Funny thing happened last night as I was finishing up my dinner. Xy was fiddling with something in the back yard, Persephone was having an ice pop on the deck, and I was alone at the dinner table with a second plate of tacos and my second glass of Malbec and I was overwhelmed by a feeling which I can only describe as universal love. Mild intoxication, yes, but something more.
Do you know the feeling I mean? A feeling of uncritical, undifferentiated good will toward all. I suspect everybody feels this from time to time. At least I hope so. That would make it universal in two ways: a love for all and from all.
I did what any 21st century global villager would do. I grabbed my phone and posted up a tweet:
Not to get all sappy, but sometimes there’s so much love I’m afraid my heart will burst. I love my family, my city, my life.
We live in an age of universal connectivity, or so we sometimes pretend. In reality, access is stratified just like our social structures. And I wonder how sustainable this high-tech culture really is. But leaving aside these misgivings — I had to share the love. I had to throw that sentiment out into the mix. It was immediately re-tweeted on Twitter and liked by a bunch of folks on Facebook and one person even thanked me for posting it.
And that made me realize just how rare such expressions are. At least in my circles. And that seems like a shame, because there’s something profound and important at the heart of this that we need to reflect upon. I mean, does anyone really think we have too much love in our world?
And where does this feeling arise from, anyhow? And how did I get here, of all people? I, compared to a robot in my youth, unemotional, Spock-like. I, the misanthrope, so often sickened and disgusted by the folly of humanity. One evening not long ago, I remarked that as much as I decried our radical individualism, I also participate in it; that although some part of me yearns to be a part of a tradition one basic problem I have with any organized religion is that, in a nutshell, “People suck.” How have I come to this?
Sometimes, on our recent trip for example, I have felt uncomfortable — scratch that, I’ve felt downright bad — because I don’t seem to love my family as I ought. My sister is effusive; my parents, reserved; I take after my parents. But maybe I’ve got the problem backwards. It’s not that I love my sister less than everyone else.
At least for a while last night, I wanted to honor the whole human race as part of my extended family. Let me call you sister. Let me take the world in a love embrace. I don’t understand this mystery but I can feel it flowing through me.
If you’re still with me, here’s a blast from the past. Sorry, no Steppenwolf.