Who will it be?

If I am not my brother’s keeper,

Then who will be?

If I am not the one who acts certain

Amidst uncertainty,

Then who will be?

If I am not the one who came here

To keep you company,

To keep you warm,

To make you smile,

On Earth and beyond,

Then who will be?

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Love

What if the mightiest word is love? —Elizabeth Alexander

There is no word that we have mistreated as much as “love”. The very fact that we need to use the pleonasm”unconditional love” makes it clear that we have forgotten its true meaning.

Love is always unconditional. If not, it isn’t love, but an expression of the merchant’s mind, of poor baby-ism. Love forgets the self as a woman lifts a car to save her child. Love blocks an army as one single man stands in their way. Love is the only force in the universe capable of stopping death itself in its tracks.

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There is nothing flimsy, hippielike, or tepid about love. And there is certainly a difference between being in love and loving something or someone. True love is always a conscious decision, and not a random impulse that leaves us helpless. Love is for the warrior in us, and warriors are never helpless.

Take away love and our earth is a tomb. —Robert Browning

If we are going to keep using that word instead of finding an alternative, then we need to repeat it until we strip it of its current social meaning and restore it to its original power.

Because true love is actually true power, the best kind there is. It is the most formidable weapon one can imagine, and the only thing that brings relief at the definitive moment when we have to drop our social veneer and face that eternity out there.

It is love that destroys worlds and love that creates them over again. You don’t mess with love. You can’t buy it, you can’t kill it, you can’t use it for any petty personal purpose. Nostalgia is the self-serving antithesis of love, because it drives us away from the treasures of the present, and love is always here and now.

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Love is that barbaric “Yawp!” and that tender kiss on the forehead, right between the eyes. It is that explosion of light in the pineal gland at the exact instant of dying and that supernova of zinc right at the moment of conception.

People sing “All you need is love“, but that doesn’t make sense. Love is the absence of need. It only shows its face when you don’t even need it anymore, when you truly let go. You only love someone when you don’t require him or her to be present, or to be your sexual property, or to love you back. You love in silence, with a soft smile.

You will find love in the eyes of a lion bringing down its prey, and in the prey’s last scream on Earth, but you won’t find it in many of our idiotic “love songs”.

Love is fierce, but impersonal; ruthless, but non-judgmental; sweet, but not complacent. Love is life’s triumph and the real measure of intelligence. It is awareness.