Because I Love You

Why I cannot allow a friend, a friend I love, to persist in a shallow understanding of life?

 

It is because I love him.

 

If love is defined as having a mere physiological response to someone whom we are attracted to, then my claim is an error.

 

If a loving relationship is actually a bond between two people desiring only what is best for the other, how could I not want this for my friend?

 

Some matters of belief and action are actually six of one and a half-dozen of the other. One man opens a beer bottle with a can opener, another can do it with his lighter.

 

Makes no real difference.

 

But some ideas and notions of belief form the very person that we become: our ideas, our inspirations, our motivations, things that have profound consequences on many aspects of life, happiness and fulfillment, for example.

 

If a parent says to their child over and over again, “You are ugly, no one will ever love you.”

 

How could these words not become the person’s sense of self over time? Especially if no contrary message is provided?

 

On the other hand, what if the parent said, “You are beautiful, anyone who doesn’t recognize that doesn’t love you.”

 

Now we have a child who will grow to understand a healthy notion of what it means to be loved.

 

Someone once told me, “I know love is greater than beauty and attraction, but I must look beautiful to find someone to love me.”

 

If we tailor ourselves to people who are only pleased by looks, we will discover the approval of, not surprisingly, shallow people concerned only about appearances.

 

It cannot be denied that beauty plays a powerful role in the field of attraction.

 

Truly, physical beauty should always be a secondary concern within our search for a lifelong mate. The difference I am suggesting is that character, virtue, compassion, and understanding are the forms of beauty which we crave far more, whether we are willing to admit this or not.

 

It works exactly in the reverse as well.

 

Those who are strong and wholesome people in life, are attracted more by these qualities than by looks alone.

 

This reality creates the greatest impediment to adopting this understanding of who we are. It means that we cannot just alter our appearance in the hopes of becoming better more attractive people. We must make real, internal life changes; changes that will hurt because they are personal, but will mature us into someone who is truly attractive to the people who really matter.

 

It is tragically ironic. Those who seek to fulfill their selfish ends by judging on beauty alone, cut corners and impatiently grasp at relationships that look pleasing, which in the end sacrifices their own happiness of finding a partner who truly loves them!

 

For it brings the heart inexpressibly more joy to know complete love and acceptance, then to date a “ten out of ten”.

 

I am not suggesting that beauty and strong character are mutually exclusive, they often coincide.

 

The difference is between immaculate grooming which is excessive, and taking proper care of oneself as a means of respect and personal expression. The first implies only one message: “I’m an object that is only loveable if it is beautiful.”

 

To believe that I must be beautiful in order to be loved is a lie.

 

It is the worst of lies because it causes us to sell ourselves short.

 

It can cause us to settle for someone who claims to find us ‘beautiful’, instead of waiting for the one who actually loves us.

 

Besides, despite all the creams, powders, pills, antioxidant filled pastes, and injections in the universe, beauty fades.

 

If someone loves you only because of your appearance, they will hate you when you grow old and lose your looks.

 

Plain and simple.

 

So to my friend: you deserve a woman who loves you just as you are.

 

Not as a cliche overused phrase, but as an actuality.

 

Tailoring yourself to anyone different is a fool’s errand.

 

Telling yourself you need to look better to find love is killing you from the inside out, because it is demeaning your own self-knowledge of who you are, and the love you deserve. In addition, it distracts us from the real personal change that needs to happen, the necessary maturation that will transform us to be loving, attractive people.

 

It is painful to wait, to want companionship and in not finding it, having the patience to wait, until the unexpected surprise of meeting the one.

 

She’s out there, and she will love you, just as you will love her.

Can We Fight Ideologies?

Many people today will tell you that they don’t care what ideology people adhere to, so long as they don’t harm anyone else.

 

Harm is a complicated matter though.

 

Harm comes in a myriad of forms: emotional, spiritual, physical.

 

In order for one human being to lash out at another a cascade of decisions must be made before that one action can be reached.

 

In a moment of heated passion even the greatest pacifist may lash out. However, this outcome is far less likely than another person who has been trained their whole life in the art of death, retaliation, and vindication.

 

What is often left unsaid is the underlying force that ideology plays on our actions.

 

In Islamic fundamentalism jihad is a reality.

 

Kill those who do not conform.

 

This form of killing, otherwise totally unknown in the natural world outside of human beings, is borne heavily out of ideological motivation. It is the fundamental element that separates human beings from animals: ideology, belief, the capacity to choose ideas, to be influenced by ideas. From this reality a great chasm is formed which enables we human beings to be both capable of loving, but also capable of cruelty.

 

If we, as humans, seek to end cruelty, torture, and war, what path must we take?

