The heart is an involuntary muscle. It doesn't matter how strong your mind is, your heart will love as many people as it can handle. And it will surprise you at its elasticity, despite your mind saying you have no more room in your life for more friends.
I WROTE THE ABOVE, AS A FACEBOOK POST THE OTHER DAY, SINCE I HAVE BEEN THINKING A GREAT DEAL ON THE EFFECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA, AND ESPECIALLY ON MY LIFE IN PARTICULAR.
I was asking myself, whether or not I should consider cancelling, or at least limiting my time spent on facebook, and emails and web browsing. You see: I am unhappy, or at least my 'calm is disturbed' with a great deal that I see or hear on the internet. An electronic free zone was beginning to look more and more enticing to me. I am old enough to remember what life was like without iphones and internet. I spent a great deal of time reading, and playing board games with friends, and making muzak. Now, people I want to spend time with are far away, and the only time I communicate with them is online.
I speak to my children 90% online. I do a great deal of business online. I procure new business using the same methods like kijiji or other online sources. I edit my websites with new information and media.
And I play computer games to stop my ADD mind a lot.
I know it sounds like a great deal of time, but I can do most of this in about two hours a day. But even so, I believe that a few things have happened to me in the last year, that is pulling me away from this online addiction.
1: I enjoy spending time looking at people's faces. I like talking to people and hearing the timbre of their voices. I like watching their body language. We talk about deep issues, and when people do not know a lot about the subject at hand, they feel safe to say so. I love the hugs. I love the smiles. I love the clink ofthe cup on the table, or the soft music playing in the background as we laugh or discuss the past week. I love the fellowship. I seldom get these feelings when I am online.
2. I do not like politics or world events being force fed to me. I have been out of sorts with the current agendas of governments around the world. Fear mongoring and violence that are thrown into my face, when all I want to do is study or talk to people. Instead of the most important issues, like the environment or misuse of oil and GMO's, the governments seem to care more about an unknown terrorist group or what politician will be attacked by the media. Not only am I supremely tired of the barrage of posts about this garbage, but I feel depressed about current events, when all around me are wonderful people, and wonderful things are happening. I need to stop the influx of useless info entering my brain. I remember a wise man telling me in my youth, that I need to monitor very carefully, the images and info coming into my head. Because it will influence me in ways that I may not realize and hurt my clear thinking. If nothing else...my peace will be gone. I always remembered that, and I have noticed the hijacking of modern social media by governments and ad companies and the social media people themselves. I click on an article about homesteading, and when I am redirected inside the facebook browser to a page, I am attacked by an onslaught of ads...the same ads that came up when I clicked on an article about a singer! Totally unre;ated, yet the sames ads and other crap thrown in my face! Either google or another company has hijacked all the blog pages on the internet. Or the authors who make them have sold their souls.
3. Friends are liabilities. Albeit, wonderful to have, but a drain on all our resources. Like my opening statement, the heart has a great capacity to love and fill itself with an abundance of people to care about. But is that wise? Is it healthy? How can we safeguard our hearts?
First let us define the heart. The greeks believed that the 'heart' was very different than Hollywood or Hallmark cards believe it to be. The greeks understood Love to have many aspects. The Heart was the 'seat of the mind and the will'. Let that sink in. It wasn't a depository of 'love emotion'...it was the Mind and the Will. Let not your 'heart' be troubled.
