‘All you need is love’* said the Beatles and I wonder, as I write this on St Valentines’ day, if this is really true… It can seem more and more in our societies that what we have are divisive politics, increasing ‘othering’ and an economic system that exploits weakness rather than protects. Do we really live with love? Our planet probably does not think so as we continue to ensure environment degradation and I am not sure that the 118 million people who live with poverty in the European Union don’t think that love shapes the policies targeted at them. Do the numbers of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the European Union feel loved?
Many see love as a weak action, soft, but anyone who has been in love will know that love is powerful and has the ability to promote all sort of actions – defensive, empowering, protective, enabling and developing. Love can drive us to care, to show solidarity, to nurture and to change. What if love was the driving force of our political engagement, of our social action? What would our world look like then?
I know what many will think… in the words of John Lennon ‘you may say I’m a dreamer’… and I would say ‘But I’m not the only one’.** The author and activist Bell Hooks writes: “We need to reclaim the concept of love, not as an abstract, all-embracing, fantasy but as a set of ethics, principles, values, and behaviours. A love that is justice in action… To begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner automatically assumes accountability and responsibility…Culturally all spheres of life – politics, religion, the workplace, domestic households, intimate relations – should and could have their foundation in a love ethic.”
What if we saw love an alternative source of power in our politics, our economies and our democracies? What if we started from that ethics of love when designing social welfare or social services? I might be a dreamer but I believe that in Diaconia we are motivated by the power of love – but we don’t always speak of it – perhaps because it is seen as a soft, weak action. I think we should reclaim love, red rosed greetings card type environment and bring it back to being the fundament of our relations with everything and everybody – letting love make us passionate for justice, for change, for equality, and for inclusion. Imagine.
Have a good weekend,
*All you need is Love, The Beatles
** Imagine, John Lennon