Attached Love, Awe, Bad Ideas, Education, Erotic Love, Human Nature, Ideas, Knowledge, Learning, Love, Mature Love, New Love, Parental Love, Romantic Love, Science

Do the Sciences Rob Love of Beauty and Mystery?

“It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery … It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.” — Carl Sagan

SUMMARY: I reject the notion that the sciences rob love of beauty and mystery.

(About a 4 minute read)

Love is probably the best thing most of us will ever experience in life.  This fact is made even more astonishing when you consider that life also includes blogging, and yet love amazingly edges out blogging even in the minds of otherwise sensible people when it comes to the best things in life.

But what is love?

There seem upon examination to be so many kinds of love that it would be perfectly understandable if the question, “what is love”, made us all go off into a corner, suck our thumbs, and whimper.  At least, I think it would be perfectly understandable.  But then, going off into a corner, sucking my thumb, and whimpering is what I do with about a quarter of my day, especially after reading the news headlines.

Continue reading “Do the Sciences Rob Love of Beauty and Mystery?”

Abuse, Bad Ideas, Cultural Traits, Culture, Human Nature, Life, Living, Oppression, Parental Love, Religion, Religious Ideologies

Rising Above Human Nature

“Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were put in this world to rise above.” — Katherine Hepburn, African Queen.

SUMMARY:  Our cultures need to be doing more to ameliorate the effects of our negative human instincts.

(About a 4 minute read)

It’s my impression that most of us these days are at least dimly aware that human nature can be out of joint with human happiness.  That is, we can have a disposition or inclination to certain feelings and behaviors that more or less inevitably lead us into unhappy situations, and even misery.

Warfare is an example of that.  While humans apparently do not have an actual instinct to war upon each other, we do indeed have a full set of instincts that mean war is all but directly hardwired into our DNA.

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Agape, Attachment, Consciousness, Enlightenment, Human Nature, Ideas, Life, Living, Love, Mysticism, Parental Love, Quality of Life, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self Interest, Self-Integration, Self-Realization, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

SUMMARY: There is a relatively rare form of love that is more of a perception — or way of perceiving the world — than it is an emotion.

(About a 6 minute read)

There is a kind of love that — even if it were unpleasant — would be worth experiencing.

This is what I call, “unconditional love”.  Buddhists, I believe, call it , “loving-compassion”, and Christians call it “agape”.  Many people around the world consider it the “highest” or most “pure” form of love.

Some other folks call it “altruistic love”, but I find that term misleading, not because there isn’t an element of altruism in it, but because altruism is so poorly understood, largely perhaps because it is so difficult to explain.

Many folks who have never experienced it do not believe it exists, or even reason that it logically cannot exist.

Unconditional love would be worth experiencing even if it were unpleasant (at least in my opinion) because it brings with it great insight into people and things, compassion, and a feeling or sense of renewal or rebirth — among other things.

But what is it?

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Agape, Erotic Love, Goals, Human Nature, Life, Love, Mature Love, Meaning, New Love, Parental Love, Philos, Purpose, Religion, Romantic Love, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self Interest, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Sexuality, Society, Spirituality, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love

How Love Transforms Us

(About a 7 minute read)

One of the curious facts of human nature is that, if we are not rather frequently reborn through-out our lives, we suffer, and suffer greatly, for not having been reborn.  Equally curious is the fact the truth of that is not more widely recognized and understood.

Nearly everyone it seems has at least heard it is important to be true to oneself, or that a purposeful and meaningful life is a life worth living.  But the fact that life must involve a series of rebirths — that is largely missing from our general awareness of spiritual truths.

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Abuse, Butch, Ethics, Family, Friends, Goals, Happiness, Human Nature, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mature Love, Meaning, Morality, Morals, Parental Love, People, Purpose, Quality of Life, Rae, Relationships, Romantic Love, Sex, Sexuality, Shannon, Society, Tara Lynn, Tomoko, Values

Butch and Rae: An Unlikely Love Story

(About a 16 minute read)

Butch was such a nondescript man that he surely did not need a crowd to be overlooked by most anyone of us.  He was of average build, and just under average in height.  There was nothing either ugly or handsome about his face.   Blue eyes, a bit narrow.  Sandy hair.  Pale complexion.  Not only was he easily overlooked, he was even more easily underestimated.

Had you seen him during the time we knew each other, you most likely would have thought, “janitor”.  Arms too thin for construction, looks too unpolished to be a professional or even a store clerk.   And you would have been right.  At that time in his life, Butch was a janitor.

He was also one of those curious sort of people you sometimes come across in small towns and rural areas.  An honest genius with no more than a high school education, and no ambitions for himself.

Continue reading “Butch and Rae: An Unlikely Love Story”

Family, Logic, Love, Parental Love, Reason

My Rational Mother

(About a 4 minute read)

Almost certainly because I composed a poem about her this morning, I am missing my mom, who died a year ago to this month.  And as so often happens, one of the three or four top things I’m missing is her rationality.

I’m under the impression most folks simply do not closely associate rationality with their mothers.  I hope that’s more because they value other things, such as love, so much more than because their mothers were not very rational.  But it would not be much of an exaggeration to say, my mother was, not merely rational, but hyper-rational.

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Emotions, Family, Love, Parental Love, Passion, Poetry

Of All That Her Heart Ever Past to Mine

(About a 2 minute read)

I am grateful to my mother
For her last words to me
Which she spoke months
Before her death at 99.

She was by then bound
To a wheelchair, her body
Scared from operations
And with parts missing
That had betrayed her
Long before the day
She last spoke to me.

She was not always there,
Drifted in and out at times.
Mostly out. Long ago
Her wonderful mind
Began confusing itself.
Her personality changed too.
Now she could be rude
And aggressive, callous
And cruel.

It froze my heart,
Hurt like ice on fire,
When she was like that,
So much someone else.
So much already gone.

Though she was never
Like that to me.
Only the kind staff
At her final home.

And I resented
That I’d lost her —
Her wisdom, insight,
Humor and advice.

I could yearn,
Like an infant yearns
To suckle a breast,
To hear her witty
Observations again.

My brother called me
From her room
But she was too deaf
To hear me over the phone,

And maybe didn’t know
What was going on at all.

Then she caught on

And I heard “Is that Paul?”

Suddenly her voice was young,
Twenty years younger and clean,
Clean as a huge boulder
After a mountain storm.

Crisp as a Hawk’s beak,
And out-stretching to me
Like an eagle’s wings.

Her voice rose
Like a sacred breeze,
And she with passionate force,
So forceful that I felt
Her turning her head
Towards the phone:

“I love you, Paul!”

The words were words
Commonly said by moms
But they were alive.

Yes her words were true,
But also a final summation
Of her life with me,
Of my life with her.

Of all that her heart
Ever passed to mine,
Of all of the gifts
My mother ever gave me,

None was finer than
Her last.


This poem was inspired by Tylor J. Mintz’s Love From Another Place.