It is a great mistake to suppose that love unites and unifies men. Love diversifies them, because love is directed towards individuality. The thing that really unites men and makes them like to each other is hatred.
G. K. Chesteron
So I had a conversation on fB about this quote with an old friend from grade school, Stephen. I figured you might want to read it. Sometimes interesting revelations come from the most unexpected places.
Stephen: Dude, that quote makes no sense. Love pulls people together; hate pushes people apart….until hate pushes someone together so much that one kills the other and then there’s nothing left.
Actually, any emotion can unify one person with another if they have that same emotion, thought, or belief as another. Someone can love another person, and if someone else doesn’t love that same person, that could separate them in diversity. To say that one emotion in life only does one thing is a very obtuse thought process.
Zach: Think of it like this: what do you love? People? A god? The Church?
Or do you love your wife? Your kids? Your family, friends? You learn of love through the individuality of its expression, As Christ loved you as an individual, specific thing, so can you learn to love others and things in Creation within their specific individuality. To think in generalities is to fall into the abstract, and that is where we end up in danger.
Hate becomes universal because, in fact, we easily unify under banners of what we don’t like. I don’t like this, or I don’t like that; we generalize, and by that generalization turn individuals into abstractions who become our objects of hatred. Most arguments devolve into this; heck, just take a look at the Internet arguing about anything. We don’t have a face and a name to attach, just a generality. Hence everyone shrieking about one conspiracy theory or another, and everyone agreeing that this is, in fact, the case.
It’s easy to hate your neighbors in general – they’re annoying! It’s not so easy to love your neighbor who’s name is Frank, even if your neighbor’s a total jerk who plays the music too loud at night and constantly asks you for things he doesn’t need. But you know him, and he knows you – there’s a very different attitude there.
Counterintuitive? Definitely. True? Very likely.
Stephen: Well if you put it that way, it makes more sense. Talking about generalizations is a good way to explain it. Maybe I just don’t like the way GKC talks….or maybe you suck at getting his main points across when you pick out his quotes that I tend to think it’s the opposite of what he’s saying. jk you don’t suck!
You know what I think is the common thread between people? Selfishness and self-righteousness. Reasons: people grow up learning something about life; they develop their own way of thinking which governs their life. Therefore, who we are is subject to what we’ve learned in life; more so, our actions are governed by our individual beliefs. So no matter what the beliefs are, the fact that we as humans are the same in our generic states means that we all have a common uniting factor, in fact, probably one of the most generalized processes all humans have in common. But people are too caught up in the details through which they are selfish to care about uniting with others all over the world because of humanity’s selfishness. There are too many people in the world for humans to literally be able to care for all of them anyway.
Pushing forward, if I believe that the world is flat and that’s all I know, I would be, in a sense, selfish to only believe what I’ve learned so that my mind is not in a state of stress. It is only until we learn something new that we are able to change. I think scientists call it “eustress” which is like positive stress in our lives.
So say that a Christian is constantly told that they’re wrong and there’s no God despite their experiences. They will be selfish for their own need to keep their belief because that IS who they are, until they go through enough stress that ever makes them decide to believe something else. ..I guess this can be applied to all beliefs, but it doesn’t change the fact that humanity as individuals and in a whole is selfish no matter what. I don’t know if this whole tangent has anything to do with GKC, but I just thought you’d appreciate the philosophical flood on the page. I even wrote a note on my page called “The Circle” that involves selfishness and humanity’s purposes while we’re alive.
On a lighter note, today’s 6-6-13!You remember when people were freaking out when it was June 6, 06? So funny!
Oh yeah, you may argue about how love fits in the category or being selfish. Well, people believe that the love they feel or embrace is right. Belief in love fulfills them, and even though they carry out selfless love towards others, it is because they are selfish in their belief in love that makes them carry out the definition of love towards others.
You know what dude? I just realized that you and at least one other person I know is really into philosophy enough to appreciate what I say. I think that’s why I flood your pages all the time.
Zach: The love for these discussions comes from the degrees,heh. Who’d have thought I would be the one in (unorthodox) ministry, honestly, out of our class?
