When a man and his wife with a six month year old baby decide to commit an act of savage murder of more than a dozen innocent souls, I wonder about their relationship and what that meant. Indeed, love is all about relationships. Love it seems to me requires first and foremost a relationship with the life source within others and that would prohibit an intentional taking of that life. The line from the play is: “I have since come to understand that life exists in each of us in a tangible form, and that the essence of who we are beyond this physical body exists.”
Love in a more benign discussion is about being in relation with someone in a way that your and their essence become intertwined. Again the line from the show is “I am the other half that which makes Susan and me complete.” Love really means a relationship that enables our own spiritual selves to become inextricably intertwined with that of another so that we are spiritual “one.”
This oneness does not happen quickly. It is a product of years of intimacy and commitment. One becomes loved and in-love through a journey not just of years but of shared life experiences.
The murders in San Bernardino remind us that the word “love” is often used to mean some form of commitment to an ideology of faith, or country, or cause. Even the willingness to die for that cause.
I would argue that is NOT what love really means. It is not possible to love without the time and devotion to a relationship that reveals the essence and interconnects you to the other. This is also true in the relationship between a human and things or causes. Martin Buber expresses in his seminal work I and Thou the duality of people and their relationships between the physical and tangible elements of the world and the ethereal or “Thou” aspect of the other. This is true in terms of relationships between two people, between a person and a cause and between a person and his or her God.
So no, a 28 year old man and a 27 year old woman who murder are motivated by some other emotion, perhaps mistaken for love. It occurs to me that people in their teens and twenties easily confuse passion with love. People, particularly young people, can be tricked by passion. The line from the play is: “I don’t think two 20 year olds really understand what love means.”
Maturity involves the deep engagement and exploration and senses of humility that leads to the grace of oneness with the other, the experience of the presence of the divine essence of who or what you love.
Once that happens, then when the time comes to lose the one you love, you take them in your arms and hold them as together you dance The Actual Dance. A blessing and a gift to allow one half of yourself to escape to its origins as you grant them the ultimate gift of release in peace. The line from the play is: "The Actual Dance is the ultimate consummation of our love"