Summum Bonum

But while love is rare and hard to find given the exclusivity and peculiarity of the circumstances and conditions from which love must arise – namely, the merging of two levels of consciousness into one and the conflict and contradiction with others which arises from such a merger, acting in good faith with people, and diverting one’s sense of love away from people and things and towards the “highest good” or summum bonum – love is still not impossible to find, even though it is difficult and rare to find. The failure to attain or find love stems from the failure to foster its conditions and circumstances due to a lack of ability or will on the part of many people to realize that one’s energy and intelligence or “libido” is actually flowing towards an “invisible, mysterious goal” and it is discovering “an object in the depths of the unconscious which powerfully attracts it.” 

As Carl Jung wrote: 

“The life of man, turned wholly to the external by nature, does not ordinarily permit such introversion; there must, therefore, be surmised a certain exceptional condition, that is to say, a lack of external objects, which compels the individual to seek a substitute for them in his own soul. It is, however, difficult to imagine that this rich world has become too poor to offer an object for the love of human atoms; nor can the world and its objects be held accountable for this lack. It offers boundless opportunities for everyone.” 

Jung added:

“It is rather the incapacity to love which robs mankind of his possibilities. This world is empty to him alone who does not understand how to direct his libido towards objects, and to render them alive and beautiful for himself, for Beauty does not indeed lie in things, but in the feeling that we give to them.”

Not only is love rare and otherworldly, but love is also meant to be kept private and shielded from political and public designs or purposes, as Hannah Arendt argued. Arendt argued that “love, in distinction from friendship, is killed, or rather extinguished, the moment it is displayed in public. (‘Never seek to tell thy love/Love that never told can be.’)”

Arendt added: “Because of its inherent worldlessness, love can only become false and perverted when it is used for political purposes such as the change or salvation of the world.” This comment, most likely, was directed on the part of Arendt towards the “irrational activism” which has long been commonplace in our societies but has now become amplified and exacerbated as a result of accelerated and expanded communications between peoples and nations due to advancements and evolutions in globalization and technology. 

It is also noteworthy and intriguing that certain philosophical and religious traditions equate love to the contemplation of metaphysical truths. As Frithjof Schuon wrote: 

“When metaphysical knowledge is effective it produces love and destroys presumption. It produces love, that is to say the spontaneous directing of the will towards God and the perception of ‘myself’ – and of God – in one’s neighbor. It destroys presumption, for knowledge does not allow a man to overestimate himself or to underestimate others. By reducing to ashes all that is not God it orders all things.” 

It follows that “absolute reality” or “pure consciousness” attained as a result of the contemplation of metaphysical truths leads to an ordering of ideas and thoughts which would otherwise amount to a futile and worthless mental meandering and the mixing of the good with the bad per se, in addition to the fact that love is a byproduct or outcome of such an ordering. 

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