Love isn’t a feeling. Love is connection. That strikes me as a good foundation for a new religion.
This is not yet a manifesto, more a note to self and others of like mind.*
Since moving back to Whangarei I’ve been reminded of the devastating effects of the historic religions as practiced so long after their founders were safely buried and their original messages safely codified. I came to see more clearly the difference between truth (the way things actually are and do work) and religious feeling (what we make of it all in order to cope). I coined a term for it : spiritual substance abuse. The addiction to spiritual feelings, especially the feeling of faith, and neglect of spiritual, or any, ideals and truths – most notably, that of the ultimate importance of Love.
I’ve been as guilty as anyone of living by feeling rather than truth – it takes one to know one! But after years of thinking , and yes feeling, my way in life, including years in Christianity and years more Paganism/Platonism/New Age, 5 years getting an MA in philosophy, and 13 years of trying to found some sort of utopia via the cafe Eutopia, I’ve come to think, hey, actually every good thing begins with ….LOVE. It was right there in my process philosophy of LOVE BEAUTY TRUTH and FREEDOM. But my natural bent is for ‘Beauty’, and so I neglected Love, which is the only foundation for a healthy and lasting relationship, movement, culture, or enterprise of any kind.
But the problem is that Love has been so misunderstood, taken over, used and abused that there is an urgent need for a new foundation of thought for understanding it. We need to study and practice the ‘Logic of Love’. Then we will see clearly to study how love turns into Beauty – new vision of the wonder and potential of every being, all life. And then into new Truth – an understanding of new possible structures, new ways of doing things, solving problems, thriving. And finally of course a new Freedom, which is simply well-founded and therefore powerful action – action based on loving and beautiful ideas, well worked out in truth.
So, a movement to study and apply the logic of love (and beauty and truth and freedom of course) is what I am starting. It will not depend on feelings, no matter how fine, no matter how spiritual. It will be founded on what actually works, what is good in itself, noble and true. And (as Socrates said to Phaedrus) ‘do we need any man to tell us these things?’ Truths, the foundational ones, are all SELF-EVIDENT. So, what’s all the revelation stuff for in the historic religions? Well, I think it was the only way someone with a new vision of some aspect of love or beauty or truth or freedom (or something less noble of course, or a strange mixture of motives) could actually hope to put it into words and ‘get it across’.
But now it could just be time for a new approach – plain speech, clear thinking, and clear actions. The Web has given us access to almost all the ideas, and connection to most of the minds now living on Earth. If I’m right and love is basically UNCLOUDED CONNECTION, this would have to be the opportunity of all the ages.
It is also the danger of all dangers, if we connect in the service of anything less than the highest and noblest truth and beauty, and honouring of freedom. The web must not be subverted as a tool of prejudice, old-style dogmas, and oppression. But if we don’t take up the opportunity to use it to connect in a loving network of amazing co-creation and free trading of ideas, goods and services, the human ‘default setting’ is going to prevail. And that default has major flaws. Without higher ideals, the default is (among other things!) the herd instinct and aggression towards those not of our group.
So, I can’t really deny it: what I’m starting (by declaration of course, not fiat!) is a new religion – in the sense that I want to see all the good goals of all religions actually focused on, in a new clarity without the insistence on any of the mythological revelatory or emotive clouding, so that all can see what is the basis of our faith – it is rational recognition of the intrinsic good of these things – love, beauty, truth freedom and all the other concepts. Yes and including the concept of an Absolute, a Reality beyond the physical, in which all that is has its being. And yes we will all have our theories and ideas about the full reality of that Being or Ground of all being. But we will, we must, be clear about which ‘parts’ of God (assuming God’s existence) are essential to recognise, which are the essentials to never lose sight of. And the GREATEST of these (to quote Paul in 1st corinthians 13) is LOVE. Wow. now if the Chrisitans had managed to major on THAT… history would have been very different. But I believe they were deeply distracted by other things, insisting that their Saviour must be believed in BEFORE people could be forgiven, before they could love or be loved. (My Christian background is obvious here. We all have something in our backgrounds. That’s why we need to do at least some philosophy in our lives if we want to be truly actualised – we need to ‘zoom out’ and examine our received doctrines and assumptions, respectfully maybe, if possible, but however we do it, we must, if we are to really come of age as homo sapiens)
Will there be feelings in the new ‘religion’ I’m starting (if i am spared!)? Of course! Clearer, more loving, more wonderful and lasting than any fleeting feelings based on confused thinking and confusing of the levels of our being. But Love is not a feeling, nor is truth. The highest feeling is our response to those realities, as we perceive them directly. Lower down, we feel their presence in other humans, in natural affection, friendship and eros (romantic love or just ‘love’ as it is so loosely called in our eros-worshipping culture). All these need to be distinguished and managed or they can get us into frightful tangles . As we all know!
