Love in Action
Martin Luther King spoke of Agape, a Greek principle for unselfish and altruistic love. King (1958) explains agape as:
“disinterested love. It is love in which the individual seeks not his/her own good, but the good of his/her neighbor. Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes… It springs from the need of the other person… It is love in action. It is love seeking to preserve and create community. It is insistent on community even when one seeks to break. It is a willingness to sacrifice in the interest of mutuality and a willingness to go to any length to restore community…”
Love in action. What does that look like?
Bertrand Russell in “What I Believe” (1925) claimed: “the good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge” (p.20). I could not agree more with this statement. He further states, “Although both love and knowledge are necessary, love is in a sense more fundamental, since it will lead intelligent people to seek knowledge, in order to find out how to benefit those whom they love.” (21) With the premise that our lives are inspired by love and that there are multiple kinds of knowledge, and that we give value to its different forms, this statement beautifully encapsulates a philosophy of living that fits with Lovescaping and Dreamscaping, where different voices and different forms of knowledge are embraced.
Russell further expands upon the importance of community and a society that moves away from individualism. “We need rather a social than an individual conception of welfare.” (56) “The important point is that, in all that differentiates between a good life and a bad one, the world is a unity, and the man who pretends to live independently is a conscious or unconscious parasite”(59). This rejection of individualism is key in the discourse of love. Individualism is championed by capitalism, where the conception of community and for-the-greater-good are nonexistent. This premise is contra natura – an individual does not and cannot live in alienation from others. This is the greatest flaw of the system, and the cause of many of today’s world problems. If we were to embrace a more Ubuntu philosophy of life in which my wellbeing depends on your wellbeing and the wellbeing of all of those that surround us, our world would certainly be a very different place. Through a more just system that allows for participation and dialogue, we have the potential to change the world.
Fellow Lovescapers and Dreamscapers, what does love in action look like to you?