What Do You Want To Love

What Do You Want To Love

This episode examines ways to transcend important differences between tribes and cultures.



Frank Kaufmann

Good morning. I'm doing a piece today and titled “What do you want to love.” 

The title is taken directly from the very piece that I want to comment on. This friend, this trend this teacher is speaking to a little crowd of people it's kind of a spiritual discourse type environment. 

So he takes the stage gets behind the podium or, I can't remember, but, and then says out to the crowd. Let's talk about love. What do you want to love, and there's silence. I guess people are waiting for the answer or too shy to holler out so he does. Say something. What do you want to love. 

Somebody hollers out. God. He goes, you want to love God. Okay, what else. Somebody else shouts out, everybody. He say I guess this is the kind of answer we expect to get in a religious setting right? And he goes, What about people who are not religious. What do you think they want to love money, fame, power, beauty?. 

Okay, so that's how the thing, opens and starts. I think that's already a fine twist or fine angle or opening to a classical inquiry. Because what one most commonly hears is what is love, what is what is love really, or what is truly love or what is true love, these types of questions. But this friend of mine whom I'm always bragging about as having this great angle on things, he approaches the very same question with What do you want to love? 

I think he accomplishes a ton in that simple twist or flip. Because when you talk about what is love. It's a it's kind of divorced, it becomes conceptual, kind of reflecting on something out there. But when it goes, What do you want to love it's immediately tied to yourself. The other beautiful part of the flip is that it might be the case where people ponder love, they immediately think of what they want to experience or what they want to receive, or what counts as love for them. It's always, I think the first thoughts are on the receiving end. So when he says What do you want to love is not inquiry into what is love, but starting from within myself. I think already right there, we have something very fun in terms of that perennial inquiry into what is love. It's an extremely important question. 

Then he moves on, and he goes, and so I guess we all have our definition of love. They're  drawn out of different types of questions out of the crowd he offered his own kind of what one might see or hear or encounter in secular society more abundantly money, fame power. I guess, despite protestations if you watch how people behave, that would be a fairly accurate read on what people love or what do you want to love, or what do we love. So he goes. So we have our definition of love, it depends on a kind of tribal reality that the particulars are obviously stressed. That's why it's hard to unite everybody because a lot of us all around the world base ourselves on that kind of reality tribal reality, what we value as love the concept varies. To my to my view that is a very keen approach or angle to pursue the question. We all have our different realities. You can take that just by getting what people holler out in the room, or by just pondering together. They're very different things but even if you're not going so far feel like one guy yelling God, and he's saying well how about money people seem to love. These seem to be quite opposite impulses. But not only that, that kind of difference, but what he's identifying here is what he calls a kind of tribal reality. So that within our tribes, there are various things that are what people want to love even different forms of beauty, even different forms of value what we value as love the concept varies. So when everybody knows love is good. However, the value of love difference there is obviously a potential for conflict, and that difference, makes it difficult at times. 

So here you have an inquiry into the finest sweetest, most desirable thing, the one thing that everybody says, Well, if we could just love you know our problems would be over conflict would be over. You can't have conflict in the presence of love. And this teacher immediately points out thatin a certain way it's quite opposite the case, because what we tie ourselves to as that which we want to love varies from tribe to tribe from person to person from circumstance circumstance generation to generation. He goes, these differences have a potential for conflict, and that difference makes it difficult at times. So here you have a fascinating observation that it's love itself, which has the potential not just for conflict which he says, but in my view for extreme conflict, because if you're going to start messing with what I love, then you have a fight on your hands. 

Also the mere observation of that difference, he says makes it difficult at times. I think that's also an understatement. It's more than difficult when you have vying concepts of love and those are grounded in tribal identities or or tribes. I'm using the term, very loosely and very broadly. You know my tribe can be, we Professional Journalists or we professional weather, people or, we, we, college football players. That can be my tribe. So, love varies from tribe to tribe. We make that observation and very intelligently very keenly points out that right there's a potential for conflict. So people who are just showing up at your door preaching love. All we need is love, without identifying this very obvious difference if each person is defining it differently. We have a serious problem if it's truly the case that there's nothing but genuine difference from tribe to tribe, on how we understand love, or what we want to love, what I want to learn is different from person to person. 

You have the opposite. Love is love is doing the opposite of being a potential for being a unifying harmonizing force, it becomes the potential for conflict. To repeat I read it already. Everybody knows love is good. However, the value of love differs. You love this I love that you call this lovable I don't. To me that's that's ugly or hideous or it's disinteresting to me I don't I don't love that and then you know there it goes, how can you say you don't love that. That's the most important thing and there the conflict begins. 