So LoveQor as a movement is founded clearly on self-evident truths of the logic of love and of all process which flows from that. Not on feeling, revelation (unless you call perception of truth revelatory, as I am tempted to do! It is a marvelous thing that material creatures can somehow perceive non-material realities and know them to be necessarily real/true, not just phantasms. This is why I am a Platonist, i.e., not a materialist who thinks matter is self-existent).
My vision of what is possible – and indeed if we are to preserve Western civilisation, ESSENTIAL – goes far beyond what I can expound here. But does NOT deviate from the foundation here described: LOVE as positive, real connection and co-creation with others. But I do want to share the possibility I see of the web evolving into a mind-like network of nobly interacting beings who truly ‘see’ each other and therefore constructively love one another, trading value for value, each interaction adding to the net worth of the whole, without resistance or waste caused by old systems of exchange and funding). I think the global financial system on which we depend is due for a major evolutionary leap forward. I believe all the elements for that mutation are either here now or about to be. If this excites you, see www.qorflow.com, where I talk about my idea for a network of people ‘investing in the flow’, transparently, in real time, and continuously. The old ‘lumpy’ capitalism is not needed or desirable in the web age. It was – is – susceptible to all kinds of horrible abuses, and gives capitalism – or free enterprise – a bad name. Join Loveqor and qorflow and let’s be part of the new kind of enterprise, which will bring a new age of prosperity such as we can barely imagine with the broken systems we have to make do with at the moment.
If you’ve got this far, great! Thank you. Now, why the word Qor? Well it was from my fantasy epic, where the lost Heartstone (now mostly called the Qorstone) was the living crystal which, when in place in the crown of the Tree of Life, connected all the nine worlds of the Order of the Makers, by means of the World Trees with their Qorstones on each of the words. Likewise, in our own being, each of us has a ‘qor’ or consciousness capable of connection with any and all others. This may be what we call the soul, or spirit, or it may be simply the ‘attunement’ of functional parts within our brains (and/or hearts as some propound!). HOW it is, is not nearly as important as THAT it exists. And that it is good for it not to be alone. ‘Ture life is Meeting’ as Buber said.
Therefore Qor. Connect our Qor beings, in truth, and we will have heaven on earth. For (to quote John in the Bible) ‘God is Love, and whoever lives in love lives in God’. And last time I looked, that is pretty much the ultimate definition of bliss. Self-realisation, truly understood, is this: we realise that there is a Qor within us – the real us, which is capable of connection with all other Qors, without limit unto the highest beings, and beyond into the connection with the eternal Reality, what Plato (I think) called the intelligible realm. Why intelligible? Because in the very act of perceiving the objects in it, we know them to be true and real. They are intelligible. And the greatest intelligible reality? LOVE, I presume. !!!
A note on my modus operandi: I do not claim to be more loving, or to be the avatar of love, or to be sent to you by any revelation but that of seeing the intelligible reality of love, and glimpsing the structures and the life that can flow from founding an intentional community or network, or enterprise clearly and purely upon the logic of it. I teach the logic of love as I perceive it, and may others come and join me who can take it further. Especially into new structures for a new economy founded on love (not charity, not religious duty, not sentimental or erotic feeling, not sentiment; Love, the intelligible Idea of openness to connection and co-creation. What C.S.Lewis called the ‘traslunary virtue’. Immensely powerful. From it all things come – all things ARE connections).
