May I present, for consideration, a phenomenon
that I have observed. We will call this phenomenon "Word Whoring", referring to the loose way that certain words are flung about, and cheapened, due to indirect or no consideration at all for the depth and complexity...the etymology
even, of many of these words.
Allow me to cite an example; The word "love". "Love" in the ancient greek is derived from two verb forms "agapao" and "phileo" and the corresponding noun "agape" and the compound noun "philanthropia" (Love or kindness toward man). "Agapao" is used in reference to a higher love, an attitude of perfect and unselfish love, directed toward an undeserving recipient. It is a verb, denoting that some action much be present. "Phileo" is love among brothers or fellowman. It is also used by a possesor, i.e. "To love life", loving out of a desire to retain what you now possess, loving intensified by a fear that the object might be lost. There must also be mentioned a third form of love, or "eros", also from the Greek and pertaining to sexual desire, lust, and "libido", or "the body". This form of love is used as "self-love as much as "other-love".
In today's modern English, love is almost a generic amalgam, meaning as little or as much as the user cares to infer. Everything from "I love this rice", an expression of plesant yet insignificant satisfaction based on the taste of the rice (note: what the rice did for the taster) to "I love you with all my heart and soul", an expression of deepest regard (note: the lover then becomes the giver, not necessarily based on what the lovee has done, but the lover's heart and soul toward the lovee"). Love in modern English translates
"A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness."
"A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance."
"An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object." *1
Is it that we see love today like an avarage woman, smeared with makeup...with gaudy glitter and ruby reds and set her at a distance and pass her off as lovely or stunning, when in reality she isn't enchanting at all, but an enhanced version of something that doesn't truly satisfy and won't really last when the rains come and the lights are one. Love this way has become like people paying for lab created diamonds when you could have real ones for a wing and a prayer. Consider that love might have nothing to do with feeling, or circumstance or self service, but is instead a choice, entirely dependant on the character and will of the lover. Not, I assure you, to downplay the vast importance of that twitterpated, romantic ecstacy, the euphoric kick that sends us all toward the moon. (I, myself, am mad for the euphoria.) That, however, is just a catalyst. It doesn't last. It's like the burners on a shuttle. They get you off the ground, but eventually they burn out and fall back into the atmosphere and you've got to have propulsion to actually get you too the moon, and back. You must have a desire to love when the object isn't so appealing.
Please don't think I'm pragmatic about all of this. Love is all I live for, and not just the action of it, but that...drenched in the sweetness of, wrapped in the wonder of, over-the-top, high in the head, cry when you laugh and laugh when you cry delirious notion that makes a body dance at midnight when it's raining outside and the whisper that won't let you forget the sound of their voice, their laugh, their silence in the dark. Even the way it's golden and heady, like the 8th wonder the world and you couldn't touch down if gravity were your only friend. I am entirely for this.
But I am for something better and grander than the flame.
Who wants a candle when you can have a star?
I propose that love is at its best when you love because of who you are and not only because of who or what the recipient of your love is. Love based on your character, based on the fact that you have decided to, even if you don't want to, even if it's not perfect, even if it kills you. Love like agape. Love that is given unconditionally, unreservedly. The truth is that anyone can love when the night is beautiful and the planets are aligned. It doesn't cost anything when it's easy, heady and sweet to your eyes and your lips. To claim love only then makes love as a whole cheap, manufactured and cliche. It isn't worth anything if it doesn't cost anything, at some point or another. Tears, for example, are a debt you can never repay.
I am emphatic on this subject, because people have whored the word love (among others...) leading society to think that love is replaceable, interchangeable, or that one can conform love to some inner dictionary of convenience. That is because so many have never learned what it is. So then this...love with all of you, because you love and you will find yourself to be a person whom others cannot help but love.
*1The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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