RSS

The Case for Love

30 Jan

Not long ago I was asked to learn more about unconditional love in Kemeticism. I figured I’d look through a few Maxims and Wisdom Texts, read a few myths and write a basic paper on what I had found. That if I was lucky, some other Kemetics would read it and go “wow, maybe I should be less of a dick”. That is what I expected. However, reading into unconditional love has changed my world view more than I expected.

When I first started out on this journey, I thought that unconditional love was all about being a doormat. Putting everyone before yourself. Giving into the whims of everyone, despite what it meant for you. Being a “yes man”. This, of course, concerned me. How on earth could anyone or any religion possibly support being a doormat? I began to ask around for ideas and sources from other Kemetics. Looks like they had the same ideas about what unconditional love was and also questioned whether unconditional love existed within Kemeticism. I had my work cut out for me.

However, once I started to actually read about unconditional love, I learned that what most of us consider to be unconditional love is incorrect. It’s less about doing what others want and more about doing what others need. It’s a slight difference in wording, but it’s an important difference. When you enter into a situation, unconditional love asks you to consider all sides. What you need, what the other people in the situation need- and to take the best course of action for the situation. This usually means being even in your judgement. Being fair. And above all, not being a dick. Sometimes the best course of action is politely stepping out of the situation. Sometimes it’s nicely telling the person that they aren’t good for you (costing too many spoons?) and parting ways. Other times it’s putting your own thoughts aside and letting the person learn the hard way (or agreeing to disagree). And even still, sometimes it’s more about putting your foot down and preventing the person from causing more harm. It really is case specific.

If I had to sum it up, it’s all about respect. Respecting yourself and everyone else (and that means everyone on the planet, even that person you can’t stand) – and letting that respect dictate your actions. As I have read in multiple articles, unconditional love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action. You actively choose how to act (or react), and in this case your actions should stem from love, compassion and respect.

In many ways, it’s Ma’at (and the root of FlameKeeping, and probably Shinto, too).

The more I read on the topic, the more I became enamored with it. Something within me said ‘this is important. You need to figure out how to work on this, to be more like this.’ All while the other part of me was screaming ‘BUT I LIKE BEING A JERK! I LIKE MY WILD EMOTIONS!’ And in truth, both are correct. I like that I am okay with my emotions- as much as they might screw me over sometimes. But that is also part of the problem- my emotions cripple me on a regular basis. And the more I read, the more I began to feel that both are the answer. I need to work on using both. Knowing when to let my emotions run loose and when to be more reserved and do what is best for the situation (which ironically, knowing when to let my emotions go falls under this as well).

Once again, this seems to circle back to making my halves whole.

In regards to whether Kemeticism has unconditional love in it, I think the answer is yes. They may not have had a word or phrase for it, and they may not have written about it extensively, but I think it’s there. There are many portions of the Maxims of PtahHotep that relate to being nice. To holding your tongue regardless of the situation (that it would bring you favor and keep you in high regard). That having good friends and family was worth their weight in gold. I think Lichtheim summed it up best:

Taken together, the thirty-seven maxims do not amount to a comprehensive moral code, nor are they strung together in any logical order. But they touch upon the most important aspects of human relations and they focus on the basic virtues. The cardinal virtues are self-control, moderation, kindness, generosity, justice and truthfulness tempered by discretion. These virtues are to be practiced alike toward all people. … The ideal man is a man of peace.

Beyond that, you can look at other mythological stories and see unconditional love. In The Destruction of Mankind Ra regrets his decision to wipe us out. He decides to show us compassion and love by tricking his daughter into getting drunk. In The Contendings, Heru and Set are able to come to amends. They let go of the past and are able to work together. Letting go of hate and turning that into love. In both of these stories, those who were angry eventually got over that anger and forgave the person or people that upset them. I think that this shows unconditional love. While it might not be something that is done OMGRIGHTNOW, it is what everyone eventually works towards. And in so doing, perhaps is what we should all be working towards.

