Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Let there be love

I read this post on the Corner, and this part stuck me:

More and more, I'm seeing conservatives of a certain stripe promoting love of self that involves self-reliance, self-respect, and self-support with the understanding that once you've achieved these things you are fairly likely to support others around you to achieve the same. Additionally, more and more, I'm seeing liberals promoting self-love that involves proclaiming your own victimhood, demanding someone else support you and solve your problems, and removing yourself from the community at large to "preserve your individual and separate uniqueness".

I think the idea is fairly valid - but I would be afraid to express it this way on my campus, and in front of my liberal friends. I am possibly too diplomatic, but this is a post about love, after all.

I think this idea gets what the self-esteem people leave out. (I am refering to the self-esteem people that talked to me so much in public middle school...they wanted me to think highly of myself, and damn my criticisers, cause the didn't want me to commit least, I think that was the goal. It was a long time ago, and I wasn't really paying attention. Nothing in that school was very interesting for me, so I shut it off and got bad grades. It's a good thing I escaped - whew! enough side-talk..back to the blogging) You need to love yourself because you know you can do good, not because you are God's Greatest Gift to humanity. You need to love yourself, but with humility. You can't love yourself above all others, because that would be missing the point. The self-love this person is talking about is one that is also focused on paying attention to other people, but not to the point that you forget about yourself. I know people who give so much of themselves to other people, that they often can't deal with the other's pain, so they end up getting distraught. That is also not good.

I think the point that needs to be made, is that in order to help other people, you have to have a rock-steady inside. If you spend to much time outside of yourself, especially when you don't have a strong love for your own person, then you slowly errode away and get bitter, and then you are no good to the people you wanted to help, and you probably need help yourself.

The second form of love, the one most liberals proclaim, is one that focus's too much on other's opinion of yourself. Does that make sense? Probably not. This form of self love says - "I need you to love me, so that I can love myself. If you love me, that means you will fix my problems." This isn't good...I think it's better to be responsible for yourself, rather than to expect others to do things for you. I'm not saying that people should become hermits and cut everyone else off. I also think that sometimes we can't solve our own problems. However, it is important for the desire to come from within, and not from other people. The first self-love doesn't exclude help from others, but it doesn't take that help for granted/rely exclusively on it.

The author of the quote might have made a mistake relating these dualing forms of self-love to politics. I don't think it works in all cases. The attitudes are there, conservatives want individualism, and today's liberals want the government to solve our problems. But this self-love also applies to people who eschew politics...the dualing nature of these forms of love are fighting on a level more basic than politics could ever hope to reach.

So, how was that for philosophy? Too wishy washy? Too obscure? Sorry...I'll rephrase if I can boil it down better, and if anyone's interested, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway...

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