Bioethics is Love of Life: An Alternative texbook

Darryl R. J. Macer, Ph.D.
Eubios Ethics Institute

Copyright 1998, Darryl R. J. Macer. All commercial rights reserved. This publication may be reproduced for limited educational or academic use, however please enquire with the author.

2. What is love?


2.1. The ideal of love

If we ask people what images they have of love, answers might include: lovers, family, warm, God, happy, difficult, and many others. Yet all will consider love as something central to our existence. Empedocles (Sicily, 5th century B.C.) assumed that in nature there are positive forces which he called, Love and Hate, or Harmony and Discord. These forces are what cause the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) to intermingle and later to separate. Love causes the elements to be attracted to each other and to built up in some particular form or person. The 1997 movie The Fifth Element, took up this theme, with the fifth and essential element to the universe being love. Empedocles considered that love was a governing principle which held things in unity.

Human beings are spiritual beings, sharing emotions such as love and hate, greed and generosity. As Verene (1972) wrote, "Love itself is generally thought of as a power that exists within man's ethical life though which he judges and shapes the customs of his social life. Love is generally regarded as a power of man to transcend the differences that exist between persons and in the world generally and to feel the unity of things." Eliade (1987) wrote, "The concept of love, in one form or another, has informed the definition and development of almost every human culture in the history of the world - past and present, East and West, primitive and complex". There have been many writers who have argued that love is the single most potent force in the universe, from Mo Tzu in China, Narada in India, Plato in Greece, Augustine and Teilhard de Chardin in Christianity. Any thought system which fails to acknowledge such a power and the character of the human emotions is destined to fail.

There are a variety of approaches to the definition of love, which Eliade (1987) summarized as:

"1) the nature of the recipient, or object, on which affection is bestowed, whether animate or inanimate, divine or human, male or female, heterosexual or homosexual;

2) the type of feeling, idea, or attitude that motivates the experience;

3) the emotional, aesthetic, or moral quality of the experience itself, ranging from the basest forms of carnal desire through the loftiest forms of human affection and reverence to the purest expression of love as divine grace;

4) the emotional, moral, and spiritual effects that it exerts upon all parties included in the love relationship."

Each dictionary has a range of definitions of love, but through the use of quotations below we can get a range of the use of the term, and how the concepts included in the word love can be useful for ethics. We can also think of different physical images that symbolize love, as shown in Figure 2.

A fundamental way of reasoning that people have when making decisions is to balance doing good against doing harm. We could group these ideals under the idea of love, though the question of benefits for whom and harm to whom is central to deciding whether an action is one of love or not. One of the underlying philosophical ideas of society is to pursue progress. The most common justification for this is the pursuit of improved medicines and health, which is doing good. A failure to attempt to do good, is a form of doing harm, the sin of omission. This is the principle of beneficence. This is a powerful impetus for further research into ways of improving health and agriculture, and living standards.

The term beneficence suggests more than actions of mercy, rather the ideal is love. The principle of beneficence asserts an obligation to help others further their important and legitimate interests. It means that if you see someone drowning, providing you can swim, you have to try to help them by jumping in the water with them. This case also includes the weighing of risks, to avoid doing harm. This is another integral part of love, and it is because we respect life. The concept is most often expressed at an individual level, whereas justice is the expression of this concept at a societal level, and can be seen in collective action of groups in aid to others.

2.2. Quotations on love

There have been more books written about the subject of love than any other subject. Since before the Middle Ages literature and love have been interdependent (Bayley, 1960). These books date back for millennia and form a number of the basic religious scriptures that have guided ethics through time. I am going to focus on love defined as the giving of oneself in service to others and the friendship relationship, as perhaps readers will accept without written evidence that romantic love is global. A selection of quotations about love is presented below, suggesting that love of others as a principle of ethics in literature is universal in scope.

ConfuciusConfucius, Analects (China, 6th Century B.C.)

To love a thing means wanting it to live.

