the lost man chronicles
book two: the art of love
A Look at LOVE — part two
BM: In New York now (1987) the debate is who can build the tallest building, not to praise, but to build the tallest building.
JC: Yeah, and they are magnificent…And this is a kind of architectural triumph. And what it is— is the statement of the City. "We are a financial power center. And look at what we can do." It is a kind of virtuosic acrobatic stunt.
BM: Will new myths come from there?
JC: Well, something might. You can't predict what a myth is going to be anymore than you can predict what you're going to dream tonight. Myths and dreams come from the same place. They come from realizations of some kind, that have to then find expression in symbolic form.
And the only myth that is gong to be worth thinking about in the immediate future is one that is talking about the planet. Not the City, not these people, but the planet and everybody on it.
…And what it will have to deal with, will be exactly what all myths deal with, and have dealt with—the maturation of the individual, the pedagogical way to follow from dependency, to adulthood, to maturing, and then the exit. And than to do it. And then how to relate to this society, and how to relate this society to the world of nature and the cosmos.
That's what the myths have all talked about, that's what this one's got to talk about.
~ The Power of the Myth, Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell
If we accept that buildings are metaphors for the metropolitan spirit of the day, then our ideals of love are even more metaphorical. And the idea that—out there, some where there awaits our ideal and destined "other" becomes all the more mythical as well.
For, now, as we look to the skyline and we no longer see our beloved buildings, so too in a way no longer stands the elusive "other." We must realize that we are now alone, a realization that will allow us to be one with the world again.
All this time love was evolving its other previous manifestations did not go away, they just retreated into the background. Thus, love of the divine, stately love, and love that is expendable, all still linger in one form or other, but we also now have the opportunity to see three other kinds of love that have long been neglected—Agape, Nirvana, and Eros. Loosely defined, these are the love of all others, love of one self, and the love of organic desire.
Agape, quite simply, is the love of all mankind, it is the sublime and unconditional giving of oneself for the benefit of others, which is quite often at the sacrifice of one's socially aspiring self. It is the essence of what is advocated by Christianity as based purely on the scriptures of Jesus Christ and devoid of all the tainting rituals and institutionalized devices of subordination.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. defined Agape as "an overflowing love 'which seeks nothing in return, it is the love of God operating in the human heart. On this level of love, man can love his enemies while yet hating their actions. 'It is a love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor.'"
Yet, Agape is not only an uninhibited love of everyone, but also the love of every living thing—what fashionably argued as The Gaia Hypothesis—the loving of the earth by believing it is a living organism itself, a holistic approach that proclaims that a common energy runs through us all and all that is organic—essentially advocating what goes around the world comes around and in and out through us—what one might call karma.
Over the last two years, Agape has manifested itself in our lives with a substantial rise in volunteerism, the uncommon kindness of city folk, and an increasingly in people finding satisfaction in the giving to others.
That said, although the widespread mantra has been that "we shall never forget" it seems as if people are already forgetting. Not necessarily the tragedy, but that which became of our potential to love one another and expand our consciousness. Perhaps, then these words can serve as a reminder that we are living during a period of great potential in which we can significantly grow our awareness and our benevolence, as well as our compassion.
the art of living the list