A Self Critique

Hello! My name is… Well nevermind about that for now. All you really need to know for the moment is that I am an extraordinarily powerful entity. I hold sway over people from all over the world, from leading government officials to your neighbor three houses down. It’s possible that you have even met me yourself, though I doubt very much that you recognized who I really was. You see, I’m a master of disguise and control, though please don’t believe that I have evil intentions. Confused? Well I thought as much. That is why I’ve written this message; call it a confession, call it an exposé, but above all listen and give thought to what I say.

One of the best ways to discover new insights about oneself is to see what others think of you. I think you will find that the following descriptions of me are a tribute to the facade that has been painstakingly built around me over centuries. According to the dictionary I am simply an “intense feeling”, or perhaps a “strong interest”, maybe nothing more than “great pleasure”. These are tidy little definitions that say absolutely nothing about what I truly am, aren’t they? Let’s run a quick Google search and see what real people think I am. Hmm, apparently I am, “necessary for life” (sounds important); this next person is more specific: “necessary to enjoy life”. Ah, here is what I was looking for, finally someone that drives to the core and says what everyone else subconsciously thinks, “Love makes your life easier and smoother… You get happiness when he/she will treat you better.” *

My name had to slip eventually. Yes, I am love; or rather, the world’s definition of love. I am likely the type of love you receive or practice without even thinking about it. And here is the devilishly clever part of all of it: after years of lies, greed, wars, warped teaching, and misrepresentation, you truly think that I am “real love”. Still skeptical? Let’s look at two people who many consider played a foundational role of describing human reasoning and emotion, none other than Aristotle and Plato. Surely if anyone could draw an image of love based off human logic it would be one of these men.

Aristotle claimed that a key requirement to love is self-love. So in other words, not only did he kick the can down the road of having to describe love, he also somehow took what was intended to be something entirely extrovertive and made it almost completely introvertive.
He goes on to promote love as a type of mutualistic relationship. One should convey an equal amount of love to a person as that person shows to them, essentially a 50/50 balance.

Plato took a different approach, asserting that love, at it’s foundation, is the search for happiness. Following this line of reasoning, love exists in a relationship only so long as the other person continues to provide what you “need” (want) to make you feel good. Indeed it is entirely shifting the action aspect of love on the other person.

And through all this we have a culmination of what the world views as “love”. The type of love that wants to connect with another human on a deep level… As long as the other person makes sure to give back. An image of love so distorted that it seeks to control through fickle human emotions and desires.

One part of the world’s definition of love has remained untouched however. You see, I am powerful, so incredibly powerful. I was created for so much good, but like anything else I can be twisted by Satan if you fail to live me out in the way in which I was intended to function. I can rip apart families and crush dreams all because you fail to recognize that true, unconditional love is a choice. I am no mere passing feeling or mutualistic emotion, yet you continually fail to treat me with the gravity I deserve. When you choose to love, you transcend the temporary and grasp onto a lasting sacrificial loyalty that can only be lived out by imitating Jesus Christ.

I will leave you with a final statement. You may think it strange that I have laid my identity so openly before you. That there are positive aspects to my character, even in the world’s definition, is certainly true; yet I have purposed to convey to you the subtle yet powerful way I which I have deceived you for years, thinking that I was legitimate, all the while slowly undermining one of the most core principles upon which you claim to live. Why would I leave myself this defenseless against you? Because I don’t think you will do anything. I think you will nod your head, mentally write me off as a phony, and then make a half-hearted attempt for maybe a week to be more purposeful in the type of love you show. But after that? I think things will simply go back to the passive, non-committed new normal you have unconsciously adopted. Prove me wrong.

*This was an actual quote I found on a quora referendum, but for anonymity’s sake I have chosen to not post the name of the author.

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