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Letter: 'Love is, and will always be, subjective'

The Shawnee News-Star

Dear editor,

Parades happen wherever human beings walk upright, even when it's only one human. We're an astonishing species among living things. No matter our intelligence, livelihoods, genders, or ages, we often walk around as if angels should trumpet our comings and goings, as if the world should bow down... and pay up. Self-love is a fountain of enterprise for self-expression and self-glory. The evidence of our self-love pours out of our words and flows over our behaviors. It's a safe bet that, to a person, self-love presents itself continually moment-by-moment, heartbeat-by-heartbeat. Everyday--every moment--we offer love for ourselves by the ways we treat our bodies, humor our feelings, and satisfy our egos. Thankfully, multitudes demonstrate an enlightened self-love by loving others as much as they love themselves.

Love is, and will always be, subjective. But the paradox of Love arises immediately, that though subjective in essence, Love is essentially evidenced objectively. Verbal love for my neighbor is about as useful as a broken vase if practical love for him doesn't flow out. If everything a person does is expressly and only to his self-interest, then his self-love has darkened him. He may be good at convincing others that he cares for them (at least, to a point), but when his interests and their interests diverge, he will reveal the truth about himself and choose only himself. The people around him will observe it, maybe deny it within themselves, then keep that sad truth about him under wraps. Though it isn't their fault that he is selfish, it remains that "open rebuke is better than love concealed." (Proverbs 27:5)

"But if you don't love yourself, who will?"

That is a calculating, shrewd question. It siphons out a person's self-love, distills it with the ease of deception, and focuses on that person's own Desire and Need like a researcher focuses a microscope on slide and specimen.

What does a person do with such a trenchant, manipulative query? It is perfectly suited to draw on--and draw down--the practical and fleshed-out sides of self-love; it is a query often crafted in various forms, successfully gripping a person's attention, keeping him self-centered.

Some people will use others for personal gain, demonstrating  their own darkened self-love. When everyday individuals do that, other everyday individuals suffer. When national leaders do that, a nation suffers.