Love is a Many Splendored Thing – An alternative message on Valentine’s Day

This post is dedicated to BT — Business Team Group, Inc., a business-selling firm in California; Ian MacLachlan (President), Donald Baum (Managing Partner), William Kramer (broker)

(More on these folks later…)


As Madame President (inside joke; to be explained later) I hereby decree this day — Valentine’s Day February 14, 2017NO NEGATIVITY DAY!

No stinking up the joint (especially with inane demands).
No smothering the positive vibe (especially with with ripoff schemes).
No throwing shade (especially with money-grubbing antagonism).

For me personally I will not allow anyone or anything (sinister clowns, worms, lawyers, dirty laundry) to spoil my day. Because in addition to Valentine’s Day, it’s also my anniversary. This year: Number 20.


A pox on all the people who don’t celebrate this day. But I have a feeling they are already poxxed up. Those poor souls are missing out. Love in all its many forms is transformative.

Contrary to what Hallmark and the mass media peddle, this day is not necessarily about eros–Greek for romantic, physical love. One can celebrate another Greek word: philia–brotherly love–the opposite of Americans screwing over other Americans.

Or ludus–playful love–like affection for a puppy. Or pragma–longstanding love–a mature feeling that’s developed between long-time couples. You can fall in love, but for the relationship to last (like twenty years), you need to learn how to “stand in love.” This concept represents giving rather than receiving.

The love that should get the most press is agape. It is the most radical iteration. C.S. Lewis called it the highest form, a “gift love.” Buddhists call it a “universal loving kindness.” A key component is empathy, which is in short supply these days, which does not bode well for a functional society.

Agape creates the kind of society where everyone values the well-being of others and living in harmony. Agape represents an acknowledgement of a shared human identity. It redefines our societal definitions of success. No where does it mention the “value” of a dishonest pursuit of money by inflicting misery on honest hardworking people. Greed is not part of the formula.

Gandhi embraced the concept of agape in what he called the “noblest use of love.” He said: “Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love into the center of our lives.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Agape is the love of God operating in the human heart…it means understanding, redeeming good will for all men…it is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return.” King was influenced by Gandhi’s monumental accomplishment of defeating an entrenched oppressive brutal British government using “soul force.” The power of “soul force” levels the playing field. You don’t need the biggest arsenal (weapons; money; lawyers) for the nice little guy to be able to vanquish the bad big guy.

When Jesus preached to love one’s enemies: agape love. The parable of the Good Samaritan: agape love. The best example of agape: sacrificial love — soldiers on the battlefield.

The last kind of love, philautia, is love of self. This is the trickiest variation as without a moral backbone it can morph from the healthy version–that which enhances your wider capacity to love–into the unhealthy version: narcissism and an obsession with personal fame and fortune. Beware the consequences of misguided philautia that turns one into a BT person: a Butt Tucker.

Nowhere in the definitions of love is there an ode to money. In fact, there are worldwide-held beliefs that the “love of money” is a precursor to evil.

If you ain’t got nuthin’ to love–a partner, friend, family, community, a pet, a plant, an ideal–you’re not trying very hard. You don’t have to be Greek to get it. To love is not a passing feeling. It is an act of will. And where there’s a will, there’s a way.

So long live LOVE. The perfect antidote to whatever ails you. Cue John, Paul, George, and Ringo: Take it away, lads!
“All you need is love — (dah dah dah duh duh) — love is all you need.”

In all its many splendored ways.

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