The opposite of love is not hate or ignorance, but fear. Fear is the easier path. Let me suggest that fear, not money, is the root of all evil. When we play on people’s fears, we can get them to do just about anything. Fear is what keeps power over others intact. As I will point out throughout this audiobook, fear in itself is not a bad thing. Fear lets us know that a need is not being met. It is the unbridled, unchecked fear that is not put into perspective that is the root of all evil.
A professor of mine taught that we all have an objectified reality, a life outlook, if you will. It is a lens in which we look through to see the world. How we see the world determines how we interact with it and, more importantly, how we love. This lens is shaped by religion, philosophy, and everyday experiences. It seems from my observations that fear is the lens that most of us are looking through today.
Fear creates the looking-out-for-number-one attitude that I see in the world. We have become focused on competition, winning, and the bottom line. We fear that there is a lack of resources so we compete for them, make others lose, and only give worth to those things that raise our bottom line. Many of us do not consider reacting to our fears in this way as violent but it is.
We also fear being alone so we become dependent on others, consumer goods, and noise. Sadly, marketing firms know this and use it to sell their products. Fear is also used to control others. If we give people something to fear, for example Hell, terrorist threats, or abandonment, then we can play them like a fiddle. If these same people free themselves from these fears, then we lose our control over them. What most call the domination system thrives on fear. To keep power over some one, those in power must give their minions something to fear. This happens in families, workplaces, communities, religious groups, and countries. In order for the minions to free themselves from the powers that be, all they have to do is recognize their fears for the power play that it is. I will talk about this more later.
An example from my own life of how fear operates is the countless times I have feared losing my job. My daily actions on the job were driven by fear. Every day I allowed abuse to happen to me and my co-workers. In turn I abused anyone that kept me from looking good in the eyes of my bosses. I was an obedient servant, never standing up for myself. I acted superior around new workers and made sure they suffered the same abuse I had suffered. Surprisingly, I also tried my hardest to help them in ways that no one had helped me. It was as if love and fear were fighting over my soul. At the end of the day, counting the many times I had lost my temper, fear had still won out.
There are many examples of this played out in history as well. Anytime in history we see the domination of others or the allowing of domination, fear was the driving force. In theological circles this is recognized as Royal theology versus Peasant theology.
We fear what we cannot control. We fear the possibilities. But a fulfilling life is a life of possibilities. A life trying to control everything is a stressed out and unfulfilled life. As John Lennon put it, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” As much as we like to think we can, we just cannot control what happens in life. Life just happens. We want to control life because we want to make sure certain needs are met. It is understandable because we all have basic needs that we want to see met. In the Pink Floyd song, The Gunners Dream, there is a excerpt that really touches on the needs we all want met.
The middle of the song starts to talk about the dream world the gunner wishes to live in. This place has food and shelter for all. It is safe from terrorism, legalism, fascism, and most other ism’s. People don’t need to hide their doubts and fears inside themselves. One side of the track is not better than the other. The laws are reasonable and followed willingly. Most importantly, the vulnerable are taken care of the best of all.
To what was listed in the song, I would add that we need to have a purpose. When we fear that these needs will not be met then we act in ways that are aggressive, active or passive. We try to control all circumstances to get our needs met. This of course goes against the concept of life just happening. We may wonder, is there any action we can take or are we to just let life happen?
Let me suggest that love is an action we can take because it does not seek to control, nor is it busy making other plans. Love goes along with the flow of life. In fact, love is the only tool we have to help us deal with life just happening. We love in spite our fears, struggles, and/or dangers we may face. We do it to help each other out and not act aggressive towards each other. Using love is the best way we can get our needs met and also meet the needs of others.
Those we fear we cannot love. I personally fear those we have allowed to have power over us. Particularly, those in corporate settings. I fear the tactics they use to get and sell goods to us. I fear their lack of ethics. My fear leads me to have nothing but disgust and hatred towards them. However, I will become no better than my perceived enemies if I let my fear consume me. It is only when we work through our fears, understand or embrace them that we are able to love. When we use love as our lens to see the world, we still will face our fears. However, when we do the work of love that I will lay out in the coming chapters, we will no longer be consumed by our fears. We will take loving actions to counter our fears and the violence that accompanies fear. It is my hope that my definition of love will give you concrete actions to help you with your fears. Before we look at my definition of love and the work it involves there is still one more thing to address about the current state of love.