Overall, the concept of unconditional love might not be obvious at first. However, I definitely think that the theme is there. It’s not a huge overarching theme that smacks us in the face, but if you really start to look at the stories, the wisdom literature and ma’at itself, you can see hints of it. Perhaps the gods didn’t feel they needed to hit us upside the head with it, maybe they wanted us to learn how to respect one another on our own. Or maybe they just don’t care 😉  And at the end of it all, perhaps the Kemetic community as a whole could benefit from more unconditional love. Our community has a lot of hostility in it. There is a lot of finger wagging and pointless anger, hate and bickering that really isn’t productive. Could you imagine what it might be like if more people respected each others views? If you could hold a civil conversation with someone about a branch of, or topic in, Kemeticism and not have it turn into a mud slinging contest? Imagine the things we might learn and discover about our own modern form Kemeticism. Things that are currently hidden beneath layers and layers of “I’m better than you” or “you’re doing it wrong”. I know that I’m guilty of everything I’ve just listed and after embarking on this journey as it were, I am tired of being that person. I’m tired of wagging my fingers, filling up with hate and screaming on and on about how people are ‘doing it wrong’. While I might not be Buddha, I can definitely work towards becoming more tolerant, more respectful. A being of peace. A being of unconditional love.

What do all of you think? Do you think that unconditional love existed in ancient Egypt? Do you think that it is something that is lacking in today’s Kemetic practice?

Advertisements
 
12 Comments

Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Kemeticism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 responses to “The Case for Love

  1. Aubs Tea

    January 30, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I honesstly can’t say one way or another if it did exist in Kemet. OTOH, we have the example of human nature to back the theory that it did NOT exist. Or, if it did, it was an archetypal concept that held little to no bearing on the daily lives of the Kemetic populace. But then, we have your comments about ma’at, upholding it, and the knowledge that this concept was the premier of all spiritual and mundane practices. So. I think to some, maybe it held sway. However, probably not to all.

    As for our community. Again, human nature at work.

     
    • von186

      January 30, 2012 at 11:17 am

      I think the problem with that is- we don’t really know what the avg Kemetic person did or believed. There is so little left by them, due to a lack of records. :\

      Perhaps it’s more a case (kinda like in Christianity) where it was an ideal, but wasn’t always met by the populace on a whole. If that is the case, I don’t think it lessens it’s worth. Just gives us a target to shoot for.

      And yes, human nature at work in our community. And once again- I think maybe we (as a community) need a better target to shoot for.

       
  2. Aubs Tea

    January 30, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Reblogged this on Mystical Bewilderment on The Spiritual Turnpike and commented:
    This. Completely. This.

     
  3. Lisa Jo (Taqai) (@DixieJo719)

    January 31, 2012 at 9:54 am

    While I am not a scholar of this sort, and I cant speak with references and footnotes, I do believe that Ancient Egypt had unconditional love. In the same examples you referenced with the gods, all of Them embody facets of unconditional love in Their own special way. From tough love to forgiveness to working it out to just lovelovelove. It’s there.

    I’d like to think that unconditional love also exists in today’s practices, probably in some of the same ways it existed in Ancient Egypt. We’re flawed human beings, and many of us come with preconceptions and predispositions due to being raised in another religion. But I think there is a lot that can be learned from the myths and stories of our gods about unconditional love and what that means (or doesn’t mean).

    I don’t think it’s lacking in today’s practices, but it is definitely something we can always strive for more of.

    It is a fascinating exercise, to be sure, to find a way to love someone even though you want to throttle their neck. But it is worth it. 🙂

    – Taqaisenu

     
    • von186

      January 31, 2012 at 9:56 am

      “In the same examples you referenced with the gods, all of Them embody facets of unconditional love in Their own special way. From tough love to forgiveness to working it out to just lovelovelove. It’s there.”

      This is also very very true and a very good point :3

       
  4. Shefyt

    January 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    This is a great post. I do think that unconditional love existed in ancient Egypt; as Taqai said, the Gods embody it, and in trying to connect and come closer to the Gods, I would imagine that the people, or at least some of them, would come to embody it too.

    “My perfume goes to You, O Netjer; may Your perfume come to me….”

    And as far as the modern community goes, I think unconditional love is a wonderful goal and a very, very good thing to hold in our minds and hearts. (Or at least try to, since none of us is perfect. ^_^)

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: