if you were a forest, what kind would you be?
well, do you want to be young, productive, organized, focused, financially valuable and really maximizing your potential?
that's the first picture. and thank you, we are all buying your standardized lumber from your standardized timber so we can fit standard homes and the building standards they require to ensure our standard of living.
I'm not condemning tree farms. do you believe me? I just don't want them to occupy so much land. and I also want to make a plight for a certain kind of love.
I love old oak trees. I love them so deeply that I feel like I'm exploding with spiritual ecstasy when I look at them. it has enormeous value to me. if I was buying property I would value this tree at $60,000. which means I would rather give up a house, big pond, a giant greenhouse, a tractor with backhoe, you name it, stuff of that value, just to be close to such a tree.
love of the essence of another thing.
the oak tree has "oaky" quality to it. and its reflected consistently in its form, leaves, smell, moss, shade pattern, bark, and probably more etherial ways that I can't mention. a mature oak gives such a feeling of vitality and magic that it belongs to what I'm referring to as "essentialist love". I don't love it for its attributes; its not the lumber, its not the shade, its not the shape, that is, you can't replace it with a plastic tree to inspire the same feeling in me.
what's the opposite of essentialist love? lets call it attributional love. the love of attributes. for example, I could say "I love my car because of its acceleration and leather seats" and that means that give me any car with similar attributes for the same price and I should love it too. same with love of your insurance company, cellphone, and usually restaurants. keep the attributes, change the essence and no change in feelings.
so I'm going to posit something unusual here:
we live in a world, and especially a country which is very low on essentialist love.
doesn't the picture above resemble the first tree farm picture?
how do I know this?
as a general rule, the characters in american movies are not lovable in an essentialist kind of way. they might be sexy, acting tough, heroic, or maybe super lucky, but they are superficial characters that you wouldn't learn to love if they weren't in the middle of an action scene. in many foreign films, you can find a blatant disregard to generic plot formula or even coherence, but the protagonist often seem to have depth of personality. it doesn't even have to be good or bad, it simply becomes familiar to you as you watch the film
another way that I know this to be true is from my conversations with people. I've often mentioned in passing how much I love certain people. and I've gotten a response of "Oh, you mean romantically???" when I say no, they respond with "so what do you mean? you are not even really friends with them, why do you love them so much?" or they might ask "what is it about them that you love?" to me, that's a very frustrating question. people are so complex, its like being asked what it is that I love about a favorite song. I can tell you, but you wouldn't get it. and if you did, well then its not essentialist love.
I suppose I really lack in attributional love too. I can't love my family just because of their familial attributes. there are some people in my family that I love and others that I don't. I don't know how some people are able to love all their cousins, nephews, and nieces so indescriminantly, and they don't love any other kids that they meet at the playground.
what does this have to do with community?
I'm perceiving something very scary to me in our society
a society that ignores essential love and focuses on "desired attributes" such as attractiveness, success, politeness, and intelligence is ultimately ignoring what makes people and things deeply lovable.
notice how so many of the people you meet are "nice" at best? people are not even expected to show much personality. its so creepy, when you meet people they ask about your attributes rather than asking things like "when did you have to forgive, though you weren't ready for it?" "what's something that people don't understand about you?" "would you get along with yourself?"
"what's your most unexplained feeling?" instead they ask "whe're you from?" "what do you do for living?"
so that's the bottom line of this post. I think people are not very loving, and not very lovable.
if you try to design the perfect tree you end up with the first picture. you create "convenience" or "perfection" how would you like to be described by your romantic partner as "convenient and perfect" it turns you into a checklist of attributes and removes your soul.
and not surprisingly, that's what people go for on match sites. people describe their attributes like they were nutrition facts on their package. they don't actually express, the way a healthy oak knows to express itself.
I'm not angry,
I just have love reserves that can't find recipients.