Can there be a love which does not make demands on those who are the objects of love?

Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving (Germany, 1956)

If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world, I love life. If I can say to somebody else, 'I love you', I must be able to say 'I love in you everybody, I love through you the world, I love in you also myself'.

Eupides, Orestes (GreeceGreece, 408 B.C.)

Love is all we have, the only way / that each can help each other.

HippocratHippocratic Corpus - Precepts (Island of Cos, Greece, 4th Century B.C.)

Where there is love of man (philanthropia) there is also love of the art (philotechnia)

It should be replaced by the way of universal love and mutual benefit...It is to regard other people's countries as one's own. Regard other people's families as one's own. Regard other people's person as one's own. Consequently, when feudal lords love one another, they will not fight in the fields. When heads of families love one another, they will not usurp one another. When individuals love one another, they will not injure one another. When ruler and minister love each other, they will be kind and loyal. When father and son love each other, they will be affectionate and filial. When brothers love one each other, they will be peaceful and harmonious. When all people in the world love one another, the strong will not overcome the weak, the many will not oppress the few, the rich will not insult the poor, the honoured will not despise the humble, and the cunning will not deceive the ignorant. Because of universal love, all the calamities, usurpations, hatred, and animosity in the world will be prevented from arising.

Mahatma GandhiGandhi (India, 1927)

Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable. The more efficient a force is, the more silent and subtle it is. Love is the subtlest force in the world.

...To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself.

... The path of self-purification is hard and steep. To attain to perfect purity one has to become absolutely passion-free in thought, speech and action; to rise above the opposing currents of love and hatred, attachment and revulsion.

Pierre Teilhard de ChardinTeilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (France, 1959)

Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching (ChinaChina, 6th century B.C.)

Here the source of a man's strength lies not in himself but in his relation to other people. No matter how close to them he may be, if his center of gravity depends on them, he is inevitably tossed to and fro between joy and sorrow. Rejoicing to high heaven, then sad unto death - this is the fate of those who depend upon an inner accord with other persons whom they love. Here we have only the statement of the law that this is so. Whether this condition is felt to be an affliction or the supreme happiness of love, is left to the subjective verdict of the person concerned.

Charles DarwinDarwin, The Descent of Man (England, 1875)

It is certain that associated animals have a feeling of love for each other, which is not felt by non-social adult animals. How far in most cases they actually sympathize in the pains and pleasures of others, is more doubtful, especially with respect to pleasures.

KingKing David, Psalm 25:4-7, 10 (Israel, c. 990 BC)

Teach me your ways, O Lord; make them known to me. Teach me to live according to your truth, for you are my God, who saves me. I always trust in you. Remember, O Lord, Your kindness and constant love which you have shown from long ago. Forgive the sins and errors of my youth. In your constant love and goodness, remember me, Lord. (4-7)

With faithfulness and love he leads all who keep his covenant and obey his commands. (10)

Publilius Syrus, Moral Sayings 816 (Rome, 1st century, B.C.)

When you are in love you are not wise; or, when you are wise you are not in love.

JesusJesus Christ, Gospel according to St. John 13: 34-5 (Palestine, c. AD 27)

And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciple.

John Stuart MillMill, Utilitarianism (England, 1861)

In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we read the complete spirit of the ethics of utility. To do as you would be done by, and to love your neighbour as yourself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.

R.M. Hare, Utilitarianism in ChildressChildress (England, 1981)

Utilitarianism is the extension into philosophy of the Christian doctrine of agape.

Benedict SpinozaSpinoza, Ethics (Italy, 17th century)

Love is nothing else but pleasure accompanied by the idea of an eternal cause: hate is nothing else but pain accompanied by the idea of an eternal cause.

ConfuciusConfucius, Analects (China, 6th Century B.C.)

62. Zigong asked: "Is there a single word such that one could practice it throughout one's life?" The Master said "Reciprocity perhaps? Do not inflict on others what you yourself would not wish done to you?"

