Card #359 – Love

  text and photo © Jonathan Zap

M. Scott Peck has an interesting definition of love: “I define love thus: The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”

Someone once said that, “Love is cool, it is not hot.” It is crucial to distinguish love from passion, infatuation, codependence and sentimentality. It is also said that love is a verb, not a noun. What you love is what you spend time on.

Sometime in the Nineties an eighty-year-old woman, who was a Jungian analyst, gave a talk I attended in Boulder. At the end of her talk there were questions from the audience and the first one came from a young woman. “Now that you are an elder,” asked the young woman, “what can you tell me as a young woman about love?” The elder woman replied, “When I was your age I was desperately trying to be loved. But now I know that it is better to simply be love.”

A few love quotes:

“In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.”

— Margaret Anderson

“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”

— Sam Keen

Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.” — from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernires

“Love is the beauty of the soul.”

— St. Augustine

Some Jung quotes on love:

Where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other.

In spite of all indignant protestations to the contrary, the fact remains that love (using the word in the wider sense which belongs to it by right and embraces more than sexuality), its problems and its conflicts, is of fundamental importance in human life and, as careful inquiry consistently shows, is of far greater significance than the individual suspects.

It is a favorite neurotic misunderstanding that the right attitude to the world is found by indulgence in sex.

The love problem is part of mankind’s heavy toll of suffering, and nobody should be ashamed of having to pay his tribute. — C. G. Jung

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized.

Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true. — Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

[Love is] the fundamental impulse of Life…the one natural medium in which the rising course of evolution can proceed. With love omitted there is truly nothing ahead of us except the forbidding prospect of standardization and enslavement — the doom of ants and termites. It is through love and within love that we must look for the deepening of our deepest self, in the life-giving coming together of humankind. — Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man

 


 

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