Love conquers all the Roman poet Virgil states. How suitable that the master wordsmith of Roman imperialism should see conquest at the root of Loves guiding hand.
The Roman, in his Stoic temperance, places a sword in loves outstretched palm. He wills her onward, “go forth and multiply” just as his senate and princeps wills on their legions. Love, in reflecting an aspect of desire, seems ever in harmony to the culture to which she is bound.
From Desires and aversions we can deduce the core principles of the mindset of any culture – ancient to modern. The goals to which their ruling faculty set’s Sauron’s eye upon are often reflected in the values of their people. Aversions are born from the antithetical elements of these values. In combination this alchemical concoction produces a psychological map stretching into both the past and the future. Should we be surprised that the son’s of Mars Ultor* went forward upon the white horse of conquest?
What of love?
Modernity demands the creation of universal love.
The love and desire of a peoples point in the same direction like a hunters arrow following his sight. This assuredly places the cultures of the world into conflicts of the heart to which no reason can defuse. Ask of any man, “what is love?” and a million replies spring forth. The Romans we have heard. To the Greek**, love is a ladder***, each rung unlocking deeper meaning. In old Egypt, pharaonic love entwines itself with religious trappings, formed of cycles and eternities flowing and ebbing like the Nile. In our individualistic world, every person alive today may present a different answer.
For a man whose love is a sword, and a man whose love a shield, what universal principles can we invent to prevent the inevitable conflict that will ensue?
A universal love requires – demands even – a universal respect. The pacifist and the warmonger will never agree if their conversations are on the topic of conflict. But, if they were to find some shared harmony of thought, perhaps that could spark the first static affection. We are so focused on our differences we forget what we have in common. If all mankind were to agree on a universal truth of the human condition, then from this truth we can rediscover love.
And there it is, written in the name. Human. The one thing that ties us together. “Cogito ergo sum“, Descartes utters. I think therefore I am. An unfinished sentence! He is missing the last key word that completes the puzzle for us.
I think therefore I am … Human. Descartes only certainty is a shared certainty. We all think, and thus we all create. As to think is to pull something from nothing – the primal act of creation. If we are to ever find a universal love then it will be in this certainty, a love of creation. For it does not matter if you hate the vision of an individual, nor the physical manifestations of their thoughts. Through a communal love of creation you can love them for the part they have to play in existence.
From the nurse, to the actor, the politician to the freedom fighter, that modern dream of the overflowing chalice may be possible still. They have their part to play, and so do you, and so do I. We all must unite is our love of creation, realizing that no man acts out of accordance with the nature he was given. No one is too small or unworthy to be left without a part. Creation includes us all. This is the universal truth. This is where love lies. Found at last, not in the heart, but in the mind.
*All-Conquering Mars, Roman God of War
**Or at least Athenian, perhaps a Spartan would have a more warlike view!
*** Ref: Plato’s Symposium