Love is such a loaded subject. The word “love” in the English language is too broad. I believe that the Greeks had it right with their six words for love. When Campbell was asked where he would like to begin with this talk on love he replied with the Troubadors.
He explained that this is where we get our modern idea of love, this romantic love that goes beyond the eros, or sexual passion to something that encompasses philia, eros, and pragma. In that time, it was the custom to have arranged marriages. It was your duty to marry and procreate to continue our lineage. It was a true rebellious act to marry for personal reasons. Campbell suggests this is one of the things that have led Westerners to be more selfish in their thinking.
Another idea that I found interesting would be the story of Lucifer as God’s lover. Then the meaning of hell would be to be separated from God’s love or being separate from God himself. If you translate God into the “Force” or “Source” this would mean that being separate from that which you are.
We then turned our attention to the Goddess. I had two big take aways from this discussion. First, Goddess-focused societies were usually agricultural in nature while God-focused societies were typically hunter/gatherers. This was largely due to the type of lives they lived. Hunter/gatherer societies had to dominate the area causing a very “separate from you” mentality. Thus, the God created the Universe. Wherein agricultural societies, they had more time to see nature at work and worshiped the Goddess who is the Universe.
When looking back through the text for a quote I kept typing wrong, I found a bit that I either missed in the audio or that wasn’t there that brought me pause:
“ Hebrews were absolutely ruthless with respect to their neighbors. But this passage is an extreme statement of something that is inherent in most sociologically oriented mythologies. That is to say, love and compassion are reserved for the in-group, and aggression and abuse are projected outward on others. Compassion is to be reserved for members of your own group. The out-group is to be treated in a way described there in Deuteronomy. “
“Now, today there is no out-group anymore on the planet. And the problem of a modern religion is to have such compassion work for the whole of humanity. But then what happens to the aggression? This is a problem that the world is going to have to face — because aggression is a natural instinct just as much as, and more immediate than, compassion, and it is always going to be there. It’s a biological fact.”
Being a presidential year in the United States, I find this piece extremely relevant. As we become more of a global society, we are increasingly manufacturing the “out-group.” Yet, the more we know about that group, the more we understand where they are coming from. Many American’s would be shocked to know that we helped create I.S.I.L. in order to unbalance the Syrian and Iranian governments. Yet, when they came into a newly liberated Iraq and then started targeting the US and it’s allies we got hostile.
Even within our own county, politicians (and many other people) are trying to separate us into groups that hate one another, yet it is in our knowing that we are one, that any true change happens.
I pray for those who have no compassion and seek to bring peace wherever I can.