Love Is Not Capitalist

Posted on 16 December 2017

Hugging someone in a disaster zone.

Some years ago I founded a writer’s group. At the foundation the members discussed how to ensure our group was as useful as it could be for each of us. We decided to place an upper limit on our membership of twelve people. That way everyone would have the opportunity to be critiqued at least once every year, preferably twice.

This was a purely practical decision. Of course with that limit we would need a system to vet new members, since we only had a few remaining places. We then put together a set of guidelines for determining who would be compatible with our group.

Between those two decisions our group created something of a stir. We were seen as exclusive and therefore a desirable group in which to gain membership. Every week I had to sort through numbers of applications. I had people angry with me for not letting them in. I kept repeating, “Nothing says you can’t form another group.” We had gained status because we rejected people. It was crazy.

NPD Love

Love is an important way that we relate to ourselves, one another, and the planet. Currently what this planet needs most is more love. Sadly, love is used as a commodity, an enticement, and a weapon, thereby not being love at all. We rightly worry about fake news, of even greater concern is fake love and the consequences of real love lost.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder will draw others in with something known as “lovebombing”. They will flatter you, they will shower you with affection, they will give you all the attention they want for themselves. If you have experienced a deficit of love in your life, it is very easy to be caught up with their show. The problem is they don’t have a lot of self-respect. Therefore the moment you offer them genuine love, what is going on in the back of their minds is that your love can’t be worth very much if you love them. You are therefore not worthy of respect. You are only valuable as a resource to be used.

If after making a connection with such a personality you try to walk away, suddenly you are a precious commodity because your rejection shows in their minds that you are more worthy of respect. If they manage to lure you back, you will just be converted once more into their tool.

From Cool Kids to Lovebombing Companies

Sadly, we see elements of this throughout our society. We have people who manage to take up the role of “the cool kid”. Others are terrified of their judgement, but feel empowered when they can gain the scant approval available from the cool kid. The cool kid’s love is doled out insincerely by the eyedropper full and this causes people to crave what they have to offer. Rock stars, journalists, successful artists, and high-flying businessmen are all good at playing the cool kid game.

Some companies will advertise about how special you are and what loving care they will offer you if you just give them your money. However, when you enter their business you find employees with forced smiles, who are underpaid and under-respected, offering you shoddy goods. They will find ways to get you hooked, while offering you less than your time and money deserves. Insurance companies are notorious for this.

From parents to presidents we have people who will do the most destructive things while saying, “I do this because I love you.”

What Do You Mean by Love?

All of this is enough to drive people into a cynicism that says there is no such thing as love. Some may take a less strident position that simply believes that it’s too dangerous to trust anyone’s offers of love.

Deeply disturbing is how few people understand what love really can be. It’s why I end my messages with words like “in peace and kindness” in order to help people understand that I am doing my best to offer love…the real thing, by using descriptors of that sort of love.

As a child I thought love was the warm feeling I held toward my family and friends. I had been taught by my religion that I was to extend love to everyone, but I couldn’t make myself feel the same way I felt about those closest to me. This became a particularly fraught activity when my feelings toward my family became more complicated. Romantic love can be even more tangled as all our emotional needs come to the fore, and what we call love can be barely controlled rage.

Of Love and Respect

Our society tells us that the most basic love is love of self. It would be true to say that someone with a genuine and healthy love of themselves would be better equipped to genuinely offer healthy love. What our society sells us as self love is in fact vanity and narcissism. Why? Because vain narcissistic people can be easily manipulated to buy goods and vote for toxic leaders.

True love starts with respect.

Vanity says, “Do it if it makes you feel good: take the drugs, over-indulge, over-spend, etc.” People find themselves caught in self-destructive behaviour.

Self-respect says: “Do it if it contributes to your general well-being: exercise, take part in community activities, live modestly, etc.” Respect for others says, “Do that which is mutually beneficial, give one another freedom to choose, generously offer kindness, and always wish others well.” Respect for our living world says, “Walk lightly on this planet: use only what you need, tend to the needs of other living beings, be grateful for what this planet has given you.”

This is not the sort of respect that demands obedience. This is the respect that comes from true concern, and as it is offered expands upon the pool of love, making it more valuable through abundance rather than a lethal scarcity. We are all so much safer when we offer one another goodwill, friendship, kindness, and respect. We are more likely to have a physical safety net and enjoy the benefits of emotional security. Lamentably, some people will see these things as weaknesses and will try to manipulate us using mock formulations that look something like love.

The Future Belongs to Love

This is where we cannot afford to be naive. Respectful love will not accept that which is injurious emotionally or physically to self, others, or this planet. Respectful love will stand strong and hold firm against destructive forces without resorting to destruction itself. That’s how appropriate action distinguishes itself from hateful action.

We must go out with the sort of solid dedication to love found in some doctors, nurses, veterinarians, and firefighters, not the crazed fury of warriors, to ensure we have a future. Love is a powerful force which will reform this planet, if we let it.

With all my heart,

Katherine


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