We are living times of rage and hatred in bolsonariano Brazil and around the world. Rage and hatred are the fruits of fundamentalism and intolerance, as was seen in Sri Lanka, where hundreds of Christians were murdered as they celebrated the triumph of love over death in the feast of the resurrection.
That macabre scene requires us to renew our belief that, despite everything, love is stronger than death.
The word love has been trivialized. It is love here and love there, love in the advertisements addressed more to people’s pocketbooks than to their hearts. We must rescue the sacred nature of love. We have no better or bigger word to describe the Ultimate Reality, God, other than to call it love.
We need to change how we talk about love, so that its nature and amplitude shine through and warm us. For that we must incorporate the contributions that come to us from the various Earth sciences, (Fritjof Capra), especially from biology (Humberto Maturana) and the studies about the cosmogenic process (Brian Swimme). It is ever more clear that love is an objective fact of global reality, a pleasant aspect of Mother Nature herself, of whom we are a part.
Two aspects, among others, drive the cosmogenic and biogenic processes: necessity and spontaneity. Necessity pertains to the survival of each being. It is the reason one being helps the other, in a network of inclusive relationships. The synergy and cooperation of each with all others constitute the most fundamental forces of the Universe, especially among living beings. That is the objective dynamic of the Cosmos itself.
Together with the force of necessity there is spontaneity. Beings relate to and interact with each other for the pure gratification and joy of coexisting. Such relationships do not correspond to a need. They occur in order to create new bonds, in function of a certain affinity that arises spontaneously and produces delight. It is the universe of the surprising, of the fascinating, of something imponderable. It is the advent of love.
That love occurs with the very first basic elements, the quarks, that interrelated beyond what was necessary, spontaneously, attracting each to the others. A world arose gratuitously, not necessary but possible, spontaneous and real.
Thus arose the force of love, that runs through all the stages of evolution and links all beings, giving them a profound nature and beauty. There is no single reason that caused them to combine with each other in bonds of spontaneity and freedom. They do it for pure pleasure and for the joy of being together.
It is this cosmic love that realizes what mysticism always intuited: the existence of pure gratuitousness. The mystic Angelus Silesius says: “The rose does not have a reason. She blooms just because she blooms. The rose does not care whether or not she is admired. She just blooms because she blooms”.
Do we not say that the profound meaning of life is simply to live? Likewise love flowers in us as the fruit of a free relationship between free beings with all other beings.
But as self conscious human beings, we can turn love, that belongs to the nature of everything, into a personal and civilizing project: to consciously live love, to create the conditions for a loving environment to arise among the inert and living beings. We can fall in love with a distant star and establish a history of affection with it.
Love is urgently needed in the present days, where the strength of the negative, of anti-love, seems to prevail. More than asking who committed acts of terror, we must ask why those acts of terror were committed. Surely terror arose from the absence of love as a relationship that links human beings in the blessed experience of opening to and jovially embracing one another.
Let us say it openly and clearly: the current world order does not love persons. It loves material goods, the strength of the laborer’s work, the muscles, the knowledge, the artistic production and the worker’s capacity for consumption. But the current systems does not gratuitously love people as people.
To preach love and to shout: “Let us love one another as we love ourselves” is to be revolutionary. It is absolutely to be anti-the dominant culture.
Let us make of love that which the great Florentine, Dante Alighieri, witnessed: “love that moves the heavens and the stars”, and we add: love that moves our lives, love that is the most holy name of the Original Fountain of all Being, God.
Leonardo Boff Eco-Theologian-Philosopher and of the Earthcharter Commission
Free translation from the Spanish sent by
Melina Alfaro, email@example.com.
Done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.