like an automaton cut off from our deepest and most vital emotions. As with the previous entry, crying, we don’t know how to love. And when love is talked about, it is almost always talked about in the romantic sense, which is such a narrow way to conceptualize love. In this entry, I would like to talk about the importance of love and the need to re-conceptualize love and think about it in a radically different way.
Why is love important? Ideally, everything in society would have love at its very base. It would be the first thing and the foundation. The reason for this is that love produces the best results. If we are not in love with that which we are doing, we are not living up to the potential that God has laid down for us. I believe that God wants love to be at the core of who we are and as the foundation of everything we do. Throughout every religion, we hear about love again and again in scripture. We need to treat each other with love and we need to lead with love in our actions in the world. Love is most important entity because it is associated with kindness, sweetness, generosity and inclusiveness, among many other noble characteristics.
We don’t manifest love nearly enough. The reason is that our society is not set up for it. Our society is set up for coldness, cruelty, greed, stinginess and exclusion. Hatred is far too common, and apathy is ubiquitous. The fact that our society is set up for these negative characteristics makes it hard to manifest love. We must go against the tide, and that is never easy. But given the hatred, greed and destruction we see all around the globe, the status quo is not an option. Social, economic and environmental justice must be guided by love, must have love within its very infrastructure and must have love as a blueprint for social change.
We must also change love away from the exclusively romantic sense. The tyranny of coupledom makes those of us who are “single” feel like love is not a part of our lives. I call this type of love the “Valentine’s Day Love.” It is characterized by flowers and chocolate and a kind of hollowness. I do not discount the love between couples. But I am calling for a revolutionary love that includes everyone, whether or not they are in a romantic partnership.
Revolutionary love is collective and it is geared towards liberation. This liberation is for all. Because of its liberatory goals, this type of love is radical. It is distinctly anti-capitalist and anti-greed. Its abundance is not measured in money but in freedom, in winning justice for as many people as possible. It also carries with it responsibility. It carries the need for people to work together for liberation, freedom, justice and a more collective society. Society right now is very much based in independence. This focus on independence is selfish and dysfunctional. We are not independent, nor are we totally dependent. We are INTERDEPENDENT. We all receive and give help every day of our lives. We are, as Thich Nhat Hanh says, inter-being. How exciting it is to think of love in this new way. To re-conceptualize it and re-purpose it to be for everyone in a radical and unrepentantly political sense. In the next entry I will queer love, and talk about the revolutionary potential of a radical re-working of love by and for queer folk.