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Toward a Hermeneutics of Love January 20, 2013

Posted by Holly Rose Wood in Energy, Guidance, Health.
Tags: , , , ,

If humans are social beings by nature, love is the expression of the intrinsic bond that sustains our intrinsic connections to others. A hermeneutics of love, as I understand it, makes a bold claim that, if we want to know the truth about another person, the best access to that truth is not through a detached indifference, but through a genuine, deeply felt love for that person. If I really want to know someone, a friendship with that person, for example, is more likely to yield a more impactful insight than treating the person like a rat in an experimental maze.

Excerpt from The New Existentialists. Read the full article here.

Using (the) phenomenological method, von Hildebrand arrives at what he concludes are the “essential traits of love”:

1.    Love as the most affective value-response

According to von Hildebrand, mental acts that are driven by the appetites, such as hunger, thirst, and sexual desire, are different kinds of acts than value-responses, such as respect, veneration, and love. Those who are familiar with Viktor Frankl’s work will recognize that Frankl likewise distinguished between drives and values. Whereas drives “push” a person from behind, values “pull” the person along; they are teleological in nature. Similar to Abraham Maslow’s Being-values, values do not seem to be satiated nor exhausted, but maintain their power. This is because they are not meeting basic physiological needs of the organism; they are related more directly to noological or spiritual or psychological dimensions of the person.

Love is a value-response because it does not reduce the other person to an instrument merely to satisfy my own physiological needs. True love, rather, is a matter of recognition the intrinsic value of the whole person of the beloved other. Genuine love does not reduce the beloved to a means to the end of my own satisfaction, but rather, appreciates the beauty and goodness of the other for his or her own sake.

Von Hildebrand says that love is the most affective value-response—a claim that would need more space and attention to pursue in depth. But, in short, he means that when we love the other person we give of ourselves to the other—there is an aspect of self-donation (see below), and also a charitable interpretation of the other. We see the other person not through our own pride such that we would exaggerate the importance of the other person, but rather accept the person’s limitations. Yet, we see the other’s limitations as less central and even alien to the beloved’s true nature or essence. To love the other is to recognize not just the flawed person he or she is, but the ideal person who he or she is latently capable of being in actuality. And our love helps to bring this potential into being.

Read full article here: http://www.newexistentialists.com/posts/01-15-13

Source: The New Existentialists



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