5.11. Tzu-kung said, "What I do not want others to do to me, I do not want to do to them." Confucius said, "Ah Tz'u! That is beyond you".

Hillel, The Babylonian Talmud (Seder Mo'ed) (Persia, 30 A.D.)

What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbour that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary thereof; go and learn it.

JesusJesus Christ, Gospel according to St. John 15: 12-13 (Palestine, c. AD 27)

My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them.

Martin LutherMartin Luther King, Jr. (USA, 1961)

Agape is more than romantic love, agape is more than friendship. Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive, good will to all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart. So that when one rises to love on this level, he loves men not because he likes them, not because their ways appeal to him, but he loves every man because God loves him. And he rises to the point of loving the person who does an evil deed while hating the deed that the person does. I think this is what Jesus meant when he said "love your enemies". I'm very happy that he didn't say like your enemies, because it is pretty difficult to like some people. Like is sentimental and it is pretty difficult to like someone bombing your home; it is pretty difficult to like somebody threatening your children; it is difficult to like congressman who spend all of their time trying to defeat civil rights. But Jesus says love them, and love is greater than like.

Soren Kierkegaard, Works of Love (Denmark, 1847)

Erotic love is determined by the object; friendship is determined by the object; only love to one's neighbour us determined by love. Since one's neighbour is every man, unconditionally every man, all distinctions are indeed removed from the object.

The category neighbour is just like the category human being. Everyone of us is a human being and at the same time the heterogeneous individual which he is by particularity; but being a human being is the fundamental qualification.

Boethus, The Consolation of Philosophy 3 (Rome, 524 A.D.)

Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.

Plautus, Curculio (Rome, 2nd century B.C.)

Find me a rational lover and I'll give you his weight in gold.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground 2.4. (RussiaRussia, 1864)

With love one can live even without happiness.

Virgil, Eclogues III (Italy, 37 B.C.)

Love conquers all.

Victor Hugo, Les Miserables (FranceFrance, 1862)

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.

Erich Fromm, The Sane Society (Germany, 1955)

Erotic love begins with separateness, and ends in oneness. Motherly love begins with oneness, and leads to separateness.

AristotleAristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Greece, 4th century B.C.)

Those who love because of utility love because of what is good for themselves, and those who love because of pleasure do so because of what is pleasant to themselves, and not in so far as the person is the man he is, but in so far as he is useful or pleasant. And thus these friendships are only incidental; for it is not as being the man he is that the loved person is loved, but as providing some good or pleasure. (VIII, 3.1156a14-19)

Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends; for they are so disposed by reason of the friends themselves, and not incidentally. (1156b7-11)

Upanishads, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.V.1. (IndiaIndia, 10-6th century B.C.)

The [wife's] love of the husband is not for the sake of the husband but for the sake of the self; the [husband's] love of the wife is not for the sake of the wife but for the sake of the self.

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (RussiaRussia, 1873-6)

If so many men, so many minds, certainly so many hearts, so many kinds of love.

Ayako Miura, A Bouquet of Words (Japan, 1998)

Even if it was only a little love, we need love. People cannot live agreeably in the world without love. So even if a faint smile or a chip of a gentle word, we are deeply consoled when we feel love from them. Such weak existence is human.

(I thought while looking at the blue of the sky with my heart). Is there any inharmonius colour with the colour of the sky? Mountains, buildings, trees, flowers, humans, telegraph poles, sparrow and also crows, are so beautiful to harmonize with the colour of the sky. The colour accepts all things and it draws out the natural beauty of them. As it were, it is love.

Maharishi (IndiaIndia, 1970)

All love is directed to the self...The purpose of love is the expansion of the self.

Euripides, Alcestis (GreeceGreece, 5th century B.C.)

You love your life; but then, so do all men!

St. Paul, Paul's Letter to the Romans 5: 5 (Turkey, 56)

This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.

