Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Romantic Love

Christianity has always exalted love, because it was the founding idea of the religion. If you are a Westerner or just culturally westernised (which I'm sure many readers are), you may have a hard time realising that other cultures do not accord the same importance to it.

They may give more weight to obedience, responsibility, honour or detachment. Even within Christianity however, it was, through centuries, the love of God – something spiritual and mystic – that was the greatest love, not romantic love. St Thomas Aquinas praised love above all other virtues, but it was the love of God - the love of woman, Thomas Aquinas knew precious little.

It is only recently, that Western civilisation began to give a higher value to romantic love as a reflection of the love of God, though if you look at it with a squinty eye, it is a rather tortuous extension of the original idea. Nevertheless, it has stuck, and has spread to other cultures.

Have we confused love with lust?

How peaceful life would be without love. How safe, how tranquil... and how dull.


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