Area
Project home


  love notes
gary e. davis
October 9, 2022
 
  In the beginning was the word?
  Love—to my mind—is at least very ardent caring.

At most, who’s to say? Divining a love for enhancing humanity can have what post-theological (humanistic) scale? Some inspired kind of practicality?

Senses of love are relative to the life that loves, which has its own senses of ‘love’, and thereby “loves.”

Did you read ‘love’ as a noun and “loves” as a verb?

Actually, the nebulousness of ‘love’ (the lexical spread of senses) implies
a plurality of loves (kinds of love) in one’s life; and actually, love is primarily
an action (an engaging of oneself with another), not a state of affairs.

But etymologically, ‘love’ was first used as a noun (before the 12th century), which isn’t trivial, because archetypal humanity (panpsychality of folk culture) tends to look for implicit forms of understanding (even supernatural ones,
not yet showing Platonist formality) which—as the story goes—action instances (like “genius” arriving for man), rather than understanding articulations as derived from preceding actions (or enacting): Classically, love arrives, rather than being learned through exemplars and experience. But such psychality of folkism (yielding to “Being” outside of life) conceals the reality of being. In other words, understanding can be normally a displacement of itself (disem-bodied discernment) as the thereby instanced form. Understanding conceals itself (its individuation) as being derivative—rather than as the living basis of understanding.

You may know my enjoyment of lexical scopes, but I want to resist that here, except to note the etymological first use of ‘love’ as a verb: “to feel great affection for (someone) : to feel love (for someone)” (Merriam-Webster Unabridged). There—and for all the varieties of meaning—love is a feeling, rather than a relating (e.g., ardent attentiveness relative to the other’s uniqueness; or caring aptly). And there, feeling seems synonymous with affect or emotion.

But feeling is better understood as a melding of emotion and value, because mere emotion (or affect) may lack a sense of what it’s about, while the appeal of something which evinces emotion is very different. Someone (or something) evinces emotion because they matter (or it matters); thus, as if they/it are appealing for one’s emotion which is evinced. To matter is to be valued. There really is no feeling—no authentic sense of ‘feeling’—without valuing what evinces one’s emotion. Someone or something matters, thus evincing emotion.

To love is at least to greatly value someone. That’s registered in M-W def. 3b: “to value and appreciate (something) : to be devoted to (something),” but is that about someone? Throughout the verbal definitions, things prevail, as if concealing the primacy of caring for and about persons. And that’s furthered by the much-wider array of definitions of the noun ‘love’.


 
here we truly are
  Loving—feeling “love”—is at least very affectional caring, ardent (very emo-
tional) caring, and caring is a kind of valuing: constructive attentiveness,
at least.

Yet, there’s a difference between authentic and inauthentic emotion, relative to one’s sense of Self (or feeling of being a life of oneSelf). Also, there’s a differ-
ence between genuine and ingenuine caring. “True” love is at least authentically affected genuine caring (which can thereby be truly affective in mutuality with another).

Authentic affectivity (being affected and affecting) expresses one’s depth of selfness or psychality (which is differentiable as [1] expressed Self and [2] self-represented or troped selfidentity). Genuine relating (being with and being with) represents one’s engagement of interpersonality (which is differentiable as [2] other-oriented understanding and [3] other-relative presence).

The better that one’s sense of S/s/p differentiability is, the better that one can appreciate authentic and fair relating and differentiate oneSelf from the singularity and integrity of the other. This can be complicated, but for instance: A good sense of Self avoids projections about another’s selfidentity (disting-
uishable from their interpersonal relating). And a good sense of s/p difference stays attuned to the other’s understanding of “our” scene; and avoids unwit-
tingly causing misunderstanding due to situational self-possession.

That’s abstract, but it’s real: Confusion of differences is common in impulsive romanticism, habitual parenting, phony teaching, presumptive friendships, self-invested argument (“egos” at stake), xenophobia, personality disorders, and more.

Authentic genuineness feels degrees of aptness in relations and enjoys the play of relating—a flexible vitality or improvisational sense of dramatic life, what-
ever the relationship; but aptly. Of course, “love” is special among daily relations.

Among common loves (most friends, family most of the time, ongoing inter-
ests), a True Love of intimacy creates “us” in endless ways, which can be aptly part of other kinds of love: deep friendship, authentic romance, familial engagement (marital partnership, concerted parenting), intensive collabor-ation (research, artistry), and maybe a high way of being “us,” One way of life which seems beyond any others.

Altogether (back on Earth), love is fun—even a high play of true care (e.g., humanitarian values, prospecting better humanity). Abstractly put: Love is very ardent (high/fulfilling ardency of) other-oriented caring about and for you, especially shown by enjoying your enjoying of caring, where I’m delightedly reflecting your delight.

 
other-enhancive caring
  Since caring is essentially relative to others, “other-enhancive” is a bit redundant, except to distinguish that from intrinsic self-enhancive interest which children show through fascination and curiosity.

Enhancive caring desires to see the other flourish in their ownmost way. Love of that—ardency of that—complements the other’s flourishing (even enabling, typically through mentoring). It’s as self interested as other-oriented, because there’s fulfilling enjoyment to be gained as a thrill of self-efficacy in making a loved one happy. Devoted parents and teachers know this. It’s vitalizing.

“…[R]emember Rilke’s admonition,” I quoted a dying Tony Judt (long passed) recalling: “love consists in leaving the loved one space to be themselves while providing the security within which that self may flourish….”

Friend, lover, teacher, parent, therapist, we do what time grants, as best we can, and not always well; but learning, learning. Essentially, at heart and ultimately what matters in love is the other’s integrity of being and dignity of entitlement. It makes doctors of us; and caretakers of our shared finitude.

Likewise for one’s sense of one’s world: Authentic feeling for the world is for the world, like finding fulfillment in another’s growth, as if life at best is gardening everywhere truly.

 
lovely days
  Feeling time, appreciating every moment, joy of the day, elated being alive—
we may long for aesthetic enjoyment whenever possible, which is a high
kind of love.

When practicable, of course: given time for such a kind of fulfilling enjoyment.

Prudence entails modesty in one’s days, as well as in one’s loves. Happiness enough may be enjoying a pursuit of meaningfulness, eventually satisfying enough—enjoying (like enacting) reliably: making time worthwhile, being project-ive, flourishing fruitfully enough while gaining “wholehearted valuing of the day,” even raptly so, sometimes, in a sense of immersive wonder that may be implied by one’s capability for mindfulness.

   

 

 

 

 
  Be fair. © 2022, gary e. davis