Is it possible to find anyone today who is audacious (or naïve) enough to envision an actual movement of peoples, according to a scheme of practical love? Our world has always been a dog-eat-dog environment. Human beings have emerged from a harsh state of nature where species compete for survival, and even among our human species, we have learned to coagulate into interest groups in competition against one another. This is the underlying source of all discrimination, of all “inhumanity.” Human separations and conflicts have always sprung from our survivalist instinct, and the “alien” nature of any practical scheme of love will certainly find immediate resistance by our survivalist impulse, making it almost laughable.
So this is the immediate attitude such an impossible movement will face, on its face.
Now if all there was to our human species is our physical natures, I suppose the case would be closed as soon as it was foolishly opened, but as I have begun to unwrap in my previous blogs (i.e., “Life of the World” and “Love is Scarce?”) there is another and equally valid dimension of human experience—a spiritual dimension where love is as endemic as competition is ubiquitous on this physical plane. And this fact makes all the difference.
So what might a practical scheme of love look like? The first thing we need to clarify is the nature of love itself:
The essential characteristic of love is self-giving or serving, and not necessarily the touchy-feely sentiment. Interestingly, this is the polar opposite of self-interest or selfishness, the natural attitude which underpins our human, survivalist instinct. And for sure, in an environment where resources is scarce, human nature will invariably revert to its survivalist foundation. Survival is, after all, the first and foremost mandate. For if no one survived in this world, in whom might love manifest? So it would seem that the first and operational condition for any realistic or practical scheme of love is an environment in which everyone’s survival needs are stably met.
Now since we all know that this social condition is nowhere to be found on our earth today, have our silly thought experiment come to its swift and obvious end? Neither of the two competing world systems of our times, communism or capitalism, offer people an assured sense of survival. For people in the communist system are too worried about its untenability and looming collapse, while people in the capitalist system, no matter how much wealth they accumulate, are always in fear of loosing their money. How therefore can people, in mass, be convinced to give of themselves and serve one another when they themselves do not feel secure in their own survival?
Christianity seems to have taken up this gauntlet in challenging humanity to practical love with its call for faith. “While you might not obviously see the benefits of giving,” it preaches, “give still.” And what’s more, it challenges people to give not for other tangible benefits such as social status or ego credit, which might ultimately convey other materialistic returns to the “investor.” It downplays the gesture of those who “give out of their abundance” by celebrating the widow who gave “out of her need,” and it even challenges people to “give in secret” (Mark 12: 41-44 and Matthew 6:4). Clearly this line of reasoning relies on trust in another and hidden “economy” of reality. Jesus seems to be suggesting that there is a spiritual realm and system which is so hard to perceive by human beings that it requires faith. Faith then is the means through which human beings can transcend their survivalist instinct to establish a practical movement of Love on this earth.
So what am I saying, in the end? In proposing that we citizens of America embark upon some brazenly idealistic, practical scheme of love, am I only ultimately calling for a mass, Christian movement? I’m not prepared to say so, actually. Why? Because I feel that the traditional and historical “Christian” phenomena contains social aspects which I feel are not only unproven, but which are deeply steeped in many of the more negative expressions of our survivalist nature itself. Let me elaborate on two of the biggest examples:
Perhaps one of the greatest superfluities of Christianity is its prudish take on human sexuality. Monogamy is not only not natural, but it is even not necessarily spiritual. For while human love certainly can take on a monogamous expression, it can also be polyamorous–and just as spiritual as such. What is more spiritual than to love as the Creator loves? And must the Creator have a mate, or does It perhaps love all peoples? Why then can’t one individual human being love multiple others, from a spiritual point of view—even up to and including sexual expression?
Maybe the exception of demanding a monogamous love among human beings is due to dynamics attached to our physicality. If we consider the issue closely, it seems that monogamy is demanded mainly for social stability. The cultural expectation of romantic exclusivity seems to be a convenient way to avoid the negative and ultimately socially disruptive emotions of jealousy and even possessiveness, particularly the violence they may entail. But should a spiritual system bow to the power of negative human emotions, or shouldn’t it attempt to transcend even these?
Perhaps, secondarily, romantic exclusivity can make the family unit simpler and easier to maintain. Children can have a single and stable set of parents, and the family can more easily maintain economic integrity—all towards the conservation of this most basic, social unit. Fair enough. But even if society prefers the biological family as its foundation, cannot the adult partners (even if parents) also encounter other adult partners romantically? Such radical expression can only occur if society challenges itself in encouraging the fullest expression of human sexuality and the complete possibilities of spiritual love.
This variety of human expression can be a bold challenge to partners to enter into the very deepest possibilities of relationship due to the radical openness and trust it demands. The self learning and spiritual growth deriving from such an expression can be profound, and only the most fortified couples should approach it. Unlike those who might foolishly attempt to experiment with this expression out of mere and shallow, sexual indulgence (and therefore should never have married, or should divorce if one or the other wishes to resume indulgence in sexual variety and the relationship is incapable of this accommodation).
