Re: Love, kids, consistencey, and all that

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Thu Sep 14 2000 - 11:17:27 PDT

(E., I'm going ahead and throwing this back over the wall, hope you don't mind...)

> But if you, say, are a committed environmentalist, who believes ultimate
> harmony lies in relating intimately with the earth, and your prospective
> partner is a money-grubbing SUV-driving rain-forest-destroying capitalist,
> then I would consider it cowardice for you to accept them on those terms.

Well, the problem here is how to manage the commons. ;-) We aren't going to solve
that. But on a personal level, I think you've got to accept that money grubbing
capitalist (or that tree-hugging greenie, conversely) if you really love them. You
may not agree with them, and you may argue with them, but you've got to accept and
respect them.

Hell, if James Carvelle and Mary Maitlin can agree to disagree, it should be
possible for anybody, shouldn't it? :-)

> Loving someone enough to want them to change, to help them to change - even
> when you disagree with what they are - is usually considered noble.
> Accepting and condoning an intolerable point of view on the basis of
> emotional passion is usually considered weakness. Would you disagree?

More or less. The statement as formulated doesn't make much sense --- how is it
literally possible to "accept" the "intolerable?" But riffing off what I think you
*meant,* I would disagree.

First, love --- real love, true love, at least the kind Cindy and Tom and Jeff Barr
were talking about vis-a-vis kids --- is unconditional. Anything else is either
lust dressed up or an arrangement of convenience or mutual benefit. Part of the
problem here is the word "love." The Greeks had it much more precisely: they had
three notions of love, and three words for it: eros, philia, and agape. Loosely,
passionate love, friendly love, and unilateral love. Interestingly, the Xian notion
"love thy neighbor as thy brother" is actually a mistranslation; the right phrase
is actually "love they neighbor as theyself." The Greek it comes from uses the word
"agape," or unilateral, unconditional love. IMO, when we talk about "true love,"
we're talking about agape, even if it happens in the context of an erotic or philial

Second, I don't think it speaks to weakness at all to accept something purely based
on love. Quite the contrary, I believe it takes a *strong* mind and will to
actually accept that which, in your heart, you don't understand or agree with.

Aside: In your formulation, chalking it up to "emotional passion" is a way of using
implicitly loaded words to support the argument; "emotional passion" clearly must
be more base, more superficial than well-considered morals or values, right? Eros
vs. agape. But that's an easy out: just define away the problem using sutly
different terms. Substitute "true love" for "emotional passion" and we're on the

Side note: I'm amazed to discover in all of this discussion hints that I believe
something I didn't know I believed in. Apparently, I believe that "true love" can
be a rational, intellectual choice. That's a pleasing notion, don't you think?


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