Let's face it: No one really understands the heart. But the 'heart' is not a pumping muscle, in this sense, nor is it a ethereal box with all our emotions in them. I think it best to describe the heart, as we should understand it, as the place we we consciously decide to show care and affection. But our heart sometime bypasses the mind in it's decision to love a person. The mind says 'NO!!!' but the heart says 'Yes". How does that work? Wiser men than I have wrestled with that one, so I will leave it alone. But suffice it to say: I have seen great altruism in the most unexpected places, love shown in many different forms, quite unexpectedly, and have been floored by it. I had to minimize my friend list on facebook, because I realized I cannot allow the influence of so many people I never meet to destroy my peace. Now, I have 60 friends instead of 280. It has done wonders for my peace of mind. I suggest you try it. Love, by the understanding of the Greeks, was defined by five catagories. I think you should learn them.
a: Agape... (a gap ay)Undeserved favour. This means that at a party, you go talk to a person that is being ignored. Or you say sorry to end an argument, even though it really wasn't you that started it. My wife does that a lot for me. I believe this is the finest love in the world. It may be spurred on by emotion, but it is mainly a decision, and the results are incredible.
b: Storge... (store gay)Storge or affection is a wide-ranging force which can apply between family members, friends, pets and owners, companions or colleagues; it can also blend with and help underpin other types of tie such as passionate love or friendship. This is the kind of love I see displayed on social media.
c: Phileos... (feel e os)It is a love which consists of the glow of the heart kindled by the perception of that in the object which affords us pleasure. It is the response of the human [soul] to what appeals to it as pleasurable... The word was used to speak of a friendly affection. It is a love called out of one in response to a feeling of pleasure or delight which one experiences from an apprehension of qualities in another that furnish such pleasure or delight. Like brotherly love. (Philedelphia-the city of brotherly love)
d: Eros... (ear os)Refers to “intimate love” or romantic love. Erotic comes from that word. It is the love between lovers or a married couple. It is the stirrings of the hormones more than the mind. Hollywood loves eros, and makes the mistake of using eros instead of Agape in many instances. It thinks that, and many others do as well, eros can replace agape, but it cannot. War can prove that for me. I have seen men show more loyalty and affection for a man at arms that fought with them in combat (phileo),
than for a woman they are married to. Eros is not that powerful or long lasting, and hollywood does a diservice teaching otherwise.
e: Mania... (main e ah)This one should be self evident in it's word construction. Mania...maniac, intense longing to the point of losing control. Manic love is almost not a love at all. The word “lust” is probably not strong enough – “obsession” is closer to the word. This is the love of possession. I “mania” that which I obsessively desire to own. It is generally seen as taking over the “lover” like insanity – thus the connection to modern concepts of madness (kleptomania, pyromania). It is like the opposite of a phobia – an obsessive need to avoid something. “Mania” is translated as “madness” and “beside yourself”
Let me summerize. Few things in life are more important than true love (“except maybe for a nice MLT: mutton lettuce and tomato sandwich…”)
I am no Greek scholar, but I am passing on what I have been taught and what I understand about these words and concepts. I also wanted to make sure that this discussion allows you to get some insight into how to apply this understanding to your life…So when someone says “I love you,” you can try to figure out what they mean! Especially what it means that GOD loves you… and God does love you, by the way.
Language can tell you a great deal about a culture and that culture’s priorities –likr the the Inuit (Eskimos) are said to have nearly thirty words for “ice” which describe various colors, textures, and uses, among other things (I don’t know if this is true or not, by the way). Any group of adults in Canada can probably come up with that many words for money. However, we tend to use the same word to describe many different aspects of this concept of love. We love our mothers, pizza, baseball, spouses and children, all the time using the same word to describe these relationships! The one word: love, cannot be meant the same way in all these situations.
I used to get upset at folks online. I don't anymore. I let it go. Because unless someone has invested in me the same as I have invested in them, the relationship, for the most part, is useless and invalid. So when perusing your newsfeed on facebook, I think this may help you. Or you can be like me, and limit your time there. I think you may find a peace you have been looking for that you lost about 8 years ago, when facebook came online. I wish you good fortune in doing so. I wonder if I should love less; if I should accept fewer souls into my life. Our society and social connections have expanded exponentially in recent years, and I don’t think our physical bodies and emotional abilities can possibly keep pace. If I narrowed my world to a tiny sphere, like the members of my community may have had 150 years ago, it would be easier to take care of each person in my life like a true friend.