St. Paul, Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 13:1, 4-7 (Turkey, 53)

I may be able to speak the languages of men and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. (1) Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives us; and its faith, hope and patience never fail. (4-7)

Paul TillichTillich, The Eternal Now (USA, 1963)

One cannot be strong without love. For love is not an irrelevant emotion; it is the blood of life, the power of reunion of the separated.

SophoclesSophocles, Oedipus at Colonus (Greece, 401 B.C.)

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.

St. John, First Letter of St. John 4: 7-8, 12 (Palestine, 1st century A.D.)

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. (7-8)

No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us, and his love is made perfect in us. (12)

Dalai Lama XIV, The Power of Compassion (Tibet, 1995)

The basic aim of my explanation is to show that by nature we are compassionate, that compassion is something very necessary and something which we can develop. It is important to know the exact meaning of compassion. Different philosophies and traditions have different interpretations of the meaning of love and compassion. Some of my Christian friends believe that love cannot develop without God's grace; in other words, to develop love and compassion is based on a clear acceptance or recognition that others, like oneself, want happiness and have the right to overcome suffering. On that basis one develops some kind of concern about the welfare of others, irrespective of one's attitude to oneself. That is compassion.

Moses Maimonides, Prayer of a Physician (Palestine, 11th century)

Endow me with strength of heart and mind so that both may be ever ready to serve the rich and the poor, the good and the wicked, friend and enemy.

William Temple, Mens Creatrix (The Creative Mind), p.206 (EnglandEngland, 1917)

There is only one ultimate and invariable duty, and its formula is "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself". How to do this is another question, but this is the whole of moral duty.

Gerhard Wilczek, The Might of Love (Germany, 1985)

Love is experienced as a striving without respect to own calculations to real or assumed unification with the object.

Jean-Paul SatreSatre, The Words (France, 1964)

When we love animals and children too much, we love them at the expense of men.

Han Yu (ChinaChina, 8th century, A.D.)

Universal love is called humanity. To practice this in the proper manner is called righteousness. To proceed according to these is called the Way. To be sufficient in oneself without depending on anything outside is called virtue. Humanity and righteousness are definite values, whereas the Way and virtue have no substance in themselves.

Saint AugustineAugustine, On the Trinity VII, x, 14 (Numidia, 400-416)

Love ... is a certain life which couples or seeks to couple together some two things, namely him that loves and that which is beloved.

J.C.F. von Schiller, Phantasie an Laura (Germany, 18th century)

Love guides the stars towards each other, the world plan endures only through love.

Saint Jerome, Letter to Eustochius (Palestine, 4th century)

It is hard for the human soul not to love something, and our mind must of necessity be drawn to some kind of affection.

Thomas AquinasAquinas, Commentary on Divine Names (Italy, 13th century)

A thing is said to be loved, when the desire of the lover regards it as his good. The attitude of disposing of the appetite to anything so as to make it its good is called love. We love each thing inasmuch as it is our good.

Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio (Italy, 13th century)

Neither Creator nor creature, my son, was ever without natural or rational love.

Paul TillichTillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. I, p.152 (USA, 1941)

The law of love is the ultimate law because it is the negation of the law; it is absolute because it concerns everything concrete....The absolutism of love is its power to go into the concrete situation, to discover what is demanded by the predicament of the concrete to which it turns. Therefore, love can never become fanatical in a fight for the absolute, or cynical under the impact of the relative.

Joseph FletcherFletcher, Situation Ethics (USA, 1966)

Love is freedom to put human need before anything else.

Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds (IndiaIndia, 1916)

Life is given to us, we earn it by giving it.

Vladimir Solovyov (RussiaRussia, 1900)

The meaning of human love is the justification and deliverance of individuality through the sacrifice of egoism.

Jorge Manrique, Coplas por la Muerte de su Padre (Stanzas for the Death of his Father) (Spain, 1492)

Our lives are rivers whose outlet is the sea of death.

