Existence is enriched through interaction. Any interaction, no matter how insignificant, gives birth to a relationship. A consciousness that exists by itself, in an empty Universe, cannot interact with anything, cannot experience any relationship. Such a situation may perhaps be worse than non-existence (*).
Interaction is richer between species that have more in common, peaking when it involves members of the same species. There can be little argument that the most constructive (beneficial, pleasant) type of interaction is love. The nature, meaning and purpose of love has been debated by scientists, philosophers, mystics and all in between. Its overriding power has remained difficult to explain, even though many disciplines seem to think they have the right answer.
Most healthy humans yearn for love. In spite of this, in a large part of the world, few people venture to have a conversation about love or use “I love you” outside relationships with family or intimate partners. This is a widespread social problem. The results of this schism can be seen everywhere.
Many people today face isolation, unhappiness and depression. Without the emotional nourishment of love, it is very easy for entire social groups to become ideological prey to intellectual viruses such as consumerism, racism and nationalism.
But the culture of “I love you” is returning. Families are starting to realize that saying this to their children results in a happier family life and more emotionally secure offspring. Friends are rediscovering the value of sharing this honest feeling towards each other. It is important for people to raise their awareness of how love makes them feel, so that they more actively share and spread this emotion.
The spectrum of love
Throughout life we encounter countless avatars of love. There is the love for family, for friends and even the love of one’s so-called enemies, which stop being enemies when empathy and love work as they should. Every interaction becomes a relationship and any relationship can be one of love. What is life if not an exploration of all the ways love can be felt?
It is certainly true of us humans that we are all of the same family. Even though the formation of our society has its roots in the necessary creation of survival-related advantages, we have outgrown these necessities. Especially during this age of post-scarcity, there are very few reasons why we should keep falling prey to our survival instinct and give into fear and hate. Our society is transforming from a stage of mere mutual interest towards one of brotherhood and sisterhood.
As our consciousness refines, we will continue to expand the borders of what we perceive as “family”. One day, we will reach a stage when we will perceive every single thing in this Universe, regardless of our current definition of life, as part of the same family simply by virtue of existing. Stars, humans, atoms and blades of grass, we are all children of existence.
The great attractor
Some people see love as a sort of force. It is. Any relationship that is predominantly loving is a relationship where the two sides will grow closer together. There probably are scientific reasons for this behavior in life forms. We know that complex intelligence can live and express love more fully. It is interesting that the Universe has given birth to such a constructive outcome. Even when rationalized as “an instinct for procreation”, love maintains its quality of being able to build towards more love.
The more interactions one has, the more of the spectrum of love one experiences. The Universe can thus be seen as a sort of museum of love, a collection of nearly infinite ways of experiencing and enriching the feeling. Through evolution, there is little doubt that this process will soar to unfathomable heights of conscious emotion.
There is an interesting parallel between love and another primordial process. It’s the same process that has given birth to every atom in our bodies: nuclear fusion. The light that allows us to live is the result of hydrogen atoms joining together to form helium atoms inside the Sun. Earth exists because another star, long before the Sun, has spread the atoms it created inside across this region of the Universe. Fusion, like love, is a constructive process.
Interactions nourished by love are of a healing nature. Friendship for example is a relationship of love that can endure many hardships and provides a solid life pillar to those involved. Let us also consider the love towards one self, for it is extremely powerful. This reflected interaction can be so powerful that it can become a drug. The addiction to self-love can lead to serious psychological problems such as narcissism or megalomania.
It is important that we, as a society, offer enough love to each other so that we do not fall into the trap of self-love. Instead, it is best to see self-love as just another facet of the emotion, therefore not allowing self-love to suffocate the love of everything else around us. This is especially important as everything around us is also part of the same family. Losing sight of this deprives one of the opportunities to fully explore love.
Look around you, see who looks like they need some love. Don’t limit yourself to your family or friends. Work outwards. Get that loving vibe flowing to your coworkers, dare to reach out to the newest person in your life, somebody you just met.
Look around you, see who radiates love. Embrace it, absorb it, learn from it. Love can be a skill and like any skill it can be perfected through practice and observation. So get into the business of radiating love because love breeds love. And to also be a bit pragmatic, it’s important to mention that this emotion opens doors that no amount of money or power can open.
In closing, I’ll share something I wrote about love on the 1st of January 2014:
I shall build my life for the sole purpose of expressing Love NOW; not tomorrow, not next month, but NOW. My mind will become the antenna that picks up the Love that surrounds me, and my soul will be the sun that shines it through my body. I shall not keep this Love hostage in myself. I will beam it across the Universe and bestow it on family, teachers, friends, those who like me AND those who don’t. I shall love Man, Animal, Plant, Stone and Star, for Love is the almighty, transcending force that brings meaning to our existence. And when the NOW becomes an eternal monument to Love, I WILL BE HAPPY, for my life now truly lives.
This article is the second part of The “Art of Peace” Trilogy^.
(*)^ Perhaps this is why in several spiritual traditions, the godhead is said to create companions for itself or forget itself and split into myriad other beings in order to rediscover itself (hopefully having some fun in the process).