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Essay: "Love"

by Gilbert M. Davila
Love is a very powerful and dangerous emotion. I can't even begin to fathom the numerous lives that have been destroyed--directly and/or indirectly--in the name of love. And yet there are still these individuals who try to impress upon us their insane ideological belief that we should employ a 'love thy neighbor as you love yourself' philosophy in our lives.

An article that I read in The Echo (Texas prison newspaper) last October comes to mind. In this particular article the writer naively opines that to 'love thy neighbor as you love yourself is the best rule to live by.' I am sure that his intentions were for the best, but this environment (prison) is not some make-believe land of milk and honey. If anyone is serious and I mean serious enough to actually believe that a 'love thy neighbor as you love yourself' philosophy is in fact the best rule to live by in this predatorily dog-eat-dog world that is our reality--then I can only conclude that one's romantic optimism is exceeded only by one's inability to see either the ridiculousness, or the actual danger (that is imminent) in such a fanciful belief.

Should anyone really subscribe to such nonsense and risk placing themselves at the mercy of a neighbor (potential enemy) by exercising an indiscriminant effort to love them as you love yourself? After all, how many times have you 'shown love' to a homeboy (girl), neighbor, friend, or even a family member, only to have the proverbial knife thrust deep into your defenseless back?

Surely, every man and woman residing in prison now, and in times past, are well-aware (or should be) of the scandalous, devious machinations (referred to as 'game') that every, psychic vampire--masquerading as a friend and/or neighbor--will attempt to impose upon those that open wide the door of gullibility. And what better way to open that door than to remove it completely from its hinges by adopting some pious philosophy of 'love-all' that is better suited for a romance novel.

Besides, love is an emotion that should not be distributed freely like so much state-soap and toothpowder. It is a deep, intimate, heartfelt feeling that should be reserved for the dearest people in our respective lives. And sadly, even then it's not always reciprocated. This gives even more validity to the logical reasoning behind the words of Anton Szandor Savey that go: "if anything is used too freely it loses its true meaning. Therefore, you should love strongly and completely those who deserve your love"

Although I would venture to say that even more deaths have been caused in the name of love than hate, I do not deny that love can also produce never-ending happiness, comfort, and tranquility. That is a unique 'unconditional' love, a TRUE love.

I have been fortunate in having experienced that divine love via the love bestowed upon me by my children and my mother. Why they continue to shower me with such unreserved love I do not know. What I do know is that although my actions (i.e. being in and out of jail) speak differently, my love for them is equally unconditional. A fact that they are aware of.

The love provided by my mother and children is more than enough to sustain me and keep me from succumbing to the weight of my sentence. However, I've been single for a long time, and I readily and shamelessly admit that I yearn for a 'special someone' that can fill that particular void in my life. Someone that I can love, and who will reciprocate that love. I am certain that most of us--if not all--do.

But I don' let that desire blind me. I am a man that does, can, has, and will love unconditionally. Yet I guard my love, and I will only grant my love on an individual basis. Not on some exotic 'love all' philosophy that, in reality, isn't love at all. What is so unique about indiscriminate love? Randomly forced love will only serve to lessen one's true feelings. And frankly, show me a person who professes to love one and all, as totally and completely as he loves himself, and I'll show you hypocrisy at its finest.

Being sympathetic to another is not love. Kindness is not love. Courtesy is not love. And charity is certainly not love. None of those are even acts of love, if you ask me. Better put: they DO NOT define love. Maybe that's where the misconception lies.

We can be --and should be--all of the above. At least to those deserving of it (lets face it, not everyone is appreciative. There are many snakes lying, in wait to strike). But let's not confuse any of the above with 'love.' Because when it comes to love--TRUE LOVE--there is no comparison.