Monday, November 22, 2010
On Love and Apathy
What is the opposite of love? The common answer to this question is "hate". But it is wrong. Another would be "anger" but again it is wrong. Responding to this question, one needs to reconcile himself with his knowledge of love.
What is love? Love is a feeling. It is a positive feeling. Hate is a feeling which has negative connotations, but which could still lead to something positive. We hate because we feel, and we hate because we have learned to love, have loved and experienced love. Yet, at one moment, that love seems to fade.
Like hate, anger could result positively. First, it places the furious individual into a catharsis. Second, it makes the other person aware of what another feels. Anger could be another expression of hate, or a result of hate. Now, again, both can be traced to love.
Sometimes, hate turns into anger, yet anger will also subside. Hate may also subside, like anger. But with love, we may only fall out of it, if we fell on it. But love will remain. And, we will love again. Love can dissolve hate, love can ward off anger. But patience which is a cord that holds civility or propriety, can be broken by the fuming wrath of anger.
Anger is a natural human emotion. Suppress it, then you'll turn berserk. Let it explode uncontrollably then you'll strain yourself to your demise. I personally feel that it is not wrong to get angry, it is not wrong to let the other person important to you know of the things you hate. These are not moral or ethical issues. Simply because, things about you dislike or like has to be clear for better understanding.
But there will never be understanding, until both persons consider their selves to be on the same ground. Talking things out at different planes will not really work to better a relationship. Malcolm Gladwell emphasizes this point in "BLINK" that couples who go into conflict and never settle things on the same plane, end up in divorce. Another cue to this impending break up is when persons in relationships tend to attack each other by attributing the wrong deed to the identity of that person.
The human frailty is that we get so inflicted with even a little doze of painful anger or bitter hatred. That must be recognized, for they are emotions, they are natural, they have reasons to occur, and they have meaning in the relationships. They can not just be kept, or shrugged off like dandruff from one's shoulder. They have to be processed.
The process to overcome anger and hatred is turn to love. First, identify and recognize what you feel. Then, charge that positive emotion by refocusing your attention to things that you love, to your self, to your family, to your career, to your friends, to your interests and to God. Stay away for a while to what causes your anger and hatred, but do not leave that fragment of your memory as if nothing really happened. This should give you the time and space to reflect and find where you are coming from. Then, learn from it, unlearn some things and relearn those that really matter.
The departure from anger or hatred should be but temporal. It can never be eternal. You have to face them anew to deal with them. For those who remain unforgiving only burdens himself with a cross that he should never carry. That would be masochistic. A street smart philosophy that could work is "why bother yourself with anything that stresses you". That perhaps is their purpose in life, to be a burden to others and to stress others. They will be surely successful in that. So you must be cunning to find your space where you can be nurtured positively.
So what is the opposite of love? It is apathy. It is indifference. It is numbness to other's feelings. Again you can hate without losing love, you can be angry without losing love. But when you are apathetic, you can neither love nor hate, neither can you be angry. If this is where you find yourself, no one else can love because you can not feel love, as no one else matters to you. If what is more important to you, is your self, and no one else, that is pathetic. If you feel that you can never do a mistake and you can just blame someone else for your own wrong decisions, words and actions, that is egotistic. If you can play with other's feelings or ignore them like they don't matter, that is apathy.