Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Unconditional Love - My Thoughts

A certain Reverand J Jones wrote a little thought provoking post about the subject of unconditional love.

I was going to leave a comment but got caught in that somewhat dangerous no man's land, the one where I'm never sure if I should comment or answer by way of a post.

At this stage, unless you're really quite stupid and think that I might stop the post in a sentence or two and point you in the direction of my comment on Java's blog, you'll have figured out that I'm going to do my own post.

I guess there are no clear answers, no rights and no wrongs to this issue. My view may be different to your's and your's may be different to her's.

But, I do believe in unconditional love. I believe that it exists and I believe that it can exist in all of us. I have a strong feeling that, were you to ask any parent about it, they'd agree with me.

Love can be conditional for sure, it depends on the specifics of the relationship. For example a person can cease to love a former partner, a friend or a particular snare drum. (unlikely I know) People fall out of love. Fact.

"Like" and "love" are two similar yet very different emotions and somewhere therein lies the key.

I reckon I'll always love my daughters, whatever they may do and however they may behave, but that doesn't mean I'll always like them. I think that love is a far more unconscious choice than like is, that we can grow to love a person if we like them first, as is often the case with a partner, but love can also begin of its own accord, without that like thing happening first.

When both of my girls were born I loved them immediately. I didn't know about their characters, I didn't know how they'd be as people, whether they'd be people I'd like, but those things didn't matter, I loved them from the word "push".

With friends and partners I've had to like them first in order to grow to love them. It's a different type of love, one that can die as well as exist. Java says in one of the comments that

"It’s a pretty subjective issue depending on one’s value systems and one’s logical processes."

and that's got to be true, but we all have a few unconditional love relationships with certain family members, it's just the way of the world, or of the mind, that we have differing boundaries. For example I might feel a sense of unconditional love towards my brothers, even if I might intensely dislike them at the same time. It's a concept that sits quite comfortably with me, though I happen to like both of the idiots in question.

But, another fellow, let's call him fellow B, might genuinely not love his brothers because they're arses of the highest order.

In the theoretical scenario where one of Java's dogs savagely mauled someone, I suspect Java would still love the dog, but would cease to like the beast. However perhaps Darwin, in the same position, would cease to love the dog. It's not often I get to talk about Darwin and the doggie position either. Then again, I wonder how Java would feel if said dog had savagely mauled Mervyn Silva. It wouldn't be as straightforward then would it?

So, after a bit of consideration my conclusion is this:

Unconditional love exists, but varies from person to person.

Conditional love also exists and it's as subjective as the other type.

Like is a very different, but similar thing.

All like is conditional, there's no such thing as unconditional like.

Why do you think there are no songs called "Unconditional Like"?

Thanks to JJ for the thought provoking post. There's another post / response to it by metheblogger here.


Java Jones said...

Hey RD - can't say I agree with your view that "unconditional love exists, but varies from person to person", as the term 'unconditional' would leave no room for 'variation' (just ask Darwin!). What I meant by "it’s a pretty subjective issue depending on one’s value systems and one’s logical processes" when I responded to Darwin, was that folk would respond to the term depending on their particular value system, etc., as you did. However, in the end ‘unconditional’, as I indicated earlier, leaves no room for ambiguity. In my view it implies an unaltered state of ‘love’, leaving no room for ‘dislike’ or any of those other emotional responses to actions of the one being loved. It’s a pretty heavy state of mind and being to be sure!

And as for how I would feel if my dogs mauled Vermin – I would probably love them even more (unconditionally) – if that is possible!!

Cheers buddy!

Indyana said...

I guess by unconditional love, it would involve continuing to have any varying amt or degree of love,for someone despite what happens between you, or despite how we change, or despite each others faults.In that case, I guess only the parent child rship would fit the bill! All others could die out! Friendships are based more on 'like' IMHO.I'm not sure if I'm putting this across clearly, but well I tried.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Morning Java - I think I may have failed to explain my thinking there. When I said that unconditional love varies from person to person I didn't mean that the love might vary, more that each individual's judgement of when their love is unconditional would vary.

For example, one of my best friends hates his Father. I struggle to understand his hatred but have come to realise that it's genuine. The father concerned is no saint and, were he mine, I'd dislike him immensely.

I'd still love him though, whereas I can say with conviction that my friend doesn't love his Dad. That's all I meant; that who we give unconditional love to varies from one to another, not that the unconditional love differs from person to person.

I hope that makes it clearer, not sure if you agree, but it's a mightily interesting topic.

Java Jones said...

I'm not sure that one can dislike someone and also love that person at the same time. Maybe it's the word 'love' that's confusing? I can understand someone saying "I know he's a right bastard, but I still love him", which should indicate that even though that someone knew the bad qualities of the person, he/she would not 'dislike' the person involved, but the love would be unaltered.

Another thing - you don't "give" unconditional love. It just "is".

Keep pondering!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

JJ - I guess that's where my thinking comes into play, about things varying form person to person. I can definitley dislike someone yet love them at the same time, but respect your opinion that you're not sure about it!

Fair point about the giving of ul though.

Pondering aplenty shall be done here.

Anonymous said...

Love the new header!!! How did you get it done? :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anon - Thank you. It was one of these highly talented art types, a friend of a friend, who did it for me. I'm very grateful to her.

PseudoRandom said...

I would imagine that the potential for unconditional love only exists between parent and child, or between siblings...although it's not always realised (see your own comment about your friend and his father). With all other relationships, 'unconditional love' just seems like a buzzword that sounds good in a pop song.

When I saw the title of this post, the story that came to mind was a complex one. I'm guessing you're familiar with the murder of Rhys Jones in Liverpool? The murderer's mother lied to protect him, and now she's got a 3yr jail sentence. I think what she did was awful in the grand scheme of things, but it is a twisted example of unconditional love, isn't it?

P.S. - love the header too!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Pseudo - I agree, perhaps the whole blood being thicker than water thing is relevant here too.

Thank you, I think the new header could be the best thing since the sliced wheel!

kalusudda said...

What a nice conversation! Yes I have to pull back my unconditional love comment left of JJ's blog. Because my unconditional love to my Mom is based on the condition that she is my Mom!
But I am totally in love with your new found love, NB!

SpectralCentroid said...

If you look at all kinds of relationships from a very generic point of view, the surest kind of unconditional love comes from dogs. I say that in all seriousness.

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