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Conditional Love

December 7, 2010

There are many types of love in this world, but one kind of love that does not exist is unconditional love. No, I’m not saying that God doesn’t exist or that a truly virtuous love is implausible; unconditional love is by its very nature implausible, owning to its paradoxical existence. That is, for a person to love, there must be an object (or person) for whom that love is reserved; because even true love can exist only as manifested in in the person(s) chosen by the one who emanates it, even the most pure of love is conditional.

So then, what are the conditions of love, and how do these conditions affect how that love is manifested, projected, and received? As expressed in my post Love Dynamics, there are three main kinds of love, all of which originate from the self: Passion, Intimacy, and Commitment; the influence of these three factors determine how one’s love develops. I say that they originate from the self, because they are motivated by the self: Passion is motivated by the Id (Inner Desire), Intimacy is motivated by the Ego (Control), and Commitment is motivated by the SuperEgo (Expectations). The ratio of these three factors will determine the nature of one’s love, as well as the compatibility of one who may or may not share similar priorities.

There is no such thing as a selfless love; those who claim a lifestyle of altruism and so-called “agape” love are not truly selfless; rather, they are merely projecting their love for the self into a love for others; another way of putting it is that agape love is the expression of love for oneself through the love for others. I have a love that is a variation of agape, which I refer to as “Oneness”; by recognizing that my love for others is merely the projected form of love for myself, I become free to love for the sake of loving, without any need for a specific object through which to express my love. Although my love is not truly unconditional, requiring at least one object as a medium by which to express that love, it is as unconditional as a love can get, because I am not actually loving the object, but merely using the object as a medium by which to express my love for myself.

Conversely, some people cannot find any value in themselves, and so cannot love themselves (non-existent self-esteem, in other words); admittedly, I am in a relationship with a girl with such circumstances. For her, she takes the reverse approach of my own Narcissism; rather than loving herself through me, she loves me through herself. Unfortunately, this type of love (which is just as confusing as it sounds), is non-sustainable, because it will eventually collapse on itself. Because she uses her love for me to sustain her own existence, but there is no object from which that love to be expressed beside’s herself, it’s impossible for her to actually love me, because since I am the target of her love, I end up becoming her existence; essentially, without her love for me she could not truly exist. This paradoxically self-depreciating phenomenon is known in layman’s terms as “Co-dependence.”

With every love there are three priorities to consider, each of which correspond to the three motivations discussed earlier: Passion invokes the priority of Resolve, Intimacy invokes the priority of Direction, and Commitment the priority of Expectations. The emphasis of these three priorities determine the “personality” of one’s love, and the image such a love will reflect. When it comes to my own love, I consider these three priorities, and which of them is most important to me determines my own love; for example, I have never had much interest in Resolve (being the philosopher I am, I suppose this is to be expected), and my sense of Expectations is pretty nonexistent outside what other people expect; as for my own love, I expect nothing except perhaps that through love I might be inspired, and inspire others. The priority that I value most highly is thus founded in the Direction of my love; I need to know what kind of love I am developing, and what form that love will take.

I am a narcissist by nature, and so can only love myself; anyone who I claim to love, it should be noted, is not the one I truly love, for I am only loving myself through them. For this reason, I find it of great importance that the object of my love match my own character, as only then can I truly love that person; a person with character comparable to my own is necessary for my selfish love for myself to simultaneously be a love for another, as only then can I identify that person as being truly “my other half”, and accordingly love them as I love myself. If I can trust a person as I trust myself, being so essential to my existence that we are truly inseparable, then we will have become one person, thus fulfilling the ultimate goal of Love: Oneness. To love a person so much that their existence equates to your own, that is true love.

In my girlfriend’s case, I am her existence (as explained earlier), and so from her perspective, she has technically achieved Oneness. However, true Oneness must be mutual, and I cannot reciprocate, because we are mentally, spiritually, and emotionally incompatible; strictly speaking, our differences are irreconcilable; so much so that I have many times considered breaking up with her to save us bigger trouble later on. While she can be satisfied with my dream, I refuse to partake in hers; more accurately, even if I wanted to partake in her dream, she has no dream (and by dream I mean “existence”) for me to partake in. I can’t become One with her even if I wanted to, because there is no “her” to become One with; this is likely to most frustrating part of our relationship (for me mind you, not for her!)

So, since my girlfriend does not “exist” apart from me anyway, I thought, I might as well modify (or “create”) her to meet my criteria for a “dream” compatible with my own. I have initially only considered the most basic of criteria: individuality, goals/dreams, independence, self-esteem, a self-actuated personality, and personal passion. Unfortunately, even these goals will take years for her to actualize, and I would have to be extremely patient with her; she herself might suffer a great deal to accomplish these things. But without them, she is nothing more than a doll; at least for me, a doll is not suitable as a medium by which to sublimate my love. Call it manipulation if you will, but I don’t think it appropriate to say I’m trying to change her, as there never was any “her” to begin with. Rather, I am creating her existence, and that alone should justify my actions.

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