The Myth of Unconditional Love

Discussing the merits of my previous post on 'Faith & Belief' with Prof. Asha led to another, on 'Unconditional Love'. My colleague's view was that the closest we can get to such an 'unconditional expression' is when we experience a mother's love. In other words, a mother loves her child unconditionally.

At the cost of sounding improper, I must say that isn't the case. If you were to ponder carefully, you would discover that most expressions are far from unconditional. Even that of a mother's. They are in fact very much the conditional kind. I would even go so far as to say that most contexts out of life are pretty much transactional and therefore unconditional applications are a myth. Its just that it may seem like a one-way act of 'giving' only because the give-take exchange may not play out at the same time. I mean, the 'give' happens much earlier than the 'take'.

Most parental love is conditional. The giving of love in larger quantum plays out towards the early age of a child. Its the 'give' phase. As the child blooms into a youngster, 'returns' are called for. Expectations are set. And then, are articulated. In rare cases, the vocalisation is withheld, though expectations remain within. Most parents can't but put forth expectations from their children. It could be an expectation in terms of choice of vocation, choice of mate, choice of lifestyle, or similar such demands. Parents who articulate expectations do so as either demands, or at times even as threats. Call the latter emotional blackmail.

Contexts like I said earlier, are mostly transactional. Non-transactional 'one-way' acts require the courage to sacrifice. Most, including me, lack it. And so I am sorry, despite how depressing it sounds, I have to declare the paucity of 'unconditional love'. Though I must hasten to add, that a reading of Ephesians 1:4-5 should bring in lots of cheer;

'For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.'

Now that's pretty much as unconditional as it can get. In fact, I must say, its 'unconditional'.



Unknown said…
mother's love her child without any expectation.

as seth godin said empathy is good for marketer, but it is impossible to understand the 100% emotion's of other's.

i mean you will not be able to understand a mother's feeling because you are a father.
Ray Titus said…
Ouch...I think that hurt! :)
In the Indian context, most people tend to believe that Mother's love towards her kid is the purest form of love without any strings attached. This particular belief has been used successfully by marketers (in an advertising context it is with the subtle message of Mother's love i.e emotional appeal)over the years and they do it till day. Yes, one may have varied opinions about it, but sometimes it's better for marketers to go with the tide and act upon an established this belief rather than try changing it. The time, money, effort for the marketers doing an upstream job is not worth it.
Unknown said…
no it didn't hurt at all.

i didn't say that father love is unconditional.

are you agree that you can understand 100% emotion's & feelings of other's?
Radhika said…
I agree that it is close to impossible (Ok, Impossible!) to materialise "unconditional love." As humans, we will fall prey to the "give-and-take" syndrome.

Every role requires us to act in a certain way, and the boundaries may be set accordingly. But at the end of the day, it is futile to believe that one would not EXPECT a certain behavior to be returned or acknowledged.
Ray Titus said…

Operating within social and cultural constructs makes good sense...unless your brand's the irreverent 'construct breaker' (I mean in its positioning).


Sure, 'expectations' are inherent...unless the give's the 'divine' kind.
Sanjay Mahar said…
i completely agree with prof Ray.I feel if you really love someone you should not expect any thing..if you do,you are selfish.
Unconditional love means unselfish love...

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