There is no possible doubt: unconditional love is the ultimate human virtue, the single most needed attribute in this world, the principle from which all other desirable human traits naturally flow. But what does it really mean?
To love without condition renders the following sentence rather meaningless:
“I love this person because he is/has/does …”
If there are no conditions to be put upon our love of our fellow brothers and sisters, considerations such as their character, their achievements, their personality, their possessions, are all devoid of importance.
Is unconditional love necessarily a non-dimensional concept? Does it mean that we love everyone equally? Or is it possible to love without conditions but with different degrees of love? When does dimensional love cease to be love? Can you love someone you don’t know?
To this last question I think I can give this answer: if you can hate someone, you can certainly love that someone too. I can think of many examples of people hating total strangers. In fact it seems that ignorance is a major contributor to hatred. But hatred as a result of ignorance is the “course of least resistance”, it’s a manifestation of our rejection of the unknown, of our resistance to new, uncomfortable knowledge.
Loving without knowledge is, therefore, a true expression of unconditional love: we love despite what we don’t know, and despite what we think we know about a person. Such love requires a constant re-evaluation of our pre-conceived ideas, prejudices, mental schemas and stereotypes. Few people bother with this constant effort, but those that do are naturally drawn to people they don’t know: they want to discover the good in them, to give their unconditional love more expression.
Unconditional love sets the stage for the greatest happiness in life, and for the greatest sorrow. Happiness is only as meaningful as the sorrow we experience anyway. The great majority of us don’t take the trouble to apply it, because we want to protect ourselves from being hurt. We choose a minimum level of happiness in order to experience a minimum level of sorrow. But happiness springing from expressed love, especially when such love is reciprocated, transcends all possible sorrow that may have resulted from the expression of that love. The happiness and the sorrow combine to give meaning, contrast, richness and beauty to our lives.
Many of us dream of a perfect society, and lie awake at night thinking of programmes, schemes and other legislations that would affect the masses and make the world a better place. But what we really need, what really works, is unconditional love in our hearts for all human beings, especially those we find hard to love.
So please give me a chance!