I ask myself that question from time to time. More so recently. And why do we humans idolize, crave, and miss love? Especially when we discover the easy words of love often do not match their actions.
My off-the-cuff inquisition starts with how humans survived as pack animals, our DNA shaped by and fine-tuned to improve our collaboration techniques. We became the most dominant great ape because we used our intelligence, not just brute physical force, to outwit our challengers and gain access to resources.
The survival of the human species was predicated on the dependency on other group members, each deploying their unique skills to benefit the collective interests. Dependence rather than independence became the driver of human success.
I have yet to see a heart emoji or anything comparable in the many caves we discovered to contain prehistoric drawings.
Love, at that time, perhaps best communicated by the reliability of interdependence combined with a healthy dose of hierarchical dominance, I am sure. A dominance some great apes, left in our intellectual wake, still, deploy with remarkable ferocity today.
Love perhaps played no discernable role in great ape society. Or at least, we cannot assess the state of mind of those who came before us.
Humans herald the notion of independence as the new success metric in a system that purports to support freedom for all in today’s society. A contradiction, for in a truly free system, everyone would already be equally independent—independence, therefore, no longer worth talking about.
From that example, you can see how our manmade systems fail humanity with devastating make-believe.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who false believe they are free.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1843)
Because we failed to apply the paradox of freedom needed to instill trust in freedom, freedom has only been granted to those who jinxed it. Systemically endorsed vile maxims of freedom, deployed as an all for me and nothing for anyone else, have become the measure of success that adorn global headlines.
At the same time, we pretend hierarchies, omnipresent in nature, are unnecessary and defer to equality as the driver for positive change expected to break the norm. More depravity of reason ensues, as the evolution of humanity is predicated on our meaningful differences, not on the coagulating bloodletting of commonalities.
Add to that a coddling culture in which individuals must be protected from each other with artificial safe spaces and trigger warnings to suppress subjects of interhuman contention artificially. Many humans now swim in a soup of fragility and feigned independence, desperately looking for the opposite.
Love Is What You Need It To Be
Emerging prominently in the “advanced” ape era, love appears to be the much-needed personal antidote and respite to widespread injustice and unexpected serfdom induced by our flawed systems.
Those flawed systems, run amok for too long, have caused widespread isolation, ambiguity, and loneliness—quite the opposite of how our great ape ancestors ruled the roost of dependence. Loneliness is now a bigger threat to American lives than obesity, and I would argue loneliness is responsible for obesity.
Love is the need for a social animal to be connected in a disjointed society. Love is the need for belonging in a society that cares less. Love is the need for trust in a society that systemically tramples trust. Love is the appreciation of merit in a community that confounds money with value.
Love is genuine empathy, respect, and appreciation for someone else’s skills, proximal development, and journey. Love is patience for the daring road to success. A road less traveled and paved with controversy and disappointments.
Love is the hard-fought victory of intelligence, determination, and integrity in a society so short of it. Love is the warmth of a brighter future serving a community that has turned its members into cold, aloof, robotic, and ambiguous serfs in a rat race for money.
In addition to the above, love, to me, has always been the adherence to a set of values serving something greater than myself, forcing me to be the best I can be.
If you haven’t done anything for humanity, you should be ashamed to die.Horace Mann (1796-1859)
Humanity must benefit from the pursuit of nature’s truth or the best knowable proxy thereof. Only passionate people sharing, committing, and helping support the pursuit of those values shall be generously rewarded for their contributions.
In the end, for me, love is ensuring my daughter grows up in a society freed from the systematic and widespread mediocrity I can see so clearly. Love is the willingness to be open, purposeful, devoted, and give all you have.
Like life, love is either a daring adventure or nothing.