Objectivity and love

Some people, when they need a concept that represents that which transcends the individual, reach for objectivity.

Unfortunately the popularization of science has done to the word “objectivity” what the popularization of Christianity did to the word “love”. Both idea have had their elusive precision rolled through the filth of language and life for so long that they have become dung-balls of emotional and conceptual associations. In Jung’s language they’ve become “concrete”. (Concrete: con– ‘together’ + crescere ‘grow.’)

Objectivity transcends the individual when, through dialogue, it binds people together in its pursuit of agreement on what is.

When objectivity becomes simply the obvious “what is” that is comprehended when one glances at stuff, it not only does not transcend the individual, it constricts and isolates the individual.

Only when science is conceived as a method for pursuing one particular kind of knowledge does it produce something transcendent. When science degrades into a reductionistic metaphysic — materialism — it produces vulgarity, or rather, it stops resisting vulgarity.

When love becomes the emotion that overtakes people when they become attracted to some other, it not only fails to transcend the other, it causes individuals to fixate not on the other’s otherness, but on what the other arouses within the individual.

Only when love is conceived as the practice of pursuing the sharing of being does it produce something transcendent. When love degrades into stimulation of one’s own roiling emotions through pursuit of interchangeable others, one’s involvements become more and more self-involved.

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