“As for me, I have never understood how two beings that love each other and believe to have found supreme happiness in love do not prefer to break violently with all social conventions and suffer all types of humiliations before they depart from life, renouncing for one adventure since one cannot imagine that there are others.”
Schopenhauer said this perhaps on a fearful night like this one; one in which I think about the act of love and how it relates to modern society.
In the first place, for some time I have been writing a text on the discourse promoted by the mass media and how they determine the daily life of the modern human. The text isn’t finished, and in truth there is not enough time to complete it at the moment, and to finalize it and bring it to light. Nevertheless, that does not stop me from pausing on this April night to write a bit on love. But, what does the above text have to do with this topic? For me, the relationship is in how love as it is understood in modern times has been formed by discourse that newly molds and determines human action.
Thus as the old Schopenhauer was not able to understand the happiness that two beings found in loving each other, I many decades later cannot understand how the human can find happiness in loving his neighbor. This when the subject that is referred to as the neighbor can be so distant and unknown. This is perfectly embodied in the phrase, “love for the people” that is frequently intoned by good-hearted leftists.
“Love the people”: what is the people and why should I love it? That’s what I ask myself since in these modern times love of one’s neighbor has become a two-edged sword. Maybe saying it just has two edges is an understatement. Where am I going with this? That the modern human in his daily life is bombarded, either subtly or not-so-subtly, with diatribes on how he should love his neighbor, that child of God who is equal to him. That his neighbor deserves love, tolerance, respect, and understanding. Why is he my neighbor? Why should I feel some affinity to my “neighbor” if we have distinct interests? This is where I ask myself: Why should I love you? Why should I love my neighbor, if I feel no bond to him?
I recall here that which concerns Schopenhauer and me, which is: How does one achieve happiness through loving another being? I recognize that the goal of love is not totally the same in Schopenhauer’s and my conception. For me, love of one’s neighbor, besides being a multi-edged sword, also possesses many interests and ends. Which are these?
The answers at the heart of the question are numerous and are determined by the interest of the subject who is reflecting on the theme. For me and my interests this is a motive for the modern human loves his neighbor, and not only that, but to seek the diverse social contexts in which this love can develop. In essence, the interest in loving one’s neighbor and to show it is found in the quest for social recognition that is proper to the modern human. (b)
It is for this reason that the neighbor becomes in an objective, since the modern human pursues social recognition to show his love for that being named “neighbor,” even though it is essence unknown to him. Acts of altruism which issue forth from various media, principally digital ones, make so that humans feel empathy and a bond to those who realize the altruistic act, even if they are charitable acts toward animals. They even end up feeling empathy to what they have come to understand as “nature.”
This apparently innocent, loving, and charitable sentimentalism toward persons, animals, and plants is nothing more than a fallacy. It is a lie through which modern humans act in an insatiable search for social recognition; a desire and quest that in most instances is invisible to the hyper-civilized. The act by which a good-hearted subject feeds a homeless person with a pizza, or gives a dying puppy something to drink, or gives water to a plant about to dry out, signifies nothing; it changes nothing, the world will continue on its course toward the precipice, a course that is guided and impelled by humans. Why does the modern human do it then? They excuse themselves saying that this action changes the world of the person acted upon, which for me is dumb and false.
Whoever receives the noble action, or better said, the “loving” action continues to inhabit a social context. Thus the homeless person keeps living within the society that lacks employment possibilities, the puppy and the plant continue to find themselves in a poisoned world where sooner or later human activity will destroy them. The act of love excused in empathy and altruism is the most false act that one can commit.
Their loving altruism is dripping in the search for social recognition, even if they deny it. The desire to achieve social recognition is even hidden from human consciousness at times. As I wrote at the beginning, human life is controlled: he who thinks himself free is blind! The discourse that takes form through publicity plays a very important role in the control of the hyper-civilized each time he kneels to it, always in an imperceptible manner.
I will stop here for now. I know that this text isn’t more than a brief introduction to a theme with many facets such as love. This is always controversial, and I hope that these texts that I have drafted will relate to each other and will be of interest to the tendency in general. I have aimed to write a brief but clear treatment of one aspect of the many potential formulations concerning love from my perspective as an eco-extremist.
Torreón, April 2017
(a) See Arthur Schopenhauer. Love, in Love, Women, and Death.
(b) For a better reference on this topic see the work that I wrote with Ozomatli for Revista Regresión: Huehuecoyotl, & Ozomatli. (2017, abril 4). “Algunas reflexiones sobre el actuar del humano moderno desde una perspectiva eco-extremista.” Regresión. Cuadernos contra el progreso tecnoindustrial, Number 7.