Thirty Six Days of Me: Your Definition of Love, in Great Detail
For Friere, dialogue cannot exist in the absense of profound love for people – without genuine regard for, interest in and commitment to the social, cultural and economic improvement of the human condition, especially the disadvantaged or marginalized. Love is the basis for the other important elements of dialogue building: creating and sharing of knowledge, public education and empowerment.
- Stan Carborne, 2003, The Dialogic Museum, Muse 31(1) 36-39, paraphrasing Paolo Friere, 1999; Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Love is appreciation of a being and the wish that they be well.
Love is simple, but frequently complicated by all the other emotions that make up the complexity of human experience. The nearest synonym to love is compassion.
Love is what’s left when you’ve cleared the clouds of prejudice, opinions, attachment, aversion and reactions from your perception of someone else. Love is not lust, possession, familial devotion, hate, jealousy, pity, idolatry or any of the other emotions it is frequently confused with, but love is also not mutually exclusive to any of those things; to claim it is would be to deny the ambivalence that characterises humanity. Love does not define a relationship; love is part of that relationship, along with every other factor involved.
Love is not different between spouses, lovers, families, friends, partners – the rest of the emotions surrounding that love are what makes it feel different. Love does not specify anything about the object of that love. Self-love is as important as love for anyone else.
If truth is beauty, than knowledge is love – to know something is to see it as it is, and to see something without delusion is to love it. But we all live in clouds of delusion about our family and our friends and our lovers, so how can we love them?
I can love a stranger, if I take the moment to stop, think of them, remember they are a living, feeling being, and wish that they have a good day. It is easier to love a friend, because I know her and see her virtues, and understand her faults, and know what makes her a beautiful person. Love requires faith – the faith that even if we could fully awaken to see everyone exactly how they are, that knowledge would bring us love. So we skip that step – If I knew you, I’m sure I’d love you. I don’t know you perfectly (I don’t know myself perfectly), so I’m taking it on faith that if I did, I’d love you. In the meantime, I shall make the effort to get to know you, so I can access that love more easily.
Love is simple; the human experience is complicated.
Love is not exclusive, love doesn’t have to be requited, love knows no gender or genetic relationship. Love needs nothing.
I love you.
(Even if I forget to act like it sometimes.)
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