But then he goes on to say, that certain things are fundamental, regardless of how you may like a particular thing or desire a particular thing. One could translate that desire as the definition of love. So he said that in the midst of all the genuine particular difference in what I want to love. He says, there are some certain things that are fundamental, regardless of how, how you may like a particular thing. One could define that desire, as the definition of love. He's trying to boil it down is trying to see what transcends tribal distinctions, because it's fundamental what is common what reappears what shatters the facade, the visage of that particular form of beauty or that particular value or that particular virtue. He goes on to say certain particulars are universal. And anytime you talk about unity. We have to understand that if it exists, what that particular is otherwise we have no grounds for harmony there's no foundation since there's no basis, so that recognition that if there is such a thing that should be the ground, in which we plant the seed, otherwise peace won't result. Otherwise it doesn't happen. We don't have universal independent of particulars. It always exists as particulars, but if it remains as the distinct distinctions held by the particular, then there's no basis or no foundation.

But what we're looking for is what is fundamental. And what I want to love that transcends all of the distinctions from person to person from family to family from tribe to tribe. He goes on Who do you want to love what kind of people, do you want to love. Beyond the kind of material things that we that we like to love. Is there a type of person, or their type of people you want to love what type of people can we think about universally and have a kind of mutual understanding people who want to look, there has to be some kind of quality there. And here I think he did it. He found the pearl, found the needle in the haystack. With just a few seconds of thought. As soon as you observe that people have radically different definitions of what I want to love, to tie difference to that which I love has the potential for great conflict and certainly enduring inability to harmonize and work together and live in peace, that people will really fight over those types of things. 

So he goes on, he goes on and says, There has to be something fundamental even in all the particulars, that's an important signpost of how we should approach, serious work for social harmony for progress in a society for life in the country for life and peace among nations, it starts and examined. What are the fundamentals common to transcend and and are common to all the particular ways of loving. But then he goes on to add or to expand or to lift up to the next rung on the ladder or next step. Is there a type of people you want to love. And right there I think therein lies the key. Therein lies the subsiding or the settling of it all. I think that kind of grows pretty. Well i don't think i think those kind of girls are pretty. Or I think that kind of man is an attractive man. No, I don't think I don't find those types attractive at all. I find them too harsh or too coarse or too self bragging. All the distinctions are on there. 

But when if we're looking for something common, What kind of people do you want to love, then I believe we're really on track to begin to think about the most important matters. Period. Namely, what do I want to love who to whom do I want to love and translation from what is love, to there is a person who I want to love. There is a type of person who I want to love. I believe this will begin to introduce us to a universal, a common, and that will be the ground where he says we're where we want to plant the seeds there. That will be the ground. What I think is beginning with the type of person. 

As I reflect on a couple of things about whom do I want to love. I want to love a person who is honest, who doesn't lie doesn't dissemble doesn't prevaricate doesn't say things in order to have me come to false conclusions to mislead. I want to love someone who doesn't mislead. I want to love someone who's reliable. Who when they give their word, they give their word, whom I can count on them. If I say my mother's in a difficult situation can you get yourself over there. And the person says, Yeah, I can, I will. And they do. That's a person, I want to love I really want to love this type of person, honest, doesn't doesn't mislead reliable does what they say. Faithful or loyal or somehow, somehow, trustworthy isn't going to betray me, isn't going to be bought out, isn't going to sell me down the river for a couple of bucks. We can start to build up the type of person whom we want to love. And then, then I don't care what culture you're from I don't care what tribe you're from.

I don't care if you're from the tribe of elite effete snobs or from the tribe of kind of hard working breaking boulders drilling for oil. I don't care what tribe you're from that who we want to love will be recognized accessible across tribal differences. I've just randomly picked a couple. But I think this line of thought , this track is a fun way of moving down the line. If we want a decent country to live in if we want a decent neighborhood to live in. If you want a decent grocery store to shop in. If I come back into my household at the end of a hard day's work and close the  door behind me, if I want a certain family atmosphere to walk in in my home. Anything that we seek that we desire, that is constructive that grows and does well. Another type of person I want to love is a person who has their own purse. They're Independent creative interesting fascinating wondrous. They have their own universe of stuff they love. I don't want a person who is cowering, fearful and dependent and it gets you can build them up.

For more particulars. And I think that in each and every case when they're tied to a root virtue, when they're tied to a root ideal. And these are what most preachers and most spiritual teachers telling us that's the person who we're supposed to be, you want to be a reliable person you want to be responsible. Then the whole universe of my spirituality is self referential, all caught up in obsessive self examination and self accusation. I must improve and I'm not good enough. 

Here you have a very free and fresh point of inquiry, that is helpful even for myself if I identify whom I want to love. That's a great approach.  All of us want to be lovable I believe, so this is actually a liberating or free form of inquiry into this into reality. Valuable stuff. And rather than kind of walking out of service saying, Oh, I wish I were better I gotta be better I got to do more, instead look out and see, whom do I want to love. That then gives us a pretty good tip on the very types of things that I should invest in for myself. It is kind of a free gift. So I think it's a great form of inquiry. I think it's very insightful and has the potential to dig us out of a lot of the dysfunction, disorder, difficulty and divisiveness, that is clouding and darkening our contemporary social reality and global reality.

Thanks very much for listening I hope we can be together again soon. Thank you very much.