Sunday, February 08, 2015

"Knowledge becomes love": Part 2

When we talk about loving with "heart, soul, mind, and strength", it's not always clear how "mind" fits into the picture. How do we love someone with our mind? Last time we considered the value of getting to know and understand the other person as an expression of love, and as a way to build love. Here I'd like to look at two ways we talk about love that show how important it is that we use our minds:

"Thoughtful" is a compliment that we pay to someone to recognize that they are loving and kind. It's not only that they have a good heart, but that they use that good heart to direct their thoughts. They employ their minds in thinking of ways to be kind. They actually seek out ways to help as a matter worthy of serious thought. The way a researcher might pursue a puzzle, the way a treasure-hunter might pursue a legendary treasure, these people pursue kindness. They use their minds to plan special occasions, to remember special days, to choose meaningful gifts. They seek out ways to recognize the value of other people. They give thought to ways to lift up, to encourage, to reassure.

"Considerate" is another compliment that we pay to someone who is loving and kind. And again, it amounts to someone using their mind: to consider. Here we talk about someone who considers another point of view, considers another perspective, considers how his own actions will affect other people. It is a habit of mind that we can cultivate, and whether we cultivate it reflects the value we place on it.

The whole area of "loving with our minds" is under-developed because so often we think of love as a matter only for the heart; we imagine the mind as dispassionate. It does not help our ability to love when we see things that way. It is doubtful whether the mind is ever truly that dispassionate, or whether it would be a good thing if it were. "Dispassionate" is a close cousin to "unmotivated". There is a passion that confuses our thoughts, and there is a passion that gives direction and speed to our thoughts. It calls for wisdom.


Kevin Knox said...

I don't have anything bright to add, but this is a great line of inquiry.

Weekend Fisher said...

Thanks. It seems like something I should have thought about by now ... but "better late" and all that.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

You are right. Being considerate is about the mind, not much about politeness. Thanks.

Weekend Fisher said...

I wouldn't want to underestimate the value of politeness. I wonder if "politeness" is the expected / socially conventional amount of consideration. To the extent that's accurate, it would be the minimum ... or the starting point.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

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