Of course, a lot of this has to do with a fallen nature. The first sin, as they say, was pride – that we could be like God. Self-righteousness and selfishness derive from that – if you are, in fact, the god of your own solipsistic universe, then why shouldn’t you be right about everything, and why shouldn’t your rights come first?
So people unite under common causes not under the sense that there’s an external authority that determines right and wrong, but that the collective determines it. That is where we get the uniting due to hatred, I would guess.
Christianity always praises the humble, and it is for precisely this reason. Jesus visits prostitutes and tax collectors, not because they know anything, but because he loves them as individuals. To be a Pharisee is easy, and to condemn from afar is a first-world luxury; to live in poverty and relate to other people is difficult, hard, taxing.
Or, you might say, a Christian doesn’t believe in a zero sum world. We shouldn’t think that when somebody has something, they take away from someone else (think modern feminism and patriarchy taking away from authentic women identify, etc). Rather, there’s room for all at the Lord’s table, and all in their weird quirks and oddities. It’s just that we don’t want to flourish under authority; we want to BE the authority. But we’re not a very trustworthy source, as Jeremiah 17:9 points out:
The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
And that’s where I come from.
Stephen: Oh yeah, I totally agree with you! You might think me contradictory to be able to agree with you and say what I said on the top. Maybe it’s my lack of degrees that allows me to not explain things correctly and misunderstand you. I guess a good way to apply what I’m thinking is to input it into Scripture. [Those who are alive in the Spirit of Christ are dead in the flesh.] I don’t know where to quote that from anymore, but I have a feeling you do. Basically, the flesh is dead because of sin. Because of sin, say the obvious sin of pride, the basic instinct of flesh will always be selfish and think of itself and its own preservation of mind and body.
Maybe it’s why the Bible tells us to give all of ourselves to God. [We are dead in the flesh, yet alive in Christ. But it is not we who are alive, but Christ in us.] That will probably be the number one thing that separates Christians from the rest of the world: no matter how dead and carnal everybody’s flesh is, the spirit will be the only thing that matters that’s salvageable. I know this is like Religion 101, but the defining purpose and importance for me to even philosophize this is that even Christians or just people who think they’re righteous need to realize how carnal they are at their core and how their carnality literally affects EVERYTHING in this world.
And by the way, I’m not surprised that you’re in ministry. Everyone in our class and in that school, in the line of Christian influence, has a chance to be touched by God and experience him and listen enough to be drawn down his individual path for them. And although I’m sure you weren’t perfect like the rest of us, your acceptance is more than an example of the fact that God takes anyone who comes to him
To tell you the truth even more, nobody in grade school ever REALLY knew each other on the inside, so it’s not like I could judge whether you’d be in ministry or not. You may think you’re bad, have I got some stories for you. And people always thought I was the “perfect little boy.” Letting people think that about me actually screwed me up more. Even right now dude, I’m talking all philosophically and including religion and I have to be honest, I don’t think I’m saved. It’s taken me 20 years up to now to recently find MYSELF much less realize that I haven’t been giving him my whole heart. I’ve related myself to a demon at times: to know the truth yet not obey or accept. My pride in myself has been my number one killer, and despite knowing a bunch of stuff, I feel I know where I’m going. I don’t know how to let my pride go yet and let God take all of me.
Ever think I would turn out like this?
Zach: I just like to be thorough, is all 🙂
But seriously, no one should ever NOT feel saved. It’s not a matter of our effort, but His. Otherwise, it wouldn’t work. Whether or not I do sin, God is still merciful. Whether or not I put Him first, He still forgives. That’s the number one thing – the battle is already won, now we just have to live like it. And that’s harder than it looks!
Stephen: It’s so much harder dude…..so you’re saying that I believe and asked him into my life before, that I’m saved. And if I feel like I’ve pushed him away, where does that put me with God?
Zach: Some people call this “re-dedication”, but you never really left – you just thought you did. Pray for guidance, rekindle the relationship. That’s how you would do it with anyone else.
Stephen: thanks man. That’s encouraging. I’ve been pushing God away for a while because I was so angry with my life. Lots of petty things, I guess. I’ve got a long way to go. I’d appreciate your prayers and I appreciate talking to you dude. It’s good to get things out.