I mention this most extreme expression of love in order to drive home how socially radical is this new awakening that I am proposing, and certainly this level of maturity will not even be remotely expected for participation in the movement. I for one do not presently engage in this expression, offering its example only in illustration of the profound level of open-mindedness and social courage which must be possessed by any who would so radically challenge themselves. And while I am also fully aware that my merely mentioning such a radical example will immediately place a social stigma on myself in the eyes of those who cower in traditionalism, I do appreciate how my own courage in so standing out should appropriately set the example as herald for a bold, new society. Etcetera, etcetera.
So couldn’t we mature to such a level of acceptance? Or is humanity ultimately and totally incapable of finding a successful and adequate expression of its fullest dynamics?
This same kind of reasoning, by the way, applies to the varieties of human sexuality. For why cannot any mature and consenting adult love any other mature and consenting adult? Why must love have artificial boundaries? I frankly believe that our society has reached a point where the fullest dynamics of human sexuality can be successfully expressed, and I even feel that such a more open acceptance of complete human expression can foster greater spirituality itself.
Another archaic demand of traditional Christianity is its insistence on doctrine. Why must everyone believe in certain truths? This aspect of Christianity relates to the shameful hypocrisy of “religion” in general. Traditional religion can become so absurd that it can direct people to kill in the name of God, murder in the name of love. So if our society will move on from this antiquated momentum of intolerance, it will also have to accept and encourage ideological diversity. Diversity of ideas, beliefs, and theologies even. Why can’t human society mature to this level?
Intolerance, by the way, is ultimately steeped in our more primitive, survivalist instinct again. For when our society was in a closer struggle for survival against nature, allowing homosexual expressions of human sexuality, for example, seemed obviously dangerous when it would lead to a reduction in child bearing, seen as absolutely critical for species survival. But when our society has progressed to a level of general affluence, human nature naturally craves full expression, and there is nothing spiritually wrong with this liberating impulse. Even ideological intolerance has a more primitive origin, in that when society again more desperately vied against nature for survival, too much social variety was seen as dangerous in hampering the cohesion necessary for the struggle of the species.
Yet even as society developed to a degree of greater affluence and success against nature, darker or lesser souls sitting often in places of power (as described in my previous blog “Love is Scarce?”) used our human impulse of intolerance to pit social groups against one another, in order to maintain their class dominance (old money and ancient power-structured groups). This is the main vein of the general human struggle for social justice today, and one group-consciousness exists today which might pose the most stubborn resistance to social democratization in America and Europe (as exemplified in Brexit and Trump)–those who still adhere to the concept of white dominance. I don’t think our world has seen the end of white supremacy, but eventually, I feel that all social groups will inevitably see the greater benefits of accepting the idea of one humanity.
If in nature, species diversity and diversity of ecosystems result in a great and splendid display of life, why can’t such a similar display of “creative expression” happen among the human species, socially? For we are just as spiritual as we are evolutionary beings. Nor am I suggesting that the traditional or even orthodox Christian expression be rejected or discriminated against in any way, as an aspect of our new awakening. If Christians feel that they are in possession of the truth, the way, and the life–lets call it, after Jesus’ words– then a new system of human expression that excludes them would be gravely detrimental to society. So I say let the Embrace of Diversity demanded of this new social expression accept all human varieties, including the traditional religious–if they are capable of such tolerance, that is. We should never get to a point where we close our minds off from any variety that claims rationality (seriousness) and does not itself discriminate or harm any other.
So might our new society allow not only sexual variety, but varieties of ideas and world views and systems– all alongside one another in a splendid show of human colorfulness!
I suppose you are now beginning to see what a mass and practical scheme of love can look like, without the many handicaps of tradition, or the (spiritually cowardly) fear that humanity cannot openly and rationally deal with its own complexities. Succinctly put, this movement would call humanity to live to its fullest expression. It will challenge human beings to foremost believe that they can, but then to boldly proceed in working out a complete and TOTAL expression of human richness.
So heck yea this vision is bold, and courageous to the point of madness, some might accuse! But I say why not? If by living as we are right now, we are in real danger of annihilating our species off the very face of this blue-green earth, then why not take the plunge in fully believing in and gambling on ourselves as human beings? If even for once in our so far desperate, cosmic existence?
This is the spirit of the movement I am envisioning under the title CITIZENS ACTIVATED, and I am hoping to start its first branch, right here in Deltona, Florida. This will be a FULLY HUMAN movement, a movement of PRACTICAL LOVE, and a movement for REVITALIZING AMERICA and our world. We shall be a new society of all these things, while we are also PLUGGED INTO THE REAL ISSUES OF OUR MUNICIPALITY in our role as FULLY MATURE CITIZENS.
For sure, the details of this new, social expression, such as how to serve one another in the face of those who might come only to be served, or how to successfully express our full and human dynamics without plunging into conflict and chaos–these particulars will have to be worked out democratically, where they will at the same time be tested. And if this movement takes shape beyond the vision of one man, we will also have to collectively face the backlash of the majority in our society who adhere to “traditional or religious” values, values which are ultimately steeped in a deep seated, self-hatred for human nature. But what a grand and bold experiment!
Let those who have the required BALLS or OVARIES take up the gauntlet with me…
New American Spring!
Embrace Diversity, and Come, Let us Reason Together…