Love is the most distorted word in the English language. Here’s the profound meaning of love.
Love is very hard to define. Even harder to find and maintain. We have a lot of fantasies and misconceptions about what it is. The Explanation will help you get a clearer message of what love is by showing how it works.
(Audit of Humankind, chapter 2.12)
There are 7 steps to how humans function. We’ve covered them so why do we need a further blog post about this subject? Because there’s an important aspect that needs mentioning, and maybe you’re surprised that I haven’t already discussed it: Love.
Can’t we just love one another and get on with it. Love not war … isn’t that the way to peace? If it were only that simple. I want to end this chapter with an explanation of what love is.
Love is probably the most overly misused of the sentiments. It has parades, gods, fights, movies, books, poetry… dedicated to its prowess. Let’s first define what I’m not talking about although these sentiments do exist and merit discussion, but not here: puppy love, sentimental love, romantic love. We’re not talking about the infatuation felt between two people that is akin to hyper-hormones or falling-in-love or love-at-first-sight.
An important point to consider is that love is something that takes place in a human being’s mind. When it comes to romance, we generally talk about the heart. Evolutionary neuroscientists would talk about it originating in the brain. I’ve written extensively about the mind and its relationship to the brain.
The last chapter was about how the mind is the one and sole characteristic that makes for the singularity of humankind. Only we humans possess it and one of those singularities is that we can love, learn and grow in love. In the next chapter, we’ll discuss WHY the mind is equipped to love. Love has a specific purpose and we’ve lost sight of it. Here’s a very general definition of what love is:
Love is the proper application of the 7 steps of how humans function towards those we get to know.
Since we are not hermits and live in a community, we meet and get to know those around us. Most are simply acquaintances but others become friends, intimate friends, and even mates. Eventually, there’s family and children.
Practicing the 7 steps of how humans function towards those we get to know is the definition of love. This is a long subject and below is just a resume. I’ll give you some more detailed reading material in a moment. The idea here is to give you the overall concept of the true meaning of what love is.
- Human Nature
Love is knowing that we are frail human beings. Both oneself and all those around us, no matter how close or how far. It’s realizing that each one’s mind is filled with controversies, even contradictions. It’s realizing that some if not most people are searching for the right way of doing things, leading their own lives and trying to lead their lives decently in relation to those around them … but their mental and personal problems often get in the way. We’re all mixed up. That’s human nature. Love is being aware of our ambivalent mental nature and working on it.
- Free will/choice
We have the choice to give compliments and encouragement as well as swearing and proferring insults to anyone and everyone. Our upbringing and mental environment have foisted a lot of habits on us that we can’t easily shake off. In a world of mixed morals, controversial ethics, influential social media, it’s easy to get lost and make wrong decisions. That’s free will. Love is trying to find and make the right choices.
Our conduct and actions are the results of the interaction of our choices based on our human nature. We’re often carrying a lot of heavy, unnecessary baggage. We’re trying to shed some of that weight, but there’s an awful lot of muck there. Maybe we’re doing the best we can. Oftentimes we fail, sometimes we succeed. That’s behavior. Love is trying to break free from some of our poor upbringing, education, and habits.
The moral basis that defines and measures decent behavior. In all the cacophony of education, psychiatry, philosophy, religion… where do you turn to find a compass that will lead you in the correct direction? Many are on shaky ground and given our 21st-century context, stabilizing the compass is not an easy matter. That’s ethics. Love is trying to find an honest, practical way that does lead to more peace.
One looks at lawmakers and law enforcers—and, each of us at our level is both of these–and wonders what happened to justice. From society, it looks like injustice reigns and that may be the case. That’s (in)justice. Love is doing your part to keep within the limits of what’s reasonable and help others, to the best of your ability, do likewise. My freedom ends where your freedom begins.
These last two steps are of-and-by-themselves are already the first steps of love. Self-reproach is doing the necessary introspection to evaluate where I AM WRONG. Where I need a makeover. Where I need an upgrade in the prior five points. There’s nothing depressive here. It’s like a cook looking at their prepared gourmet dish and seeing what improvements can be made, what other methods can be used next time. Love is self-evaluation and effort in view of better relationships with yourself (serenity and happiness) and your entourage. Their peacefulness.
If only we could forgive ourselves and others—deeply in our minds. One of the most difficult values to emulate, but since we’ve all both misbehaved and been overwhelmed by the misbehavior of others to even really begin to love, this characteristic must be present in abundant amounts.
The above is simply an overview because in Audit of the Universe I would like you to begin to see ALL the pieces of the ENTIRE picture of the UNIVERSE. That’s a tall order, I admit. The seven steps above include every aspect of how humans function, and if we summarize that with ‘humans should love one another,’ then all these steps are part of learning just that: love and peace.
If you want to go more in-depth, there are many books you can read. I’ll just mention one: The Road Less Traveled. Dr. Speck is a clinical psychologist with hands-on treatment of the human mind. He’s very down to earth and descriptive of what love is and isn’t with great insight and suggestions. Click here to download a free pdf of the book. Or. you can purchase it online.
Some people and groups have understood these steps and implemented them with great success. Possibly the best known of them is Alcoholics Anonymous. Maybe you don’t think of them as empowering people to love. But, in fact, by helping alcoholics become sober they are returning people to a more normal life. That is love.
Here’s a rapid overview of their 12-step program. Take a minute to see that all the steps fit with the shorter 7 step plan above. Some of these groups incorporate ‘God’ or some ‘Power’ into their program. I have not done that here, but will return to that in Origin of the Universe. The reason I’ve not incorporated it is that many people do not refer to ‘God’ or anything similar and the question becomes: without such extra-help is love and peace possible? The answer is that with the 7 steps, yes it is, to a great degree. More in the next book.
Here’s the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 point list with the related How Humans Function step in brackets
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable. (Human nature, free choice, Self-reproach)
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (Coming, but this is related to the origin and validity of both ethics and justice.)
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. (Self-reproach)
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. (human nature, behavior, Self-reproach)
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (Self-reproach)
- We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. (Forgiveness)
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. (Self-reproach: awareness & change)
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. (Forgiveness)
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. (Self-reproach & Behavior)
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. (Self-reproach)
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. (Self-reproach)
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. (The needer of love now becomes the supplier of love)
As you can see, there’s a lot of self-reproach, introspection and the right choices to be made during this process. It is vital for an individual to recognize their own problems. Without this start, it is impossible to progress. Only with this recognition that they need help, need teaching, need support and a personal mentor the program can be initiated. They require something superior to themselves to lead and guide them, including to correct and encourage them.
We talk about what love is, but what’s the evidence?
As we do an Audit of the Universe we should ask ourselves, does society see how all these seven pieces of how humans function work as a unit. If one is out of whack, it pulls the others down. What if free choice or behavior is missing from these steps and we’re still trying to force the pieces of understanding how humanity comes together?
No wonder we’ve got so many dysfunctioning children and adults than at any other time in history. it’s not just a matter of numbers, it’s pro rata. And the richest nations have the most dysfunctioning. go figure that one out. There goes another one of our much-believed assertions. We think that a better functioning society with love and peace comes from more prosperity and more education. Our Audit of the Universe is revealing that’s not necessarily the case.
We have covered the schema of How Humans Function. Now for a big question. Why do humans function this way? Why do we have an innate desire for love and peace?
This is an excerpt from chapter 2.12 of the book Audit of Humankind.
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