Complacency is a potently tragic hallmark of our lives. We’ve certainly got bunches of it. In fact, as the old saying goes, we’ve got it “in spades.” Complacency is conceived in the bosom of familiarity, where something becomes so commonplace that we errantly render it as ‘common.’ We’ve yet to beat this terribly corrosive tendency we have to assume that the more we have of something, the less it’s inherent value. And held tight in the womb of such thinking, complacency is vigorously nurtured and eventually borne.
Diluting of Love
One of the things that we become complacent about is love. We blithely toss around the idea of love in a manner that paints it as something of a magical storyline. It seems that far too often we’ve relegated it to the penmanship of misty-eyed novelists or the musings of our own minds, and in doing so we seem to have created some horribly diluted understanding of love. We’ve penned its prose into a million cards, and we’ve inserted that self-same prose into tens of thousands of chapters that lay nestled between the covers of a thousand novels. Yet, we’d be wise to ask, “Is this love?”
Losing Love to Understand Love
If we want to appreciate something in earnest, it seems that we must first lose it. There’s something at the basest core of our humanity that doesn’t awaken until it’s violently shaken. And often that violent ‘shaking’ is to lose the very thing that we need to be awakened to. Therefore, maybe the best way to understand love is to understand what life would be like without it.
What’s Left Without Love
Loss of Community
Take away love and we have no reason to consider our fellowman nor join him in the partnership of life and living. The communal foundation forged strong by empathy, fired by sympathy, and cinched tight by respect is obliterated. The unbroken strength of that foundation as faithfully sustained by conscience and ethics would collapse and completely implode. Without love our world would fall, and in the chaos of the descent it would tear itself apart to its own death.
Loss of Self
Take away love and our own individual existence would fall into abject irrelevance. The desire to sustain ourselves would devolve to a singularly primitive savagery that would be completely dependent upon the degree of savagery that we possess to sustain it. Hatred of self and for self born of the absence of love would cause us to viciously turn on ourselves, rendering us our own enemies. We would then become the very thing that we fear and the very object that we despise. In essence, to become loveless is to undermine our own existence.
Loss of Life
Take away love, and nothing would capture our imagination. We would find nothing compelling. We would never marvel or be held in the mesmerizing embrace of wonder. We would never be lifted to heights of ecstasy, nor would we know the depths to which one could fall. Passion, desire, dreams and hope are all borne of love and entirely sustained by it. And when they are gone because love is gone we become little more than mindless carbon-based life forms driven by a drive to exist that is no deeper than the drive to exist. Take away love and we take away meaning.
Loss of Existence
Finally, have we postulated that without love existence would never have existed in the first place? While we have done a bang-up job of banging up life, it is love that always puts it all back together again. And when genuine love puts things back together, it always puts them back together better than they were before we messed them up. And so, I would be so bold as to say that if it weren’t for love, existence would have never existed in the first place.
Getting Back to Love
Love is far more than something that has arisen from the penmanship of misty-eyed novelists or the musings of our own minds. Love is far more than the sugary-sweet caricatures of love that we’ve woven into everything from t-shirts to holidays. Imagine life without love if you dare, and if you do you will begin to touch the periphery of this incredible thing that we call ‘love.’