I would like to glean the following lines from the poetry of the German poet Friederich Hölderlin, by way of inception, for the purpose of pondering via an active reading and commenting on the theme of Love. Hölderlin’s lines clearly offer an invitation and smoothly deliver a powerful message. In them we read:
“Let us live, oh you who are with me in sorrow, with me in faith
And heart and loyalty struggling for better times!
For such we are! And if ever in the coming years they knew
Of us two when the spirit matters again
They would say: lovers in those days, alone, they created
Their secret world that only the gods knew. For who
Cares only for things that will die the earth will have them, but
Nearer the light, into the clarities come
Those keeping faith with the heart's love and holy spirit who were
Hopeful, patient, still, and got the better of fate.”[i]
Let us notice in passing and by way of observation that certain human beings across the centuries have successfully “got the better of fate”. This should not be so beyond human understanding. They have never found themselves in a way in which they take advantage of others.
There is perhaps this presence in their lives of what I should call "Sound Faith". Faith in everything that bodes and portends with life, faith in human nature as far as it can really go. Faith in all that is holy and divine the paucity of which generates as much pain and contrition as such that might be grasped in those who have lost accordingly faith in themselves. There has been no possible reason for them to do otherwise, because they have succeeded in making radical distinctions between what is ESSENTIAL and what is TRIVIAL.
And then, of course, disant la moindre des choses, there has yet been another significant aspect that must have been attributed to their lives. By this I mean "Hard Work". SOUND FAITH and HARD WORK, when compacted with THE ENGINE of LOVE, will undoubtedly yield so much EFFECT and MEANING in BEING AND TIME.
These are things we should not cast out into oblivion if ever real life is to us a worthy endeavour and journey. We all need to struggle for better times. Let us help ourselves for the sake of ourselves and hence for the sake of GOD.
Now, Madisyn Taylor, in her turn, has these words to say:
“Love is often presented as the opposite of fear but true love is not opposite anything. True love is far more powerful than any negative emotions, as it is the environment in which all things arise. Negative emotions are like sharks swimming in the ocean of love. All things beautiful and fearful, ugly and kind, powerful and small, come into existence, do their thing, and disappear within the context of this great ocean. At the same time, they are made of the very love in which they swim and can never be separated. We are made of this love and live our whole lives at one with it, whether we know it or not.”[ii]
Martin Buber has got this to add further:
“Only he who himself turns to the other human being and opens himself to him receives the world in him. Only the being whose otherness, accepted by my being, lives and faces me in the whole compression of existence, brings the radiance of eternity to me”. [iii]
Now, this is my final reading. Call it as you like but love is more than what people think. There is, this is it, more to love than what many people think. It is the most important thing in life. "To love", J.Krishnamurti wrote, "means to be sensitive. To be sensitive is to feel for people, for birds, for flowers, for trees_ not because they are ours, but just because we are awake to the extraordinary beauty of things." [IV]
I should ultimately submit hereby that we are fully awake through love and knowledge and not through ignorance and fear.
(Tunisia, March 2021)
[i] Selected Poems by Friedrich Hölderlin (translated by David Constantine)
[ii] LEARNING to LIVE by Madisyn Taylor
[iii] Martin Buber and the Human Sciences (edited by Maurice Friedman, 2012)
[IV] J. Krishnamurti, chapter 22 (https://jkrishnamurti.org/content/chapter-22 )