Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Love and change

Mostly this is about self-love, but to a lesser extent it is about love in relationships with people. Philia, I think, if I were to identify the Greek--brotherly love, as in the Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love--but where does self-love come in?

The whole perfectionism/procrastination thing I was writing about on Monday is all about self-love, in a way--it's about having enough love for yourself that you can accept your own imperfections. Wabi-Sabi, the philosophy of imperfection and impermanence, also is based on loving and accepting, of cherishing, that which is imperfect.

But we don't want to go down a slippery slope here--just because we can recognize, accept and cherish imperfection, that doesn't mean that we want to simply accept all our own limitations and surrender to complacency, does it? Of course not. Well, actually, there's no logical certainty there, but in my opinion, accepting imperfection does not mean accepting the lowest common denominator; Wabi-Sabi is not about giving up and saying "nothing makes any difference, so why even waste any effort on it?"

Part of love--love of oneself, love of another--is the vision for a better future, is the aspiration to live a better life than the one that one has--the vision of growth that pulls one on--the carrot on the imaginative stick.

Part of love is the honesty to see what isn't working as well as what is.

Sadly, things aren't simple, and there are, so often in our lives, trade-offs where we must choose one of two mutually exclusive choices--the horns of the dilemma--in loving relationships on one horn hangs the benefit of giving positive support and the danger of glossing over an important problem, and on the other horn hangs the benefit of exposing a problem that can be fixed and the danger of dragging a person down with negativity.

Sometimes love means demanding change.

I suppose I write all this because "philia" describes my feeling towards most of the people I work with.

I'm not the only editor who feels this--at least this is how I read Betsey Lerner's sense of her role as an editor (in The Forest for the Trees).

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