The opposite of love is selfishness. Selfishness focuses on itself, feeds off of itself, practices self aggrandizement egregiously. Selfishness cares only about itself, believes in using people as opposed to adoption of a win-win temperament, does not think twice about taking advantage of others whenever opportunity presents itself.
If love is naive, the alternative is selfishness, the antithesis of every credible crucible of spirituality.
But first what exactly do we mean by love? For a detailed discussion, check out this post, which engages in extensive discussion of importance of love for meaningfulness of other celebrated virtues such as integrity.
Much more succinctly, love is care not only for one’s welfare, but recognition of and allowance or care for others’ right to self actualization.
Love is care not only for one’s welfare, but recognition of and allowance or care for others’ right to self actualization.
Within this context of definition of love, Aristotle believed in love as essence of interactions within civil society because as the discussion so far demonstrates, pursuit of happiness is no more than a pursuit of love within context of human interactions.
Suppose then we abandon love for selfishness as paradigm for interactions within society. Within this context, we uphold Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Saddam Hussein, and King John of Magna Carta fame etc. as epitomes of lack of naivete for society to emulate.
If any of these examples are anything to go by the only thing that can be said for selfishness is it buys trouble (for itself and others) and attention (fame, popularity) until those who choose love amass enough strength, resources, and success to get rid of the selfish person alongside the selfish person’s objectives.
Selfishness buys trouble (for itself and others) and attention (fame, popularity) until those who choose love amass enough strength, resources, and success for love’s agenda to emerge triumphant.
If Hitler loved his own people, his invasions never would have extended beyond either of Austria or Poland. Those victories would have served as nothing more than bargaining chips for arrival at better terms of life for his people. If Napoleon loved his people, he would not drag them over and over into battle merely to prove his genius. If Saddam Hussein loved his people, once war became inevitable, he would have toned down his rhetoric and made sure it was obvious Iraq no longer had stores of weapons of mass destruction. If King John of Magna Carta fame loved his people, he would not believe divine right implies he can do just about whatever he wants or desires regardless of moral quality or exigency.
Rather than demonstrate love, each of the four persons highlighted dragged lots of people through war, and pains of war with no real purpose other than personal aggrandizement. Hitler’s second world war and the opportunity it presented Japan to join in the war is estimated to have resulted in between 21 to 25 million military casualties, and between 50 to 55 civilian casualties. At a mere 3% of the entire population of the world, war cannot even be regarded as a cost effective approach to effecting reductions in world population.
Highlighted four examples are enough to demonstrate selfishness does not work as basis for interactions within society. What is most important to note here is selfishness of one man or group of people can cause untold levels of pain for the society which tolerates that selfishness.
It was not only Americans and Britons that died during the Second World War. German mothers lost children. German wives lost husbands. German children lost parents. The list is endless.
Whenever a society tolerates selfishness in one man or woman, perhaps a leader, such tolerance results eventually in pain for the people themselves at the very least.
If love is naive and selfishness brings pain and trouble to all, the unselfish inclusive, we have a void for guidance of interactions between people within context of civil society.
Only two choices left, Evil or Good.
But Evil is inherently selfish, and Good is meaningless without love.
Would seem Aristotle indeed was a wise philosopher.
Still think love is naive? Really? Seriously?