Yep, I have been avoiding the subject for a while, for obvious reasons. I may also have to revisit it at a later date, for the same obvious reasons. 🙂
“I love you” is possibly the most common English phrase, probably slightly behind another expression using a four letter word, “F*** off”. It is endlessly discussed, debated, analyzed, sung about and reams of paper have been used to describe various contextual narratives. It does not mean the same thing to two people, it does not exist/cannot be translated as such in all languages and is blunt and non-specific compared with the subtlety of other words it is translated as.
Yes, I know, I am still avoiding the subject. Whingeing, you could say 🙂 Lucky for me, I am not in the business of saying new things, just maybe put together some old ones in a slightly unusual way.
Let’s start with 1:13 Corinthians. Not because of any religious preference, rather from a personal preference, as I believe whoever wrote it was on to it… just maybe not in English. Modern English, that is. The Corinthians passage found in any inspirational setting is commonly known as talking about love. A short search on the internet shows this to be a very novel idea, less than half a century old. I filtered it for the languages I knew the word “love” in and the result was a bit surprising. Modern versions of the Bible talk indeed of love. Older versions of the same Bible talk about charity. This seems to hold true for Romance languages and English (compare King James with New English Standard). German uses the same word, Maori uses the same word, Russian seems to use the same word. Which just proves that what we call love means different things for different people at different times doing very different things.
It would be interesting if speakers of other languages (Asian and African especially) who know English well could check their versions.
I tend to use the older version for that particular passage for one simple reason: I am a child of my age and what I call love was not what 1:13 Corinthians is all about.
I call love the most selfish of all feelings humans are capable of.
Take the love of any God/dess. Take the love of people (parents, children, lovers, friends, neighbours, general population). Take the love of objects or animals or activities.
Now have those “objects” do unspeakable things to you. Ignore you, maim you, kill you.
Tell me, did it change any single iota of your feeling? Can you do anything to change that feeling? For me, the answer is no. They cannot change anything. I cannot change anything. Love remains. Selfish.
And yet if this love is not, the most benevolent deity, the best of people, the cutest of animals and the most useful of activities will not be able to move you. Selfish.
You want to shout it to the world, even if that world is limited to your inner one.
Justice and rule, custom and tradition, principle and wellbeing, all fall by the wayside. Love is the only , incongruous, possibility.