When someone acts brusquely towards you, or when someone cuts you off in traffic, remember this:
The way we treat others is a mirror of the way we expect to be treated, and therefore it tells us how we treat ourselves.
The person who treats you rudely deserves compassion, for here is a person who does not truly love him or her self, and who expects that no one else will love them, either.
Music legend Phil Spector was convicted yesterday of murder – as you may know – when what is said to have been a game of Russian Roulette (how did that ever become a ‘game’?) claimed a woman’s life. She was the sixth such woman that we know of on whom Spector inflicted this behavior over a period of years. We’ll probably never know the full truth of what happened five years and one mistrial ago.
It’s tempting to make all sorts of comments about media has-beens with strange behaviors around much younger women. Or we could explore those fantasies of frightening themselves and others, power trips and so on, that Spector seems to have enjoyed.
And that would be to miss a vital point – that Spector and others like him, wrestling with psycho-dramas of anger and sexuality, have easy access to guns in this culture.
Perhaps in Europe, where guns are far more restricted, he’d still have been dangerous, but he wouldn’t have been able to blow off someone’s head on a whim, and so probably would have just been obnoxious rather than deadly.
The man with a gun thinks he’s living out the potent hero archetype, where the simple truth is he just has the money, and the freedom from restriction, to get a deadly weapon and bring it into his own personal emotional swirl. There it acts as a stage prop to ramp up his confusions.
The unstable, the anxious, and the paranoid are problematic enough as it is, but allowing them easy access to guns just doesn’t seem sensible. It’s like giving whiskey and car keys to teenagers and then expecting them not to get into trouble.
If we are to reach peace as a civilized nation we are going to have to address this issue – and others like it – with care and compassion; and quoting a political document written in 1776 may not provide the answers we need.
It’s often a good idea to look past the candy and roses and consider where Valentine’s Day came from. Valentinus, the original St. Valentine, was a Roman citizen who was martyred for performing the then-illegal Christian marriage ceremony. That seems like a pretty idealistic line to take, yet he was convinced that marriage should be a celebration of the divine connection between two people, and not just a legalistic arrangement between two relative strangers. It’s also a long way from the sort of thing ‘his’ day now stands for.
In medieval Europe, St. Valentine’s Day became the day after which it was forbidden to hunt birds. As Geoffrey Chaucer pointed out, birds were far too interested in mating to be anything but easy prey for hungry villagers – and that meant fewer eggs later, and far fewer birds down the line. The phrase ‘love birds’ takes on a whole different meaning once you know that. After all, we’re just like those birds and sex can blind us to all sorts of risks we’d normally be alert to. Still, at the time this was a practical law, not a romantic sympathy for birds.
So just think for a moment – which of us would be prepared to do as Valentine did for the sake of love? And which of us would go down into those catacombs, stuffed with skeletons and mouldering corpses – which was where the early Christians were forced to meet to avoid the authorities – in order to undergo a marriage ceremony that could get us killed? How many of the weddings we see these days take that spiritual connection seriously? It’s a sobering thought.
So let’s remember St Valentine, and let’s also remember the power of love, not just the candy and the schmaltz.
Dr Allan Hunter
The Six Archetypes of Love – from Amazon.com ($11)