Here I am currently in Chapman Public Library in Orange on a very warm Friday afternoon. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and I hear a few people here and there talking about their Valentine plans for the weekend or raving about their significant other. I am pretty sure that Valentine’s Day is one of those days in the year filled with so much passion. It’s almost inevitable to see some public display of affections starting today and the weekend onward. There will be a plethora of giving of chocolates, flowers, romantic surprises, and even—unfortunately—sexual activities behind closed doors. All in the name of love. Yet, there should be so much more to love than chocolates, romance, and sexual affections. If it were the case, then love would be nothing more than just a splurge of fiery passion that occurs in each person on few occasions such Valentine’s Day, wedding day, honeymoon, and whenever a man or a woman feels like making love. Love would be just nothing but an arbitrary fiery passion in a scale of time that is dominated by hatred and indifference instead.
There should be something more about love than just a random emotional thing that gets aroused come Valentine’s Day.
Love, in its most basic human conception, is a fire set by the will. I say basic human conception because all other animals, too, have the same fire in them as we do. All animals have a fire in them to fulfill their needs for survival, to look for ways to satisfy their hunger, thirst, and desire. Even if they have the same fire as we do, however, they do not have a sophisticated conception of love that we do. Indeed, they have a fire in them to protect their fellow creatures from danger and so do we. Nevertheless, it is not necessarily what love is. Love involves a lot of this particular human element that distinguishes us from the rest of living creatures. That element is the ability to contemplate, and human will is tightly connected to that ability. Human beings cannot do certain actions without being motivated by the affirmation of our rationality to do so. For us human beings, love is more than just expressing passions. Love is also deliberately choosing to recognize the good of the other over their imperfections or things that do not satisfy the lover.
As human beings, there are certain things we love, things that we deliberately choose to engage in spite of all the possible setbacks or anything that could hinder us from doing so. Albert Einstein, for example, had a love for science, specifically for discovering a theory explaining that nature of the universe. Without that love for a discovery, he wouldn’t be able to move on searching for that theory—day after day—and eventually finding that which he had been looking for, calling it the theory of relativity. Without Mark Zuckerberg’s love for searching an online advancement that will connect people distances apart, there would not be Facebook. Without the love of a mother to her child day after day—waking up in the morning, leaving that child to go to work almost the whole day, coming back home to provide food and doing it over again the next day, that child would not have a good reason to be grateful for his mother and continuing life onward. Without the love of a soldier for his country, choosing to put himself constantly on the edge of danger, that nation would not have a good reason to say that it is fully secured from the enemy. Without a husband choosing to continue to love his wife day after day—choosing to recognize her goodness, choosing to remain with her and their family at all times, the husband’s children would not have a firm understanding of love ingrained in them. Without the love of nations for one another, even if there is only a bit of it, they will be in constant war with another which would ultimately be the end of humanity. Without the fiery love of the One sent from above and His constant choice to be among all of us, to carry the cross, to endure the pain of the scourging, thorns, and nails, we will never a deeper understanding of what suffering is meant to do in our lives.
Love is, indeed, a fire set by the human will. And our capacity to place that will for the good of others has been the source of sustenance of the human life on Earth.
Granted the universality of choosing the good of the other, each human being is made for a path he or she is meant to direct that intrinsic ability to love. Some are made to have a unique love for literature, traveling, business, art, history, society, or anything.
If you were to ask me if I have discovered what I am meant to direct my love, I would say yes I have. I know it is love because that love is tested. For a time, I thought choosing to direct my love to that thing was the wrong decision. But then I realized that there was a reason why I chose it to be my major, and that reason transcends beyond the practicality life often demands to each of us. That reason was that I fell in love with it, and I am still in love with. No matter how much I get withdrawn from it, somehow I still find myself drawn to it. The title of this article pretty much gives it away, but for the sake of my natural love for it, I will say that I’m proud to have a love affair with Philosophy.
She takes me to places in my mind no one has taken me. She does not give herself much away. And just like any other woman, she lets me to do the pursuing. When I make to love to her, I see this painting of humanity and divinity perfectly in love with each other with gems of wisdom dripping down all over with the painting screaming the arousal of a holistic enlightenment. Whenever I spend my time with her, I see a glimpse of Beauty where I see not only my own goodness but also of others. It is a beauty that, if the world sees it in full sight, it will be blinded in peace and divine empowerment. But little did I know, over the course of my affair with Philosophy, that this Beauty has been pursuing each and every one of us. I asked Philosophy where I can find this Beauty and so she took me to a dark place, an unexpected route to find this glamorous Beauty, and I said, exasperated, that this is not the way to what I’m searching for and she said I can go to a place of light, a route I’d expect to find Beauty but Ignorance will guide me along that path instead of her. So I reluctantly stayed in the course with her. Eventually we passed by a very dark spot of the journey. It was very dark because there was the cross, where Beauty was crucified. The rest of the way became darker and darker until the way became pitch black. It is almost as if she became absurd but I could still hear her persistently saying, “Hang in there hang in there! We’re almost there!” until all of a sudden, I found myself seeing the surroundings once again, with Philosophy standing next to me telling me “when you go farther that port you will see the hiding place of Beauty”. I looked further straight to where her finger was pointing to then I recognized, from a distance, the empty tomb and there I found Beauty with His scars on His hands and side.
True love takes us to places where we don’t ever want to go, but if we choose to persevere, we will eventually encounter that Beauty all of us have been longing for.