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Love Centered Ethics

Synopsis: An ‘ethic’ to contemplate; what pilots your life?; personal questions; what’s an ethic?; what’s love?; ascendant life?; who are the who?; the ‘siblinghood’ of life; a very long look; anti-love ethics; and what’s it all got to do with your life?


The Ethic:
All those who love, can love, or may love are worth treating with love!

What Pilots Your Life?

Do you have major guiding principles or ethics by which you steer your life?  If you do, does love have a major role to play in your principles and the way you pilot your life?  A growing body of research results point to those people who live by one or more major love ethics doing better at just about everything having to do with happiness, health, well-being and general life success.

Especially are those who live by a major love ethic likely to do well in all sorts of relationships including the one they have with themselves.  With that in mind, let me suggest you consider that the above ethic, and similar love teachings and tenets become prime guiding principles of your life.  Let me also suggest that the more you live by a ‘prime love ethic’ the more you are likely to experience life ascendancy.

But beware.  Let me warn you that just thinking about this and similar love-centered tenets having to do with healthy, real love might just change your life in large and unexpected ways.  Furthermore, talking about this with those dearest to you has occasionally been known to totally change the direction relationships take so, yes indeed, do beware.

Personal Questions

Now for a few personal questions.  Suppose you seriously and deeply consider the above love ethic, what might that actually lead to in your life?  By extension, what might you seriously considering the above love ethic do for those who inhabit your life?  Would living by this love ethic cause you to change the way you treat other people in your work?  Could you use this ethic to improve and enrich the way you relate to people in your personal life?  How about your fun, recreation and play life?  To help think about that let’s define a few terms.

What is an ‘Ethic?

An ethic, as used here, is a concept of a ‘goodness’.  It has to do with what is considered to be a moral principle, a value, something to guide your life by, a part of a theory of desirable behavior, a tenet of what is understood and conceived of as ‘right’ as opposed to ‘wrong’ in the general societal ethos of humanity or for humanity.

What is Love?

We are using our standard, working definition of love discussed at length in the definition of love section on this site.  In short form our working definition of love goes like this:

“Healthy real love is
A powerful, vital, natural process of
Highly valuing, desiring for,
Often acting for, and taking pleasure in
The well being of the loved.”

Included in what we mean by love are the five functions of love (see “A Functional Definition of Love”) and the eight major groups of direct behaviors which have been found to convey love along with the four larger general categories of love action (see “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love”) .  These are discussed at length in The Definition of Love Series elsewhere on this site.  As a reminder the major functions of love, in brief form, are: To Connect Us, To Nurture Us, To Protect Us, To Heal Us and To Reward Us with Joys.  The eight groups of behavior that convey love are titled: Tactile Love, Verbal Love, Expressional Love, Gifting Love, Affirmation Love, Self-disclosure Love, Tolerational Love, and Receptional Love.

What Is Ascendant Life?

Ascendant life means a life that is getting better, becoming elevated and uplifted, going from lesser to greater, proceeding to a higher state of development, and a life becoming more enriched.  It also refers to a life in which obstacles are being overcome, difficulties surmounted, healing and health is occurring, and healthy life goals are being attained.

Who Are the ‘Who’?

Who loves, can love and may love probably includes everyone you encounter, have anything to do with or may influence.  It also includes YOU.  You may wish to become freshly aware of the ancient, timeless teachings about love, teachings such as: “Love your neighbor, and others, as you love yourself”, “Love your enemy”, “Have compassionate love for all life”, “Family love and fealty are essential”, “Love life and the life force that permeates us all”, “The broader your reach of love the higher your standing with that which loves us all”, “Without love we are as nothing” and “Faith, hope and love abide as the greatest ways of life, but the greatest of these is love”.  There are many more that have come down to us through the ages from the religions and philosophies of the world.  Don’t they all point to the ‘who to love?’ answer being – EVERYONE.

