The word love conjures up a myriad of complex feelings. This is compounded by the many varieties of love as mentioned in the previous article. But let’s concentrate on the love that confuses, bemuses and defuses the most: love for a partner.
Most kinds of love are largely understandable, for example: love for a pet. However love for a partner has baffled us since it began (and that is another story which we will leave aside for later), baffled and fascinated in equal measure.
In English there exists the term to fall in love (I’m unsure about other languages, but I guess there is generally some equivalent phrase), but how do we fall? And when are we in love? Is it a reciprocated emotion? Is love mutual (as suggested in a comment in the previous article)? And there is also the term true love. Does this infer that there is also a false love?
As usual I have more questions than answers, so let’s just investigate as logically as is possible and see where it gets us.
You’re the only one for me! Our destiny has arrived when we meet our one perfect partner. So there’s only one? Only one person on the planet with whom it is possible to fall in love. It’s obviously nonsense.
For argument’s sake let’s consider a heterosexual scenario. A male is looking for a partner. There are 3.5 billion females on the planet. Even subtracting those unavailable it would still leave a huge number. And this is just a snapshot in time. Perhaps this male’s ideal partner is now too young, but in 10 years’ time may develop into the ideal partner. If there is only one partner with whom to fall in love then the chances of finding them are practically non-existent.
But many people do fall in love, so it follows that we can fall in love with more than one person, not just two or three, but hundreds, possibly thousands. Thus it is possible to find an ideal partner, but when there are multiple ideal partners it starts to become clear why love causes so many problems.
Among the current trend for lists are endless lists of the types of love. Some lists have 4 types, maybe 6, or 7, or more, and some appear to be based on a number of old Greek words. The one thing these lists have in common is that they try to classify the different kinds of love according to the emotion and commitment involved. However I prefer to classify these loves according to what is loved. Here goes.
- love for god
- love for spouse
- love for family & relatives
- love for a friend
- love for a pet
- love for music, art, literature, food
- love for a sportsteam
And there are surely more. In some cases love can be substituted by a synonym, for example love could be viewed as passion (possibly as love for art), affection (love for a pet), fanaticism (love for a sportsteam), infatuation (love for a partner), devotion (love for god), and many more. That there are different kinds of love would seem to be inescapable (perhaps languages other than English better deal with these differences). Admittedly there is a kind of common denominator, and the word love does conjure up an idea of a deep and positive emotion, which has the power to raise people, but also has the power to cloud judgment. This can’t be more true than the so-called romantic love, which never stops to fascinate. TBC
The right to take a life is something I’ve wrestled with since childhood. Some of the issues are included in the previous article, and this is a continuation.
Many years ago I met a high-ranking UK politician, the top legal adviser to the then Prime Minister. He had been a barrister and a judge, and had been involved in some trials when the death penalty had been passed (the last UK executions being in 1964). He talked about the atmosphere in the courtroom at the moment of sentencing, and the horrific emotion that welled within him and others present. From a humanitarian standpoint he told me he had concluded that the death penalty was simply wrong. And this came from a legal mind.
However a few decades later he had changed his mind, and was part of a pro capital punishment movement. One can only speculate why, presumably age had blunted his emotions and he now viewed the issue more coldly. If an eminent lawlord can change his mind it underlines the dilemma for the rest of us.
So where does that leave us? Where we started? Not quite. I guess it all goes to show that we should follow both our head and our heart.
For what it’s worth I’ve finally come to my own conclusion. I would support capital punishment, but with some caveats: firstly it would be only for the most evil of crimes, eg mass murder, and secondly there can be no doubt as to the perpetrator. Of course there must be a fair trial, and a mandatory appeal.
In addition I would respect others’ views and not be too proud to never change my mind.
There is no gray area with the Death Penalty. Death or life. Nothing in-between. After decades of thought I am yet to reach a decision as to how I feel about capital punishment.
Does society have the right to take the life of a fellow human? Or are some acts so evil that death for the perpetrator is just? This is the nub of the issue, but deeper consideration only makes the dilemma more complicated.
- There is the question of what offenses should warrant the death penalty.
- The chances are that, over time, innocent persons are mistakenly executed.
- More chillingly there is also the possibility of innocent persons being deliberately executed.
- It takes a great deal of tax-payers’ money to keep a prisoner for life, money which could well be spent on keeping other people alive.
- Without the death penalty would the deterrent for serious crime be eroded?
- In the case of murderous dictators, for example, would it not be preferable to execute them, rather than leave the possibility open for their influence to remain and fester, perhaps causing more hardship and death.
- What about euthanasia?
Is there any evidence to suggest that countries with the death penalty experience less serious crime than those with? Sadly there appears to be no compelling evidence either way, there are too many other factors involved. However it could perhaps be argued that countries without the death penalty do not experience significantly higher rates of serious crime.
Praying for something is fruitless, as detailed in the previous article.
So, why pray? Is prayer useless? No, of course not.
Is prayer bad? No, of course not.
Let me backtrack a little. Prayer is fruitless if one ‘prays for’ something. It’s impossible for me to do statistical research, but experience tells me that much prayer includes some kind of request from god. Praying for success, praying for victory, praying for future happiness, praying for good health, praying for more money, praying for a miracle, all these are not going to work. If it happens to come true then it is merely that, a happening, a coincidental happening. It simply doesn’t happen frequently enough for the power of prayer to be proven.
Prayer is used incorrectly by too many. Doesn’t it soon become obvious that ‘praying for’ something is not the function of prayer. In fact it seems a rather selfish act. It is as though prayer has been hijacked into a parallel use, for which it was never intended.
Prayer is a conversation with god. It is a private refuge where one can be at peace with a listener who will never go away. During the prayer one feels a certain ease, a peacefulness, and often the way forward becomes that little bit clearer. One can more easily and readily acknowledge one’s own weaknesses, one can better appreciate the people and things that really matter in life, one can put life into perspective.
Praying is not to pray for, but to pray with.