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Valentines Day: Celebrating the True Meaning of Love

February 14, 2010

“To say ‘I love you,’ one must know first how to say the ‘I.'”

Love is selfish...

Love is selfish...

Religions and orthodox beliefs regard Valentines Day as a symbol of man’s weakness and crime. William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet unravels a story of two young lovers whose death epitomizes a so-called “true meaning of love.” For most uncivilized societies in the past, to love is to ‘commit a crime.’ The uncivilized people regard love as nothing but a vicious effect of our sexual impulse and earthly passion.

Today, most people celebrate love in a hippyish way. I’m sure that many anti-population cultists worry that this day of the year might trigger the dreaded “population explosion.” If the religionists regard sex as immoral and against the sacred will of God, the anti-population advocates consider it a threat to the survival of mankind. “There are too many people in the world today,” they complain, so they ask the government to control and manage population. It is not surprising that most babies are born in the month of September or October. So according to grotesque conventional wisdom, ‘sex’ is a contemptible act not only for religionists but for most secular mystics as well. But those who regard sex as “evil” and “immoral” are simply hypocrites. Just look at the disgusting cases of some pedophile Catholic priests who ‘allegedly’ abused kids. Now this is the most immoral and the most evil crime a person could ever commit. This is perhaps the reason why most religionists and altruist mystics view sexual act as immoral.

This Valentines Day it is important for us to celebrate the true essence of love. Love is an expression of “I”, of one self. For the religionists, it is God who symbolizes love. No, he’s the source of all love. Love is sacrifice the Bible preaches. The most famous biblical meaning of love can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things.” The Bible preaches that we should love one another. But to love one another is to do the impossible. If we are asked to love everybody, then we are asked not to love at all, because to love means to value.

For how can you love someone without any value? How can you love someone who does not know how to value his/her life? Like a commodity, love also has its own currency. If everybody is condemned by a supernatural being to love everybody, then everybody is asked to love no one. This is because before you can love your neighbor, you must love yourself first. One of my favorite lines from my favorite book The Fountainhead gives the true meaning of love. It says:

“To say ‘I love you,’ one must know first how to say the ‘I.'”

Ayn Rand, the greatest philosopher after Aristotle, defined love according to the nature of man. Love is selfish, Ayn Rand, said. She said that “to love is to value.” This is because “only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love—because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.”

Ayn Rand once wrote:

To love is to value. The man who tells you that it is possible to value without values, to love those whom you appraise as worthless, is the man who tells you that it is possible to grow rich by consuming without producing and that paper money is as valuable as gold . . . . When it comes to love, the highest of emotions, you permit them to shriek at you accusingly that you are a moral delinquent if you’re incapable of feeling causeless love. When a man feels fear without reason, you call him to the attention of a psychiatrist; you are not so careful to protect the meaning, the nature and the dignity of love.

Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another. Your morality demands that you divorce your love from values and hand it down to any vagrant, not as response to his worth, but as response to his need, not as reward, but as alms, not as a payment for virtues, but as a blank check on vices. Your morality tells you that the purpose of love is to set you free of the bonds of morality, that love is superior to moral judgment, that true love transcends, forgives and survives every manner of evil in its object, and the greater the love the greater the depravity it permits to the loved. To love a man for his virtues is paltry and human, it tells you; to love him for his flaws is divine. To love those who are worthy of it is self-interest; to love the unworthy is sacrifice. You owe your love to those who don’t deserve it, and the less they deserve it, the more love you owe them—the more loathsome the object, the nobler your love—the more unfastidious your love, the greater your virtue—and if you can bring your soul to the state of a dump heap that welcomes anything on equal terms, if you can cease to value moral values, you have achieved the state of moral perfection.

Gary Hull, of the Ayn Rand Institite, is right in saying that every Valentine’s Day a “certain philosophic crime is perpetrated.” Hull said, “Love, we are repeatedly taught, consists of self-sacrifice. Love based on self-interest, we are admonished, is cheap and sordid. True love, we are told, is altruistic. But is it? Imagine a Valentine’s Day card which takes this premise seriously. Imagine receiving a card with the following message: “I get no pleasure from your existence. I obtain no personal enjoyment from the way you look, dress, move, act or think. Our relationship profits me not. You satisfy no sexual, emotional or intellectual needs of mine. You’re a charity case, and I’m with you only out of pity. Love, XXX.”

So this Valentines Day why not ponder on the essence of love to our life?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. clay barham permalink
    February 14, 2010 3:38

    Howard Roark’s jury summation from Fountainhead best describes the kind of individual freedom and pebble dropping that reflects America, while John C Calhoun described the American governing system for the only nation on this planet that prospered because of individual freedom. It was opposite what Obama said, that community interests are more important than are individual interests and what amounts to his promise to sink America, as cited in The Changing Face of Democrats on Amazon and claysamerica.com.

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  3. Selfishness Vs. Self Esteem

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