In a preceding post, I showed how philosophers of the 19th century, philosophers such as Francis Bacon, philosophers who also were scientists, began to explore the notion that the most important objective of natural philosophy is wisdom, not love. I went on to demonstrate that essential difference between wisdom and love is justice. In light of essence of dichotomy between wisdom and love, and with focus on ordering of interactions within society, we arrived at the conclusion that for well ordering of interactions within society, wisdom ranks first in importance, followed by justice, with love ranking a distant third.
But if love ranks a distant third in importance for development of well ordered societies, relevance or appropriateness of the cliche, “love makes the world go round” becomes questionable. How exactly do we rationalize characterization of love to be the most important principle of life by Jesus Christ, founder of the Christian faith? When Apostle Paul of the Christian faith laments in 1Corinthians 13:3 that,
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing,
he declares, much like Jesus Christ in John 13:35 (“By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another”), that in so far as Christian beliefs are concerned,
Love is the principal thing, the most important principle of life and societal organization.
Let us bear in mind at this point that Francis Bacon was a Christian, a practicing Christian. Yet here he was advocating wisdom over love, while the Savior in whom he professed to have faith clearly states love is the most important principle of life for organization of society. Either Francis Bacon was an infidel and heretic masquerading as a Christian, or he was onto something extremely profound.
In Matthew 7:24, Jesus declares as follows,
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
What again did Jesus command His disciples in John 13:35, words He expected His disciples to put into practice?
By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Using Jesus’ own words, we come to the conclusion that Francis Bacon was onto an extremely profound truth perhaps not immediately evident to his peers, a truth lost perhaps since then to generations of Christians. Francis Bacon it would seem had arrived at the profound realization that,
Love for others is characterized by Jesus Christ to be evidence of wisdom.
Using the ranking of Wisdom, Justice, Love as most important principles of societal organization, we find we can reword the ranking, Wisdom, Justice, Love, to read, Love I, Justice, Love II.
In Jeremiah 9:24, the Father of Jesus Christ declares that Love I is kindness to others; that Love I is followed by justice; that Love II is outcome of society’s response to Love I and truth. Love II turns out to be either of development of capacity for loving of others (character that is outcome of right living — ‘right living character’), or turning away from love to hatred (opposite of right living character). We find then that the Christian God always has ranked wisdom or Love I first, justice second, and right living character or Love II third in so far as relative importance for arrival at well ordered societies is concerned.
In so far as Christian principles for societal organization are concerned, the ranking is Love I, Justice, & Love II.
What can we allude then to be underlying rationality of ranking of Love I, Justice, and Love II?
A just God does not judge people He never has tried to love.
Within context of the Christian perspective of societal organization, love precedes justice, such that only those who have been loved can be judged; such that only those who have truly loved have moral grounds for acting as judges.
Ever tried judging someone you truly loved, truly cared about? What do you find? That when you truly love another person, it is impossible to judge that person’s shortcomings without making of attempts at finding some avenue for introduction of mercy into judgment. In presence of love as wisdom, as most important principle of societal organization, kindness which is precursor to justice, ensures justice never is unaccompanied by mercy. If you ever have been imperfect either at work or in your personal relationships, you understand how it is we all need mercy in our lives sometimes.
If the response to kindness is kindness-in-return, justice creates more of kindness within society. Whenever the response to kindness is indifference, callousness, characterization of kindness to be weakness, evidence of lack of capacity for evil or wickedness, justice creates more of unkindness within society. If people who respond to kindness with unkindness are judged rightly, they suffer negative consequences — unkindness — for their actions, resulting in multiplication of unkindness within society. While people who are kind continue to reap kindness from justice, if they are significantly outnumbered by those who respond to kindness with unkindness, justice multiplies unkindness more than kindness, such that over time, unkindness appears to swarm out kindness within society. Justice then results in societies characterized by either of kindness or unkindness.
Over time, those who persistently respond to kindness with unkindness lose capacity for kindness, become unkind. By the same token, those who persist in kindness develop capacity for kindness, become characterized by right living character. On close examination then, we find ranking of Love I, Justice, Love II in context of Christianity is equivalent to ranking implied by philosophy of Francis Bacon and others, which is, Wisdom, Justice, Love.
If love is wisdom, true wisdom is evident in pursuit of capacity for love. But can love win out in a world filled with so much imperfection? Can love win out in a world within which many believe wisdom is evident in domination of, as opposed to love for others? Can love win out in a world within which those who ubiquitously mistreat others are deemed to be more representative of society than those who make mistakes in attempts at resisting mistreatment by others? When a child who has been ubiquitously mistreated by his or her classmates lashes out and hits one of his or her antagonists, when such a child is suspended or expelled from school on basis of zero tolerance for physical altercations, how exactly does this negate persistence of mistreatment of some students in elementary, middle, or high school? When those who are unkind know that forcing of a zero tolerance reaction from the kind or mistreated primarily ends up in penalties for the mistreated, how exactly will we ever be able to put an end to bullying in schools?
But do we have any evidence that love can win out in an imperfect world, a world within which many believe might is right? In this regard, I ask, of Pilate, High Priest Caiaphas, Jesus’ disciples, Romans as a whole, Jews as a whole, in terms of positive impact on society, who today is regarded most favorably by people all over the world?
The answer of course is an unequivocal Jesus Christ, the man who loved the most of Pilate, Augustus Caesar, High Priest Caiaphas, Jesus’ own disciples, Roman society, and Jewish society. In light of this evidence, can we really say that love cannot win out in a society that is imperfect? Can we really say it is better to conform with actions of the strong who despise love, than attempt to develop capacity for love? Jesus was crucified by the strong in society, Jesus’ name lives on, those of his antagonists, mostly relevant only in context of discussion of life and person of Jesus Christ.
Absent crucifixion of Jesus Christ no one in a future generation perhaps ever would have heard about Pontius Pilate.
In the outcome of Jesus’ life we see clear evidence of validity of the profundity that love is wisdom. Note that since we all die, it is not death which defines us, but how we live. In the realization that love is wisdom, we arrive at an understanding of the profundity of a ranking of wisdom, justice, love to be most important principles for organization of society. In this realization, we recognize that kindness is wisdom, justice judges our kindness or unkindness, and the character we develop (our location on rungs of right living character) is outcome of our kindness, or unkindness, and our response to imposition of justice for our actions.
If love is wisdom, wisdom is the principal, equivalently most important principle for proper functioning of society. If you are conversant with Proverbs 4:7, which declares (I paraphrase), wisdom is the principal characteristic to which all men should attain, you realize now that the statement, ‘wisdom is the principal characteristic’ simultaneously declares, ‘love is the principal characteristic to which all men and women ought to aspire’. We conclude then that as declared by Apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 13:13, with Jesus Christ and all of Christian Scriptures in agreement that,
The greatest of all principles for well ordering of life and organization of society is love. Love is Wisdom.