rn:Good wishes & love


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,

Now that the cyberjournal web site is working again, I got the wishes one of
our subscribers, Makere in New Zealand, sent us for Christmas. Good wishes
have no "due date", so let's use them now!

Since she mentions the topic of love, I've taken the liberty of adding
exceprts from postings sent to another list on that topic.

all the best, Jan
From: "Makere Stewart-Harawira" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Yes, Virginia... there is magic!
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2001 08:52:38 +1300

Dear Jan
Thank you. Love is truly the force that holds together the atoms of this
universe, that keeps the cosmos intact, that prevents it from flying apart
and scattering across forever. Love is that force that some call 'magic' by
which we can will ourselves - and hence each other and ultimately the whole
of the world - to change for good. Love is the ONLY thing that can overcome
hate and fear.

Thank you for your loving messages to us throughout the year Jan.

To you Richard, thank you for constantly giving us cause for thought and
reflection, for the opportunities to challenge our assumptions, for the
possibility to participate in bringing about change, and for reminding us
constantly that this is no time to rest.

To all of our list, think loving, kind and generous thoughts and have a
gentle and reflective Christmas.


Date: Fri, 1 Jan 1999 20:27:53 -0400
From: •••@••.••• (Jan Slakov)
Subject: Re: Eros or "connecting"

Dear Left Bios,   Jan. 1

Glenn, you raise some interesting points, for which I just happen to have a
few little quotes that I want to share.

You speak of eros, caring, the impulse to connect with everything else --
something some also call love. As you will probably remember, the topic of
whether or not we love those whose behaviour we wish would change has come
up before on this list.

I would like to share the definition of love given by Scott Peck, as
according to that definition, I do indeed feel it is important to love those
some might call our enemies.

"...Love is too large, too deep ever to be truly understood or measured or
limited within the framework of words. I would not write this if I did not
believe the attempt to have value, but no matter how valuable, I begin with
the certain knowledge that the attempt will be in some ways inadequate.
  One result of the mysterious nature of love is that no one has ever, to my
knowledge, arrived at a truly satisfactory definition of love. In an effort
to explain it, therefore, love has been divided into various categories:
eros, philia, agape; perfect love and imperfect love, and so on. I am
presuming, however, to give a single definition of love, again with the
awareness that it is likely to be in some way or ways inadequate. I define
love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's
own or another spiritual growth...
  I arrived at it [the definition] through close observation in my clinical
practice of psychiatry (which includes self-observation), in which the
definition of love is a matter of considerable import. This is because
patients are generally very confused as to the nature of love. For instance,
a timid young man reported to me: "My mother loved me so much she wouldn't
let me take the bus to school until my senior year in high school. Even then
I had to beg her to let me go. I guess she was afraid I would get hurt, so
she drove me to and from school every day, which was very hard on her. She
really loved me." In the treatment of this individual's timidity it was
necessary, as it is in many other cases, to teach him that his mother might
have been motivated by something other than love, and that what seems to be
love is often not love at all. It has been out of such experience that I
accumulated a body of examples of what seemed to be acts of love and what
seemed not to be love. One of the major distinguishing features between the
two seemd to be the conscious or unconscious purpose in the mind of the love
or nonlover." (p. 82 _The Road Less Traveled_)

Glenn's posting also mentions how hard it is for people who are numb to
caring about the earth to reconnect (or maybe to connect in the first place). 

">It is not easy to open the heart once it closes. Among those who are 
>numb to Life there is a huge need and hidden desire to be able to feel 
>Life (or God) again--but this  is not simply a matter of choosing to do 

In David Suzuki's _The Sacred Balance_, he suggests we may need to sort of
"imprint" with nature as children or all is lost:

"Shepard also suggests that unless we actually experience nature at very
specific intervals in childhood, we fail to trigger the emotional bonding
with the wild world that affects the way we treat it as adults.
Consequently, we lack the constraints against developing materialist,
nihilist and other ecologically destructive attitudes..." p. 181

Just judging by what I know of myself and others, this seems to be true. We
all connected with nature as kids. But I also know someone who was once a
career navy officer and gradually discarded his rather disturbing views
(including homophobism, for example) and has been a leader in regional
environmental & peace activism. It would be interesting to ask him if he
connected with
nature as a kid. <snip>

  Guess what:-), I have another quote!
"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the
companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him
the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in". 

