The poets and philosophers have waxed on about the sublimity and ecstasy of love for centuries. Unfortunately many cry out “Oh love, sweet love why do you forsake me.” Others who may actually experience some love in their relationships look at the state of world affairs and conclude that life on earth is for the most part a loveless affair.
The song “Isn’t Life Strange” by the Moody Blues captures the beauty and heartbreak of love and life. The following verse is about heartache and hope. “Isn’t love strange. A word we arrange. With no thought or care. Maker of despair. Each breath that we breathe. With love we must weave. To make us as one.”
In the last verse of the song they sing “Isn’t life strange. A turn of the page. A book without light. Unless with love we write. To throw it away. To lose just a day. The quicksand of time. You know it makes me want to cry, cry, cry.”
Those are words of regret, despair and hope–yes hope–despite the fact that we are throwing our love away. We are sinking in the quicksand of disharmony and hate. Why is this tragedy occurring in the lives of so many? Where has the love gone? And is it possible to rediscover it?
Why love is performing a vanishing act
An individual’s sense of life determines whether he experiences a life of love and harmony. We are all human so even a person with a sense of life that corresponds to reality can suffer through short periods of disharmony and despair. However, the more an individual’s thoughts, feelings and actions correspond to reality–the greater love and harmony that person experiences.
There are basically 3 philosophies of life. They are:
1. Altruism (Selflessness)
2. Irrational Selfishness
3. Rational Selfishness (Rational Self-Interest)
Most people’s sense of life is a haphazard combination of the above, although a person usually has one that he favors and practices in the important areas of his life. Let’s discover which philosophy of life contains love’s secret hideaway.
Tragically the majority of people believe that altruism is a loving philosophy of giving and sharing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Webster’s definition of altruism is: selfless regard for the well-being of others. A rationally selfish individual can discover the main flaw of altruism in its definition. Altruism is a philosophy of selflessness–the sacrifice of the individual.
How is it possible that an individual who has repudiated the self has anything worthwhile to offer? A philosophy that sacrifices individuals for “the good of society” certainly isn’t a loving philosophy. Our system of big government interventionism is based on the anti-life philosophy of altruism. And what has this predatory system created? War, economic crisis, poverty, mass liberty violations, group warfare etc. Need I go on?
It is certain that love can’t grow from the muck of a cannibalistic system of selflessness and self-sacrifice. Altruism destroys. It destroys values–the values that are beautiful and sublime. All that remains is the blight of destruction. It hardens people’s hearts–shrinks their minds and burns out their spirit. They only thing they are left with is an irrational hatred for anything that is good and just. And sadly, they don’t even know why.
Individuals have their needs, desires and fantasies. Happiness depends on knowing what these are and satisfying them. Unfortunately, many want to possess them without giving anything in return. They have no desire to trade value for value–if there is an easier way to obtain what they want. They are irrationally selfish.
Another tragic aspect of our system of big government interventionism is that it fosters a something for nothing mentality. Why trade value for value when you can join a pressure group and live at the expense of others. Our democratic system has devolved into group warfare–every group and its members living at the expense of an opposition group. Political pull determines whether their needs and desires are satisfied. In the end the smallest minority of all, the individual, is rendered defenseless. Love can’t survive this kind of warfare.
Many have the same attitude in their personal relationships. For example in a sexual relationship it’s quite common for a man to desire to get off without concern for whether his lady receives pleasure or not. On the other hand some women place sex low on their value scale and seem unconcerned that her man might be suffering from extreme frustration.
Love doesn’t survive under just any condition. Even when individuals are attempting to trade value for value love might flee the scene because of certain incompatibilities between the parties involved. Sometimes negative outside influences cause love to vacate the premises. An attitude of irrational selfishness guarantees that love retreats to its secret hideaway.
An individual who believes in the power of reason–connects with his intuitive powers–and practices rational self-interest–may occasionally indulge in irrational selfishness. None of us is perfect. However, when a person makes irrational selfishness a way of life he is doomed to an unfulfilling, loveless life.
The rationally selfish individual desires to interact with his fellow humans by trading value for value. He prefers what Stephen Covey calls a “win-win” relationship. He respects the natural rights of others. He treats them as individuals he can trade value for value with. He respects an individual’s life, liberty and property. He knows that love doesn’t just refer to loving others–it also means loving your highest values and beliefs.
Selfishness is equated with taking advantage of your fellow man or woman. Some people consider “money the root of all evil.” Altruists take things out of context. The actual saying is “the love of money is the root of all evil.” although the cliché’ in its entirety is still open to critical examination. If altruists were logical they would clarify what type of selfishness they were talking about. Of course if they overtly indulged in logical reasoning they would lose the “privilege” of victimizing innocent people.
Rational selfishness is a value for value, win-win philosophy. An individual living for his own sake acquires high self-esteem and self-worth along the way. He possesses self-love and he loves life. He holds the key to love’s secret hideaway in his heart, mind and spirit. Love may occasionally slip away and become elusive in its hideaway–but the rationally selfish individual eventually discovers it. He transforms the burning fires of love into the warmth of personal fulfillment. Love nurtures his body, mind and spirit–and is his faithful companion.