I try to love every person I meet. But more than that, I try to love every person on this planet. Love: “unselfish loyal and benevolent (see benevolent 1a) concern for the good of another: such as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others.” Love is not difficult. Love is natural. To not love others goes against our nature. Mirror Neurons are the source of empathy in our brains. Our brains are hard-wired to recognize a connection, a mutual interest. It is in our interest to act in selfless ways. Community works toward insulating individuals from isolation. Connection and symbiosis are necessary for humankind’s happiness and survival. And yet, somehow we tend to feel safer when we disconnect, refusing to let others in. I suppose, if we care about others, we give them the power to cause us pain. But real love fears no pain. Real love choses empathy and connection over fear of pain. If we seek our own fulfillment, we have no choice but to love each other. It’s that simple.
Why do we help others? Many of us would seem motivated by reward, be it a reward in this life or a reward in the next. Religions promise reward for socially desirable behavior. I once heard a man proudly refer to prayer as “sending up bricks”, building his house in Heaven. Many of us would seem to help others out of the desire to feel good about ourselves: “If I help someone in need, this makes me a good person.” But, is it really selflessness if our motivation is to feel good about ourselves or find reward in another life? I believe both of these motivators are based on one incredible misunderstanding of our world. This division of flesh and skin is temporary. We are energy. We are not bad or good. I help you because we are parts of the same life-force that fills every living thing on this planet. If you want to call that “God”, that’s fine. If you want to call it something else, that’s fine too. But stop fighting, stop killing over who understands this energy best. It is this energy that gives us the ability to conjecture about it’s nature. It is this energy that enables us to create stories that promote our own agendas and claim the agendas are that of this energy. We can kill and shame in the name of God… or we can live in it, live for it, experience it as the greater whole of our own existence, and know that we have nothing to fear. Pain is temporary. But the energy that fills every living being on this planet is eternal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_law_of_thermodynamics). So is “selflessness” the right word for it? Does “altruism” even exist in any way other than theory? Is “the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others” even possible? As long as we continue to recognize ourselves as separate from the whole, altruism is possible, but not practical. On the other side of it, if we accept that we are all small parts of something greater, real altruism may be impossible, but efforts toward achieving it may be perfectly practical and even a part of our nature.
When I got out to my car, this morning, the driver’s side door was cracked open and the center console was wide open. But nothing was taken. There was nothing of real value in the car. Over the past few months, I’ve made a habit of not locking my car door. In the past, my windows have been smashed as means of a thief taking my valuables. This taught me that nothing is really safe if left inside my car over night. I’ve made efforts in recent years to not spend my money on things for myself. I still have clothes I wore in high school. I don’t need the new, the pretty. I’d rather spend my money helping others. And when I don’t have the new and the pretty, there is less reason to be afraid of my fellow humans. If I don’t have anything you want, you aren’t going to steel from me. If you aren’t going to steel from me, I have no reason to lock my car door. Thank you, whoever you are. You provided evidence that I’m doing this life thing right.
Bathing in the afterglow
Like virgins to the dark
But we’ve slept with the wolf. We know
His bite’s worse than his bark
This myth that we’ll never be whole
We cling to cone-shaped spears
But when love is our only goal
We’re bigger than our fears