  Rachel CArson in _ A Sense of Wonder_

And one last quote, also from _ A Sense of Wonder_. I had part of it on a
poster on the door of my classroom when I had a grade 3 class:

"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the
christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the
world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout
life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of
later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the
alienation from the sources of our strength."

all the best, Jan
Dear Left Bios,

I think many of us long-time activists realize that friendship and, yes,
love play a real part in directing our activist energies.

Maybe one of the reasons we are reluctant to use a word like love is that we
know that our NEED to "connect with" and feel loved by others can blind us
to things we might rather not recognize in people or the things they do. And
I guess, to most people, the term "tree hugger" would connotate someone
whose love for trees or nature blinds them to economic "reality" or something.

I think the way certain types of love (at least) can make us "starry eyed"
is a legitimate reason to be cautious of simply following where our desire
for love would lead us.

BUT, I agree with you, Martin, that love, or at least some form of it, is
essential, maybe even primordial. I think this comes home for me clearly in
a text of Albert Camus' that I particularly like, _Neither Victims Nor
Executioners_ (Ni victimes ni bourreaux). He writes there about how the
experience of past years (he was writing this in 1948) showed a new side of
humanity, people engaging in brutality and with whom dialogue seemed
useless, for they were, in a sense, no longer human, but representatives of
an ideology. "We have seen people lie, kill, deport, torture and in each
case it was not possible to persuade those who did these things not to do
them, because they were sure of themselves and because persuasion does not
work with an abstraction, i.e. the representative of an ideology." (my

Camus argued that people had to realize that they were now faced with a
choice: whether or not they would be willing to kill in defence of some
ideology or another. He, and I, come down on the not side... In other words,
the bonds of love are, I feel, more inportant than the beliefs I may hold.
(Interestingly enough, with this value, it is conceivable I might kill if
someone or something was threatening someone or maybe something I loved; it
is not an absolute statement that all killing is wrong; it is more a
statement that what matters most is keeping love and the possibility of
dialogue alive and not some ideology... even, I might add, the ideology in
the left bio primer.)

Martin wrote:
Why would we repress love?  This is surely among the
finest of emotions.

As I suggest above, I think we are uneasy about love because our society
places a very high value on rationality and being "objective". Love is seem
as super-subjective, and not rational and therefore to be mis-trusted. And
we should be careful of distinguishing between what our need for love might
propell us to do and the very fine emotion we call love. Actually, though,
is it an emotion?  I think maybe it is a way of opening our heart so that we
see, see what? Beauty, truth...

all the best, jan
PS I'm including a message below which a friend got off some technology list
serv. As you will see, the person who describes the idea can no longer find
the reference to it he found on a web site. But the idea is good even as a
sort of myth paradigm we might want to adopt... It is pertinent to this
discussion on love, for what it means (to me at least) is that love and
anti-authoritarianism are connected. In other words, if we are to make love
primordial in our lives, we must follow the light we ourselves can see and
not let ourselves be led by someone else who claims to see the light...

To: Jan Slakov <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fwd: Compliance with Authority
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 09:50:13 -0400

Thought you might be interested in this, from the list

If anyone can track down the reference, and notify me, I will post it on 

James Crombie •••@••.•••

************** begin forwarded message *****************
>Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 21:10:05 -0500 (EST)
>From: "Greg S. Bartels" <•••@••.•••>
>To: •••@••.•••
>Subject: Compliance with Authority
>I'm  hoping some computer guru out there can help me . I was using one
>of the search engines on the web a while ago, and come upon this
>interesting article. it was a transcription from text inscribed inside
>an ancient tomb in the middle east. It had been translated into several modern
>languages and placed on the web for all to see.
>The text said that god placed mankind on the earth to mature. Every
>once in a great while, god comes to earth in some form and asks
>men to kill other men in his name. according to the text this has
>happened seven times in mankind's journey on this earth. Every time
>mankind has accepted god's request. 
>Seven tests and seven failures.
>According to this ancient text, passing god's test involves declining
>the request. In other words, god says "kill" and mankind is supposed to
>say "no". Until the time comes when mankind passes this test, god will
>leave us on this plane. 
>The text was apparently used by a small group around the middle ages.
>they wanted to tell everyone of their story so that the next time god
>tested mankind, he would ask someone who would know the correct answer.
>it appears that the group was wiped out by a crusade.
>I've since tried to find the web page, but haven't been able to.
>foolishly, I didn't book mark it when I was looking at it. and
>I can't seem to get the search string right either. It comes up
>with countless matches for god and life and mankind.
>If anyone happens accross the website, let me know.