Love, Charity, Gift

Our political life is trapped in the old testament. We offer up our tithe to the state, to welfare, to war. The sword answers our unwillingness to give. Even love, when made into law, becomes violent.

      We have yet to reach something equivalent to the new testament, in which the cup, once full, begins to run over.

      Charity collected in fear will breed more fear. Real charity takes place when one offers a sacrifice with no concern as to whether or not it will be returned. One gives a bit of lamb's fat, food or clothing, a few coins or a large check, even the greatest sentiment. Trust is established when both parties can determine the perimeters of the reciprocity of their gift exchange (or even the lack thereof). Community is trust in action. Love, however, is the ultimate freedom. To love without the expectation of reciprocity is to be unbound. The sun offers up its sustenance, its warmth, its life-giving provision, and will burn itself up in this relentless charity.

      The philosophy of nothingness deals heavy blows to the illusions of life, but it doesn't go nearly as far as the philosophy of bottomlessness. Man's set duration to expend energy is the ultimate modern myth. Our conception of tragedy is tied up with the limitations ingrained and measurable, not in man's physical body, but in the very spirit the secular world denies him. We believe in spirit more than we ever have before, however, like most religious residue found within the fatty deposits of secularism, it returns in an all new harried form. Man's spirit is, today, a fragile piece of utility. We fear exhaustion, psychological trauma, wounds, aging, loss, failure and lack of control. Life evades us even as we try to keep fragments of it from slipping away.

      To be free, all of life must be seen, at once, as a free sacrifice and a gift. We give it away as it gives itself to us. We are freed when we stop treating life like a burden we must carry, but rather, a gift to be passed on to another. Love is an investment that may only eventuate in some distant day, long after one has expired. Its subtle workings act with time. It treats all of life as though every one of its smallest seeds will reach completion. Rilke recoiled in horror from love, for he knew how violent the faith that it requires is. To forgive love is to forgive an enormous audacity--the audacity to give the solitude of experience its total absolution; to form a mimetic community which transcends the limits of death.

      Love performs an active function which, in the karmic doctrine, is only passive. The act performed out of love is a truly unfettered act, as it is performed for its own sake.