This philosopher in her book The Sublime and the Good from 1959, defines love just as being alerted to the fact that something other than you is real. The other person is real. The person is as real as you even though you cannot prove this 100%.  This links love and truth.  The person is to be loved for the person is a person in truth and is real. 

She wrote, that the essence of art and morals is love. “Love is the perception of individuals. Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real. Love and so art and morals, is the discovery of reality.” She thinks that being self-obsessed is a neurosis, a disorder of the mind.  It in fact would be an example of a highly functional person having a psychosis.

If so she has succeed in showing that the person who puts self first and kicks a dog or starts a war is not well and so talk of justice is a mistake.  She would show that all of us are just hypocrites who pretend to love sinners.  She would show that we exact revenge on criminals and pretend it is virtuous justice.  God would have to be to blame for that for it is too excessive.  It is easy for a bad God or bad Jesus to preach love for people when they know nobody will listen but pretend they do.  Calling anybody evil or sinful would be slander.

Some complain that her idea is no better than defining maths as love. If she is guilty of making a guess not an argument then she is self-eliminating. She is self-refuting. Most argue that love and truth are different things but that you cannot have love unless you serve truth. Without trust there is no way to be fair. This is not the same thing as saying that love is just seeing your neighbour as real as yourself.

Clearly even if she is wrong it matters little for love and truth are very intertwined.

Seeing a person as real and calling that love tells us nothing about what we should do for them. My boulder is real but that doesn’t mean I have to wash it and look after it like it was something special.  What if you let the plague run rampant for God says the good vaccine you have created seems good but down the line it will be worse to use it?  Maybe it does something unexplainable to DNA when you reach middle-age so that you are better off without it. 

She challenged Sarte who built his ideas about being loved rather than loving. But it has been shown that she has the same problem in reverse for it is all about loving rather than being loved. In that she is like St Francis of Assisi who wanted you not to think of being loved but just to love.  If it is true that you cannot change other people then Francis made sense.  But Francis said God can change other people and you must ask him.  So you have to try to be loved in the sense that you have God in you and show God.  God is intimately joined to you and in your heart.  Whoever does not love you according to the First Letter of John does not love God.

To want to be loved rather than to love is not what love of humankind is about.  To love and not care if you are loved or not is also not what love of humankind is about if it is true that people find their true good selves and their soul in loving others.  This tension cannot be resolved. Love is nice to write about but its not the useful sensible thing it is made out to be.

People worship a version of love not love.  They even say God is love so they turn it into God.  They make this god in their own image.

The person who holds that love is love deserves more respect than the one trying to say that God is love.  That is just a step too far.


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