Monday, February 9, 2015

A Prayer for Saint Valentine's Day

I had a small revelation recently regarding my thoughts on how emotions control our actions and our beliefs.

Before this revelation, I considered fear to be the primary driver of human behavior and belief.  Fear is why we over-consume in one country while people starve in another one.  As a matter of fact, fear is why we have bothered to divide ourselves up into countries which emerge as a defense mechanism against oppression.  Fear is also why most major world religions believe in some sort of metaphysical cure for what ails us. I could go on, for example why we have:  currency and systems to accumulate wealth; pharmaceuticals that help people to live “normal” lives; even right down to why we have last names – all come from an urge to define - an urge which comes from a latent, a priori fear of “the other” who is presumed to be intent on doing us harm for their own benefit.  [Of course, this is often a reflection of our own intent, which is a separate topic altogether.]

My revelation is about the source of fear.  I became aware that the primary emotion driving human behavior is still fear, but underlying the fear is love – two kinds of love, love of and love for.  Love for others and love of stuff [which can include other people].  We love stuff, so we presume that others also love stuff and will probably try to take it, and in the process or as a result, harm those we love.  So, we build walls that start with definition to protect our loved ones from suffering harm. 

So, on this St. Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love, I hope to be more mindful of whether I am celebrating love of, or love for.  Most things - emotions included - can’t cause themselves to exist.  They need an agent and for me, I am that agent.  I think that’s what the great religious leaders are calling for when they call for love. 

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