16 November 2011

Kind v. Love

So a friend of mine posed a question that was a variant of "love thy neighbor" which was "be kind to thy neighbor". The reasoning behind this being it is easier to be kind to those who are different from ourselves as opposed to actually loving others. Naturally I began to question the differences between being kind and loving.

Love is not ambiguous. Either one loves someone/a thing or nothing. There is no real grey line. Sure there are degrees of love, such as familial or romantic, but it is still love. In general I would doubt that there would be a large division of the definition of love across ethnic lines.

As far as kind goes though, it is hyper-variant. One can be kind to a neighbor by tossing their newspaper onto the porch, but what type of kindness is this? Would it not require a definition of the exact feelings one has about the neighbor? Is this neighbor an elderly person who has trouble walking or is it one who will engage any person in conversation to express their displeasure with the delivery of said paper?

Examine the cliche of "killing them with kindness". There is no equivalent in regards to love. One can fake kindness rather easily while faking love requires quite a bit of engagement as the latter evolves over time. One can be "kind" to a stranger and move on. It requires in the moment engagement and that is all.

Returning to the friend's argument, yes it is much easier to "be kind to thy neighbor" as it does not involve any real emotional engagement. But, the question then lingers: would the world be a better place?

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