Love as a Human Faculty (Some Sketches)

These are frantic, unorganized notes that I types onto my phone. Enjoy. I took the ideas about Augustine and Dun Scrotus from Arendt’s Life of the Mind.

“Love seeketh not Itself to please,

Nor for itself hath any care;

But for another gives its ease;

And builds a Heaven in Hells despair.”

To Augustine, love is the supreme form of willing, because it is that which binds two parties strongest together. It is the force that dispels loneliness, and the most authentic form of being-with someone.

For Dun Scrotus, love is that which elevates human will and activity into the realm of end-in-itself, i.e frui instead of util. Love, in this sense, is what breaks us away from the treadmill of means-ends-means cycle.

For Nietzsche, Amor Fati, the love of fate, is the greatest human thing that one can achieve. What his fate is (I got this from Heidegger, though Nietzsche himself did not make this point), is a kind of embracing of the role that one has taken on (or being called to) in the world and to act most faithfully according to it. In this sense, the love in Amor Fati is that resoluteness in which me as potentiality individualizes.

For Dostoevsky, love is that which immortalizes oneself. That is, an activity which endows life with so much meaning that diminishes death in its significance. The love is a love that entails a form of supreme sacrifice: a care for some person, some thing, more than me. My love transcends my life.

Amor Mundi, love of the world, is what Arendt strived for. It is, similar to Augustine, manifest in action—action being something conducted between people. And this love requires tremendous courage, for to love is to risk being betrayed, to be lied to, to be deceived, and also because it is an opening up of oneself (and this revelatory aspect is discussed further in speech).

This love need not be romantic love, nor interpersonal. It can even just simply be a passion—something that makes life on earth meaningful.

It is upon Love, then, that inquiries are based. Mathematics, Natural Sciences, metaphysics, etc., were all under the domain of Philosophy because they are all based on this initial Love that is good in itself and need no other justification. In love is the primordial wonder at what is mysterious and strange and beautiful; in love is the human urge to know.

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