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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love. What is it, and are we, as human beings, capable of it? The answer to the second question is yes, and no. For the first, we might as well go to an online dictionary and find out.

According to the dictionary, unconditional love is:

affection with no limits or conditions; complete love
This source goes into further detail:

Unconditional love is a concept that means showing love towards someone regardless of his or her actions or beliefs. unconditional love is frequently used to describe love between family members, comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships.
I would add something to that. I think being judgmental plays deep into unconditional love. Someone or something you love unconditionally is free of judgment, and full of forgiveness.

This question occurred to me today, as I was doing my rounds for my job. I came across a dead coyote, lying in the side of the ditch. He was hit by a car, as jackass human beings do ungodly speeds on country roads. He probably didn't even see the vehicle coming, and from the looks of things it
didn't take long for the poor fellow to die. He was a young animal, handsome, with a clean coat and a well fed body. Certainly it was not time for him to go.

I felt bad, really bad. Worse than I felt when I hear stories of people murdering each other and dying in the most horrific ways. I was thinking, why is that? Why can I not feel for my own species in the same way I do for animal species?

It took me an hour or two but I arrived at an inevitable conclusion. I do not love humans unconditionally, but my love for animals has no conditions.

Animals do not display arrogance, judgment, or disrespect for themselves or others as do humans. Most animals will only attack if provoked, do not carry a grudge, and do not go out of their way to harm any other thing. Most are content to live their daily lives, and kill only to protect or feed themselves. Animals do not gossip, back stab, spread rumors of lies and untruths, or revel in an enemies suffering. Indeed, animals do not have enemies at all.

When I come home from work my dog greets me like I have been gone for a year. She does not ask why I'm late, she does not chastise me for not taking the garbage out on time, and she LOVES it when I have smelly breath! If I accidentally step on her foot she yelps and lowers herself like it as her that did something wrong. As soon as I pet her, she wags her tail and everything is as it was before.

I believe strongly that the human race as a whole does not have a clue as to what unconditional love is. Territorial disputes and resource disputes are common. Religious squabbles are happening today in apparent "civilized" societies. How civilized is it to retain 6,000 year old grudges from some old musty tome
s of parables and stories? How does man show love to himself, and his planet, the only thing sustaining his life, by over populating its lands, polluting it's air and oceans, and consuming it's every last resource at terrifying speeds? All while killing their neighbors over an imaginary political line drawn in the sand? How does insurgent terrorists slaughter innocent missionaries without blinking an eye?

At the level of the human family unit, parents are capable of showing unconditional love for their children. A mother will love her child even if he is a jerk, if he doesn't amount to anything, if he's 35 years old and still loving at home (unless he's Italian, then momma won't let him leave), if he's committed atrocities and is in jail. No matter what, he will always be her son, and she will always help him in his time of need. How much she likes him, however, is a different story.

I am as guilty as the next human of not unconditionally loving my own species, and I will cheerfully admit that any day of the week.

Animals do not do wrong in my eyes, and in my opinion, we as the "superior species" have a lot to learn from animals about how to live, and how to love. Animals even LOOK like love. How can you say no to anything this beautiful little pup wants?

4 keen observations:

Jennifer said...

hey there. i only read half of this because i realized before i was done that i agree. human beings are really the only beings capable of hatred and judgement. sad really. but thanks for the comments on my spazoid blog. i'll be back to read more. by the way, do i know you? it was just kind of weird that you commented on my blog and i have no idea who you are. new people are cool though. hit me back and let me know how you found me.

p.s. notice the lack of "..." in my comment here. i haven't been nearly as tired lately. this is the problem i have when i'm not tired. the rambling on about nothing. not really straight to the point ya know? oh well, it's my comment! nobody has to read it if they don't want to.

Mike said...

Funny story.

I noticed google had a new blog search (beta). Being the curious type I decided to google myself, so I typed in spazoid. You were the first hit. Another spazoid! And I thought I was the only one. I just had to comment.

As far as the ... thing goes, I was just giving you a hard time. I got the feeling you did have a sense of humour, good to see i'm right.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, it's new, and needs new readers, I'm especially happy to have new people, as you say, new people are cool.


Anonymous said...

What a cute little pup. Love him!

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!