Canon Quick, The Doctrines of the Creed (EnglandEngland, 1938)

Whereas in eros desire is the cause of love, in agape love is the cause of desire.

The Beatles, The End (EnglandEngland, 1969)

And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take.

Joseph FletcherFletcher, Situation Ethics (USA, 1966)

The situationist enters into every decision-making situation fully armed with the ethical maxims of his community and its heritage, and he treats them with respect as illuminators of his problem. Just the same he is prepared in any situation to compromise them or set aside in the situation if love seems better served by doing so.

AristotleAristotle, Politics (Greece, 4th century B.C.)

Men cling to life even at the cost if enduring great misfortune.

John Lennon - Beautiful Boy (EnglandEngland, 1980)

Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.

Samuel Butler, Notebooks (EnglandEngland, 1912)

To live is like to love - all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it.

Rolling Stones, Ruby Tuesday(EnglandEngland, 1960s)

Lose your dreams and you lose your mind.

Eagles, Love will Keep us Alive (USA, 1994)

When we're hungry - love will keep us alive

Henry Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics (EnglandEngland, 1880)

Love is not merely a desire to do good to the object beloved, although it always involves such a desire. It is primarily a pleasurable emotion, which seems to depend upon a certain sense of union with another person, and it includes, beside the benevolent impulse, a desire for the society of the beloved: and this element may predominate over the former, and even conflict with it, so that the true interests of the beloved may be sacrificed.

Sting, Police (EnglandEngland, 1979)

Love can mend your life but it can break your heart.

Stevie Wonder, Heaven is 10 zillion light years ago (USA, 1980s)

Why can't the light of God shine love in every soul?

Daniel Day Williams, The Spirit and the Forms of Love (USA, 1967)

Love means willingness to participate in the being of the other at the cost of suffering, and with the expectation of mutual enrichment, criticism and growth.

George Bernard Shaw (EnglandEngland, 19th century)

Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everyone else.

Pietro Aretino, Ter to Bernardo Tasso (Italy, 1537)

Life is a toy made of glass; it appears to be of inestimable price, but in reality it is very cheap.

Leonardo Da Vinci (Italy, 15th century)

The greater our knowledge of anything, the more we love it.

BuddhaBuddha, Gradual Sayings A.iii.443 (India, 6-4th century B.C.)

(A description of six praiseworthy results that inspire a monk to develop the perception of suffering with regard to all conditioned phenomena):

1. the perception of nirvana will become established among all conditioned phenomena,

2. the mind will turn away from all realms,

3. the monk will see the peace which is nirvana,

4. inherent tendencies [to defilements and rebirth] will be destroyed,

5. the monk will completed his tasks, and

6. the monk will have served the teacher with acts of love.

Julian of Norwich (EnglandEngland, 14th century)

In every soul which shall be saved there is a godly will that never assented to sin, nor ever shall. This will is so good that it may never will evil, but evermore, continually, it willeth good and worketh good in the sight of God.

Friedrich NietzscheNietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Germany, 1883-92)

We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving.

Verdi, La Traviata (Italy, 1896)

We feel love is the heartbeat of a mysterious and noble universe and of the whole world and it gives our hearts sometimes pain and sometimes joy.

Giordano, Andrea Chenier (France, 1896)

Love is given by God and we should never despise it. Love is the soul and life of this world.

Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home (USA, 1987)

Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.

2.3. Love: a word in every languagelanguage?

We can find words for love in every language, though the use of these words vary widely within each language and between them. The English word love, used in this book which is first written in English, has a number of meanings. That is why Greek is sometimes used to separate these components, following the philosophical tradition. I do not restrict the love used in this book to the meaning close to the Greek word, agape, or love of neighbour. Agape is independent and unalterable, towards all persons, and works for the active benefit of the neighbour not self benefit (Outka, 1972). There are a range of definitions used for agape as will be discussed in analysis of writings people have made, but they generally are consistent with that. Agape has also been translated as charity at times. Tillich (1939) in Morality and Beyond proposed that the Greek word, agape, be used instead of love in ethics, as it was more specific for the intended meaning. There are several words that have been used in other languages to express agape, a divine love expressed as self-giving grace, caritas (Latin), karuna (Sanskrit in Buddhism), prema (Sanskrit, in Hinduism), rahman (Arabic), chien ai (Chinese), upenda (Swahili), and hesed (Hebrew). Karuna can be said to be all actions that diminish the suffering of others in Hinduism, while in Buddhism it is more close to compassion.

