6.16.2006

exclusion

Beauty involves exclusion, as does love. we cannot love everyone, because if we say we love everyone, we love no-one. we can act lovingly towards everyone we meet, but we can't empty ourself to everyone we meet. Only God can do that. but to say one thing is beautiful is to say that another is not.

8 comments:

Simply Victoria said...

just as pain helps us appreciate joy.
do you really believe you can't love everyone?

Gabe said...

But everythng is beautiful, because God created it. Not only did He create it but He created it out of Love. Just as He created me out of Love for me. If I am called to be like Christ, how can I not strive to love everyone?!

cathedral dweller said...

Beware of making necessary dichotomies... eg.) if something is x then something is not x. Or in this case - if somethings are beautiful, that means there are somethings that are not. This works in logic but I'm not so sure it really works in the spiritual life.

You said that love necessarily involves exclusion. To love one thing mean you DO NOT love another ... you can only love one thing. If you love everything, you love nothing.

I'm sure about this either. I was thinking about exactly this thing the other day. On a certain level it's correct - if one does not learn to love one particular being then the love of many beings is impossible. I think that's true.

I hope you've read Buber's "I and Thou" because it is phenomenal. I should really read it again but what I took away from it is that to love one particular being in it's totality by receiving it as a Thou is the beginning of the love of all things. A thing does not exist in isolation ... nothing exists in isolation ... every being is it's own particular and discreet being, naturally good (in the sense of Maximus the Confessor) in its created particularity and yet completely interpenetrated and made intelligible by all that surrounds it. A being is always shot through with everything that surrounds it, to deny this reality is to desire hell.

So what am I saying; because a particular is wedded to all that is around it by virtue of the interpenetration of all beings, one can say that a particular is a universal because it both carries and is carried by the world around it - a kind of being as communion. To begin to truly love one thing is to love and communion with that particular being in its fulness but it is also the beginning of a communion with all beings because the totality of being rests and moves in all particular beings in the communion of being - ei. love. All this is to say that any moment can be sacramental moment in which the created being meets and encounters the glory of God.

I once read an introductory chapter to a book about contemporary Greek monastic elders. The introduction contended that monks leave the world to love it, to love the entire world, and in so doing become a "catholic person," a universal person, a particular person who by the grace of God has united the whole of reality within himself. He is filled with love for a all and especially for his enemies. St. Silouan says:

"The soul cannot know peace unless she prays for her enemies. The soul that has learned of God's grace to pray, feels love and compassion for every created thing, and in particular for mankind, for whom the Lord suffered on the Cross, and His soul was heavy for every one of us."

"The Lord taught me to love my enemies. Without the grace of God we cannot love our enemies. Only the Holy Spirit teaches love, and then even devils arouse our pity because they have fallen from good, and lost humility in God."



I remember when Cheryl and I got married and when she walked down the isle all I could see was her - not her dad who was walking right beside her, not anybody else. And yet these others were not forgotten, unloved or diminished.

I guess that all this is to say that to love one thing does not necessarily mean that something else is not loved or to say that one thing is beautiful does not mean that another thing is not beautiful.

Another longwinded and unedited post by cathedraldweller.

biss said...

Is love "emptying"?

I love you, but when I love you best I feel really filled, as if love has pored in--it's resevoir-like.

RW said...

hmm. when we love as in the laying down of ourselves it is not a pleasant feeling... we love despite ourselves...

the love for the other - sacrificing our own will for the sake of the other... this is the challenge for me. I don't feel especially wonderful at the time... but after the fact I can see that God is working on my own self centredness...

in my marriage to Thomas there is me - there is Thomas and there is God.... three strands woven - braided together - we are being woven and squeezed - this is the deification process - it is not pleasant... in fact it is down right painful and difficult...

Paul said...

"but we can't empty ourself to everyone we meet. Only God can do that."

I think it is God's intention to accomplish this using you. (And me and he and she and we and thee and they and it.)

I think the emptying feeling is part of the process of realizing that when we try to do things, we fail. I mean because in trying there seems to imply a kind of self-awareness, even a secret desire to fail. I know that loving everything fully is impossible, which means I can't do it, but I'll try anyway. But if I don't worry about what's possible or impossible, I don't have to try to love everyone, I just do it. Just like chewing.

If someone wants to test this theory, be my guest and let me know how it works out.

churchmouse said...

I don't think it is a good idea (or true) to apply the principle of scarcity to Virtues such as Beauty and Love.

There is no scarcity in the Kingdom of God!

I refer to Father Lawrence's example of "Love is not a pie." When your love for the Mother of God increases, that does NOT mean you are giving her a bigger piece of the pie, and therefore Christ gets a smaller piece. Love is not a pie.

Nor is beauty. To love one particular being is to increase your capacity for love, and therefore to also love more, love other beings, and to love other beings more, and thus to love that first being more.

To see beauty in a being, and to dwell on it, to rejoice in it, is to increase one's capacity for seeing beauty elsewhere, is to increase one's capacity for recognizing Beauty wherever it dwells.

The only "beauty" and "love" that involve exclusion are those paltry counterfeits of Love and Beauty that are manifested in our fallen, damaged, spiritually impoverished, scarcity-ridden human cultures and societies. I.e. The World.

Another way to say it is that beauty and love only involve exclusion insofar as we are sinful, not in their essence, truth, reality.

This comment was inspired by and builds upon your post and all the other wonderful comments made in response. :)

thomasw said...

so pasivirta.baby you will return from your major-motion hike and read through all these comments and rebuttals and come to the view, "ah shucks, I was wrong." But then I want you to remember that you are still a dude to me in spite of the heresy you proclaim about beauty and love! hehehe :))