The ‘Siblinghood’ of Life

In addition to all people you have anything to do with or may influence, you may want to add the other creatures who do love, can love and may love.  The available scientific evidence says those likely include all large primates (perhaps all primates), dogs who give love best of all species, according to some, horses, elephants, dolphins, whales and actually maybe all mammals, or even all higher order animals including birds.  Then there are those who postulate that all animal, and perhaps even all life forms, are in one way or another love active and love activated.

A Very Long Look

We humans are a relatively new species on this planet.  We human types have been around maybe 2 million years or so.  Our particular kind of humans may be only an infantile 200,000 years old.  By comparison horseshoe crabs have been here 450 million years, give or take a few million.  Dinosaurs were the dominant species for 160 million years.  Not only that, but some think we humans have been actually talking to each other only for the last 30,000 years, so if that’s true it’s understandable that we are not yet very good at communication.  Then there is the fact that we’ve been doing this thing we call civilization for the mere 5 to 10 thousand years at the very most, although some think it could be a bit longer depending on what you call civilized.

If we humans earn the right to stay around as long as a good many other species we will probably need to get the hang of doing this thing we call love a lot better.  Some species don’t seem to be as bad at love and living with each other as we humans are, although our cousins, the Bonobo apes, have really got this love thing down good, not to mention doing great at sex.  As a young species we can be pleased that, at least in some parts of the world, we are doing pretty well at getting along better than we used to.  As an example, more countries bordering each other are at peace with one another than ever before.

Then there’s the fact that a smaller percentage of the Earth’s population is starving to death than used to be the case, several deadly diseases have been wiped out benefitting large numbers of people, and more people are living longer than ever before which increases their opportunity to develop quality living.  Just possibly, if you and I and enough others learn to do love well and maybe if we spread the word, teach others and lobby for love-centered ethics to prevail we may do as well as other species have, or maybe better.

By the way, did you know that there is growing evidence showing that at least some dinosaurs got and gave love.  Discoveries show that dinosaurs lived in ‘love’ connected family groups, nurtured their young and were protective of one another, even sacrificing their lives for one another – all evidence pointing at love existing way back to 200 million years ago.  I wonder if it was love that kept them surviving for so many millennia?

Anti-Love Ethics

Perhaps you have been taught one of these three other ‘ethics’ to live by, or something like them:
1.  Survival of the fittest is the law to live by, and it gives you permission to do whatever it takes, including the destruction of others.

2.  The ends justify the means which means you can do any evil to achieve what you see to be, or can call, a worthy outcome.

3.  Winning isn’t the most important thing, it’s the only thing which is used to justify any and all cheating, destructive manipulation, rule and law breaking, deception, dishonesty, neglecting and harming others, taking advantage of the weak and vulnerable, etc.

A problem with these kinds of ‘ethics’, or life guidance messages, is that they tend to create anti-healthful neurochemical and biochemical responses in people.  Adversarial, oppositional and aggressive (as differentiated from assertive) life stances and perpetrator predation dynamics tend to produce stress hormones which operate against the physical health of the person using these tactics.

They also work against the person’s psycho-emotional health, as does most pessimistic, cynical, fault-finding and negativistic cognition.  Such thinking seems to reduce pleasure, and interfere with the neurochemicals in the brain that have to do with feeling good, thinking clearly, and experiencing life in a positive manner.  Such thinking also tends to have an anti-love effect which negatively influences all types of love relationships.

Your Life

Suppose you decide to live, more than you previously have, by the ethic of treating all who do, can and may love, as worthy of your love.  How do you suppose this might impact your life?  If you switch to, or start including, or increase love centered ethics as guidelines for your life, what do you suppose may happen to your health, your relationships, your emotional life, your future and your core being?  What might be the worst-case scenario, and what might be the best.   Of course pessimists and optimists will differ, but would you like to give this suggested ethic and related ideas some thought, and maybe talk a little with those dear to you and see what happens?

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question
For you, honestly rank the following dozen forms of ‘power’ from most to least important to you personally: Money, Influence, Status, Popularity, Attractiveness, Physical strength, Security, Social acceptance, Privilege, Social recognition, Achievement and Accomplishment, Love?


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