I feel confident to begin this partly because I know I will not be under any illusions that I am a guru, can impart by feeling or vibration, religious or otherwise, the revelation or experience of ‘Love’ to you. No, you will not look at the finger, or the hand, or the hypnotic gaze f the Guru. You will, I hope, look with the eye of the mind at what I am pointing to. It is the possible future, beginning now.
Do email me email@example.com. This is happening, not based on my feelings or lack of them, but I’m only human and would love some feedback. Am I right here? Is there some massive flaw in my logic? I do not believe so, but I don’t believe in setting up any rigid system, my own or a group’s, as the Ultimate Truth, the Last Word. I want to be scientific about this! A process of ‘Conjectures and Refutations’, as Carl Popper called it.
Will there be a group to join? Yes, damn right there will! But not an exclusive one. Keep all other associations – ‘Love, and do as you will’.
Will there be a Creed? Certainly. But I would rather call it a Constitution. So we all know what the consensus to date actually is, so we know where we are at. So there can be clear debate, and clear refutations and new conjectures, new theorems about the Logic of Love.
Will there be subscriptions and donations? I hope so! An army as they say, marches on its stomach! But the proof of any concept is: Does it Work? So, if I am right, the Qorflow network we will set up very soon will become immensely successful – for all its members, and by flow-on effect, our whole economy. To set up a religion that is dependent on donations and tithes seems to me the refutation of that organisation’s fundamental structure. No, the LoveQor ‘religion’ is a ‘meme’ – a set of ideas that should and can self-replicate, empowering everyone who takes it into their minds. From there it will enable structures in the outer world that will show just how true – congruent with reality – it really is. Or not!
Will we meet together? Well what do you think? 🙂 Of course! At least to talk over the ideas, and hopefully to practice a little or a lot of the art of connection – true, non-emotion-based, non sectarian, non judging noticing observing and acknowledging each other. The first one (unless upon reading this you rush out and start a LoveQor group!) will be based at Studio 5, the Quarry Arts Centre, Whangarei. It is a tiny room, but it is summer.
I will write a short piece on the Logic of Love as a starting point. Obviously, even the idealist Peter Harris, builder of the Eutopia Cafe, at 59 and having seen groups and religions and the way of all flesh, is not so naive as to think that all our ‘stuff’ – our instincts and assumptions, prejudices and habits – will not come up to choke the new little movement. (In fact he is more than a little battered by life and fairly washed up. Perhaps this was necessary before he would come around to grasping the essentials. It has been 44 years since his mum gave him that little book, ‘The Greatest Thing in the World’, on Love. He’s been nearly everywhere else, and hasn’t found anything greater. The logic of life is inexorable! we can run from it, and hide, but it isn’t a sustainable position, head in the sand…)
But, there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come. I believe a religion of love (with a clear process understanding and an acceptance of human nature so incorporating all possible checks and balances) is an idea whose time has come. Therefore it can be practiced, and will work. We just need an understanding of the logic of love, of what it is and isn’t in essence, and then some ‘rules’ or principles by which we can get on track and not veer off. Or, to change the image, we will have a crucible to purify the ore of our beings. Then, in that crucible I think we can refine true love- find the Qorstone shining bright in each of us, and connecting each of us. Then all utopian dreams can come true…
Whoops, I will stop. I’m getting emotional.
Join me! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And/or be sure to go to the top of the web page and click ‘follow’ so you get email shorts (and links to) all future posts. Also pass this on to any and all your friends. Link to it, quote it, spread the idea. LoveQor – Fear is the Question;Love is the Answer. The Logic of Love will change the world.
*OK, now – a few hours later at 8:13 AM here at Kara Road, Whangarei, NZ] it is! LoveQor Manifesto 1.0, 3/12/13