 

To simply kill our enemy is never a sufficient end; if his ideology lives on, then more will simply follow in his footsteps. In addition, dealing death to end death only results with more broken hearts, more grieving souls, more people willing to do whatever it takes to get revenge.

 

Sometimes, war is necessary, especially against a determined and violent invader. To decide when this is or is not the case is to stand on a line with an enormous grey expanse, and I pray that I will never find myself standing upon it.

 

There is a form of warfare that lies outside the battlefields, the training camps, and the broad expanse of military actions.

 

The ideology of death must be overcome.

 

Not destroyed or obliterated as in typical warfare, but consumed wholly by an ideology of life.

 

In the same way an animal grazes grass and incorporates that very grass to become part of it’s own self, transformed irreversibly into its own strength, in this way life must consume and eliminate death.

 

People don’t seem to realise the role that ideology plays in war.

 

We criticize unjust wars, we condemn the killing of civilians, but we rarely condemn the specific ideologies that lead to these atrocities.

 

Some have taken the path of making broad strokes and saying things like “religion is to blame,” but that is never an accurate insight into the stark reality.

 

Many operate under the pretense “believe what you like, as long as you don’t hurt anyone else.”

 

The problem is, is that once a person is harming someone else, it is already too late. Their ideologies have already poisoned their reason, their love, their compassion.

 

So what is left to do for this soul?

 

Do we kill them and prevent them from hurting others? Or do we try to indoctrinate them to understand that killing indiscriminately is not ok? Or do we take another route and put them in prison and isolate them to protect society?

 

The point is, we don’t want to arrive at this crossroads at all.

 

If we want to prevent such choices, then it means taking ideology seriously. It means understanding that belief is the fundamental trigger for violent human action.

 

Whether we would like to realise it or not, we are at war.war_and_love

Anyone who has taken part in a debate about abortion, for example, knows this well.

 

Our ideas can lead us to believe that life is wanton and a commodity to played with; conversely, we may see that it is immutably precious and deserving of rights. It can lead us to think that foreigners are somehow of lesser value, or that every human person is equally deserving of life. The results of devaluing human life can be seen in history over and over again.

 

The morality of war begins at home, in our living rooms, our kitchens, and our bedrooms. It starts in our workplaces and most especially in our thoughts.

 

I do not believe in and defend the existence of a loving God because belief is innocuous, but because of both a personal experience and the pain I see when I take a long sober look at the world news feed; I witness the price we are paying for our choices in the realm of belief. With Russia poised to invade the Ukraine under a guise of “humanitarian aid”, with ISIS enacting what is looking more and more like a genocide in northern Iraq, it is not difficult to witness firsthand.

 

In our own country we decry the death of innocent civilians in Gaza, especially children, while happily supporting our own assault on defenceless children in the womb.

 

We are in the fullest sense hypocrites.

 

Belief matters.

 

It is not just a choice we make, like which bananas to buy.

 

It is to pick a seed.

 

The seeds which I plant, consciously or not, become the tree of my own knowledge.

 

Either I choose the seeds of selfishness, death, and chaos, or the seeds of selflessness, love, and meaning.

 

When stated so simply it seems so simple, but the fact remains that it is not.

 

It is complicated because few spend time in prayer, in honest contemplation, in time spent sincerely exploring, reading, and sharing ideas.

 

Often I meet those who are capable of retorting to me the popular opinions shared on Reddit or other social media sites, but rarely do these thoughts contain personal insight.

 

I can respect an atheist who brings to me ideas, thoughts, and arguments which construct upon already known ideas, which respond to my own. But what is there in a person who merely takes something they heard the other day and regurgitates it, and nothing else?

 

The problem is not social media, but the death of curiosity.

 

The cultural gold of our current generation is the great advances in technology and education. With great advances we thrust ourselves into the world of technological innovation. This advancement will be forfeit, however, without the sobering and enabling qualities of morality and spirituality.

 

The use the of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima is a poignant reminder that all technological advance is not necessarily good in its own regard, but only good if wielded with a conscience.

 

If we simply take the opinion that sounds the best on the internet without personal reflection, we become no different than the unwillingly indoctrinated.

 

Freedom is popular in North America, but often times it is never exercised in a meaningful way.

 

To be free is not to idly accept the rebellion of others, but to understand and honestly accept or reject this rebellion based upon its actual merit and not its allure.

 

It is like a man who fought tooth and nail for a piece of farm equipment which was stolen from him. He argued that without this machinery he could not live, could not support his family. Finally, after a long, arduous battle, he wins the machine back. Except, in his victory he merely parks it in the shed, and leaves it unused for many years.

 

Few things are more exciting than climbing the machine of our freedom and taking it for a joy ride.

 

To see just what is out there, what of the world brings life, and what only leads to death.