Ethos: The distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.(Merriam-Webster.com)
Guiding beliefs about love must be a very good thing. I believe, not.
Love is the absence of judgment. (The Dalai Lama XIV, Goodreads.com)
For many months, I researched, considered, reflected, and wrote on the topic of love beyond the erotic. I learned some things and shared a few with you. Then, I stumped myself with the presentation of one love dilemma. I found it to be a logical razor, and I cut myself.
For another year, I contemplated that razor of love’s dilemmas, and I have come to a conclusion: Love is a personal adventure.
Sure, there are rules to love just as there are rules to gravity and time. We just don’t know them all. In fact, though we have studied them for millennia, we still know only a little.
This is where fact meets myth.
We build our individual, institutional, and cultural belief systems to comfort us in our fog of fear and doubt. We promote and defend our belief systems with rhetorical devices of logos, pathos, and ethos. We make elaborate logical arguments, appeal to emotions and sentiment, and claim authority of knowledge and wisdom, i.e. ethos. We generate myths as we assert that our beliefs are not only good, but that they are superior to other belief systems. We pass judgment on the ethos of another and the people, institutions, and cultures claiming them.
Sorry, folks, but that is not love.
Maybe we have it all backwards. Maybe our Earthly goal, the prime purpose of life, is not to use all we know to make some sense out of time, gravity, and love. Maybe we could be healthier, wealthier, and wiser if we used our experiences with eternity, falling, and loving to build our beliefs rather than the other way around. Anyway, that is what I am proposing to do. For the next year, I am devoting myself to using love, time, and maybe a little gravity, to inform and build my belief system.
I will need your help.
Love is a personal adventure, but it is not a solo journey. The adventure, the meaning, is in the relationships. We learn from each other if and only if we are open to considering something outside our personal, cultural, or institutional belief systems, open to changing our minds, open to living “Beyond Ethos.”