Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Love Described

A Perspective on Love

I met a Jewish Psychologist in London, Ontario today, Doctor Peter Cobrin. That he is Jewish, or a Psychologist specifically is neither here nor there, though both have had an influence on the wisdom that he carries with him on his daily walk.

He told me in our discussion that he has been writing a book on Love, which I hope he publishes, because I would like to read it from what he said to me about it.

He spoke of love in terms of a delicate balance between power and vulnerability, akin to gravity, which does not so much pull the earth to the sun, but holds it in place where it has found its appropriate home. So, loving oneself, is about balancing one's own power and one' own vulnerability, while loving others is about balancing one's own power and vulnerability with that of another. I pondered that in relation to the ebb and flow of my own relationship with my wife and thought that it was a relevant metaphor, and that it could be built upon to better understand loving relationships.

One, of course does not write a book about one's life's work without going deeper than a paragraph, and in fact Dr. Cobrin synthesized it into two sentences for me at the time. Our time was short and we had other matters to discuss, so I did not get the opportunity to delve deeper with him into the mystery of love as he understood it. I am sure that it would have been an interesting discussion. I cannot even guarantee that what I wrote above is correct.

But, here is what is interesting to me most of all. Human beings are designed to love one another. Dr. Cobrin has discovered an aspect of that loving that is interesting to understand. Love is about free choices. Using Dr. Cobrin's balance of power and vulnerability, how I choose to use them both is up to me, using free will.

The government cannot regulate that, no matter how hard they try to so do. In fact, the government with its meddling ways gives us new forms of power that we can exert if we choose. For example, if my feelings are hurt, and I qualify as part of a special interest group, I can choose to file a human rights complaint against the alleged source of my hurt feelings. That's exerting power. On the other hand, I can allow myself to feel my hurt, and be vulnerable to it, and do nothing, or even stretch myself, and share my vulnerability, if I feel safe enough, with what I think is the source of my hurt feelings. Both of these alternatives of course deny that I am the source of my own feelings, and I have chosen to have them, which was not in fact a requirement in the circumstance.

It seems to me that filing a human rights complaint might more often be an act of powerful violence to oneself and to the Respondent, than an act of vulnerability to oneself. In all likelihood, at least in the cases that I have read, it is not a case of self love.

I think to the Jim Corcoran Form 1 for example. If he had looked through his hurt feelings, and thought of what he was about to do next in response to his hurt feelings, as an ultimate act of love, how would he have balanced power and vulnerability?

I wonder what his response would have been.

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