We’ll continue our investigation into the foundational beliefs of what’s today called “the New Age” and inspecting their philosophical and practical validity. As I’ve said in both part 1 and part 2, this is primarily about our definitions of words. Faulty definitions can cause confusion and ultimately sabotage our growth. Love being the central organizing principal and highest power in the universe is one idea worthy of investigation.
When in Secondary School I was classed with rougher and more delinquent types. An arrangement that had it’s pros and cons. I found myself talking with one of them during metalworks class, as such classes allowed us to do. Responding to one thing or another, I made the statement “that’s not very fair” to which this teen philosopher responded “who says life is fair?” I had the unusual sensation that he was both right and wrong at the same time. Not being sure why, I didn’t try to answer the question.
Years later I discovered precisely how my wise classmate was both wrong and right – no, the world is clearly not fair by our standards. It can be quite cold, ruthless, uncaring, and violent. Nature and providence can short change you. However, there is a measurable balance in all things that hold the physical and metaphysical worlds in equilibrium. In terms of consciousness, we don’t experience that as fairness and justice by nature – it is we as conscious beings who are fair. We’re all judges and arbitrators of fairness, protecting the vulnerable and hard-done-by. If another creature is being treated wrongly, if Nature is being wantonly destroyed, or if a person isn’t receiving their due, we rectify that situation. Not only are we duty bound to do so, but electing to do so plugs us into an invisible powersource – a higher power seems to have our backs.
There are numerous central archetypes of Human consciousness which appear to transcend us as individuals and as a species. They drive us to accomplish things beyond our basic needs and desires and appear to be encoded into the universe itself, like the Fibonacci Sequence – expressing itself mathematically, on the cellular level, energetically, in plants, all the way up to the stars and planets, and perhaps beyond. We call this The Implicate Order, and Justice or Fairness is a part of that.
The New Age, whether they’re aware of this or not, are claiming that all of these archetypes are merely components of an ultimate archetype called Love. Aware of this or not, they’re staking the same claim monotheists make. All monotheistic (one God) religions in the world today came from polytheistic (many Gods) religions. Jehovah/Allah were chosen from a pantheon of equally powerful Gods, and all other Gods became aspects of Jehovah/Allah. In India sects of Hindus argue over the supremacy of either Vishnu, Krishna, Shiva, or any one of the millions of Gods in their pantheon. When Christianity spread in Europe and South America, the old Gods of those lands became Saints, Angels, or even just cute proto-Christ myths. It’s arguably a mental and spiritual virus to want to isolate one aspect of reality and exalt it above all-else. It ultimately suggests there is one path to travel, one heaven, only one thing to completely trust, yet we know by observing the rest of reality that there is no such thing as “one” – no object out there of which there is only one instance of. What happens when we insist that one tool out of our massive toolbox is supremely important? Could we find ourselves hammering in a nail with the wrench? Would be end up breaking both the nail and the wrench?
The argument for Love being the supreme organizing principal is that it’s present in everything. When Justice/Fairness is being practiced, it is an expression of Love because the universal force is bringing Justice to the world out of Love for its creation. It’s equally clear that Justice is also present in everything – not only is it a Human idea of fair treatment, it’s the law of balance which holds our bodies together, the planet together, our minds together. It’s Nature’s principal of having everything in the right amount and right order so physicality can function. It’s even present in energy/Spirit as it balances Love. Love and imbalance cannot occupy the same space. There can neither be too much or too little Love, there can only be Love. To give of yourself too freely to the point of self-harm is not Love, but the Shadow aspect of Love. Life cannot be lived to its fullest if our focus is entirely on one of the many aspects of consciousness. In other words, balance.
All of this wouldn’t really matter if I didn’t have an alternative to suggest. “Love” as the centrally organizing principal of consciousness is about 50% right. The other 50% comes down to the etymology and our preconceptions of the word itself. “Love” is a strictly European word which has no direct translation in other language groups. When we translate words we’re simply finding comparable words in the other language. Words are cultural, and for we Europeans “love” has always meant “joy, praise, and sexual attraction.” It never contained any mystical significance except the Christian concept of “love of God”, as in you love God. Its association with some great force at the center of God or Human consciousness is no more than 100 years old. Why does that matter? It matters because there is a better word out there, forgotten by the average person:
CARE, seems innocuous as a word since we use it to describe something a nurse does for the sick and elderly or for when we “care about the environment” or “care about a person.” Because of our recent European fascination with Romance, those statements aren’t as powerful as “loving the environment” or “loving a person.” Care, instead, runs deeper, and isn’t always as hotblooded as “love”. It can be present without melding into or even supporting a person or thing. The Celtic word root itself gives us our names for Priest and Church, as the concept of Care was a deeply spiritual state and activity for our ancestors. They recognised each individual as a focal point of consciousness – the eyes, ears, and nerve-endings of the universe itself. On behalf of the universe we are appreciating the many expressions of itself. The Buddhists and early Hindus understood this also with their word which we translate as “compassion” – the feeling of, and being present for, the suffering of all life, which compels us as seekers to ease suffering as opposed to contributing to it. Com-Passion could be read as complete passion, an appreciation for a thing, person, or situation that permeates it entirely. Care and Compassion always involves Justice, as we weigh out what is healthiest for ourselves and the other, how much we should involve ourselves and give love. We decide whether we have a right to intervene or whether doing so will harm us. We decide whether our energy should be spent feeding 3rd world children and ending wars or if we could aid those situations more efficiently by working on ourselves and loving our immediate neighbours. We decide whether a hostile person would benefit more from being lovingly beaten or whether we would benefit more from being beaten. Sometimes Care can involve hostility, as we sometimes have to decide to use violence to protect our own life, the life of another, or Nature. Today, we pray in thanks to God for giving us our food, while in the past we prayed in thanks to the creature that gave its life for our sustenance. There are many acts which can involve Care and Compassion which we would say there is no Love in – simply because of the word’s definition. Clearly the word is insufficient.
If someone were to argue my position, I’d suggest there’s something insincere about their motives. They should ask themselves if their attachment to the word “Love” is really out of a desire to be understood by others, or whether it’s out of laziness and convenience. Keep using the word “Love” and you will slow your own spiritual progress and contribute to the slowing of those around you. Scratch beneath the surface.