However, human beings are motivated by more than love of neighbour, as explored in the chapters of this book. The biological urge or desire to enjoy, has used eros (Greek), amor (Latin), kama (Sanskrit). The friendly love or affection that extends to either gender with feelings of altruistic generosity has been expressed by philia (Greek), delictio (Latin), sneda or preyata (Sanskrit). There is discussion of these terms by many philosophers, but the point is that the concepts are found across the world, they are universal in the major cultural systems.

Many languages have more than one word for love, but still the same problems of individual and contextual variation in interpretation of words applies, for example, the phrase "I love you", can be expressed to a child, a lover, a friend, but each person will differ in how readily the expression is used. The same way that signing a letter with the words, "love, Darryl", for example, can be meant in different ways towards many friends, and interpreted in many ways by the recipients. This variation in interpretation may be one reason for the caution seen against using the term love in everyday conversation, and it is seen in many languages, English and Japanese being two of them. It is also a caution for examining the same words used over time, as meanings change as languages develop. There have been a number of books written on love, though many focus on romantic love (e.g. Sircello, 1989). There is a long history of folklore about love (Emrich, 1970).

No doubt love can be found in all societies. It would be impossible for me to study all the languages of the world, or to list the words used for love, but a few examples may help us understand the word whatever languages we use. There have been some major works exploring love across cultures and through history (Singer, 1984, 1987), and it is not my purpose to repeat those works, but rather to explore aspects that are most relevant to bioethics. Singer in a set of three volumes on The Nature of Love explores the Greco-Western tradition, with much analysis of religious and romantic love.

Love is usually taught to children from a young age as a noble ethical character. In Tonga, ofa, which means all forms of love, and fe'ofo'ofani, caring love as a family, are some of the basic values taught to children from a young age which influence their behaviour. These concepts are expressed in the way that Pacific islanders care for the sick, often meaning family members will accompany the sick person to the hospital and a relative will always stay with the person day and night in the hospital (Mafi, 1998).

Love is also found linked to the social systems. In the Amuesha people of Peru, one of the few surviving indigenous communities in South America, the generation of power and authority is linked to love and compassion (Santos-Granero, 1991). Knowledge or power that is not informed by love ceases to be legitimate and may eventually be questioned. A loving and compassionate individual is one who not only cares for those who have less than himself, but also expresses control over his emotional life, thus restraining such dangerous passions as hatred.

As many of the references in the previous section show, love is considered a trait of God. Spinoza regarded love as the highest attribute of God, yet so also does Sufism. Valiuddin (1966) examined the concept of love among Sufi thinkers to find that conclusion. There are several Arabic words for love. The Arabic word for ardent love is 'ishq, derived from 'ashiqa which means a creeper called liblab in Arabic. When that creeper twines itself around a tree, it deprives it of its leaves and fruits. When love takes root in the heart of a lover, only the beloved can be seen. Another word is mahabba, Arabic for affection, which is derived from Hubb which means a seed. The same as when love is sown in the heart it grows like a seed, developing into a plant. "Going beyond extreme in affection is love, Love signifies excessive or intense affection" (Valiuddin, 1966). There are different ideas on the stages of affection and love expressed by writers about Islam, and a long tradition of love poems (Jalal al-Din Rumi, 1983).

Mo Tzu lived in 6th century B.C. China, and had an opposing view to Confucius who believed that people should love their family first and other persons to lesser degrees. Mo Tzu believed that human love should be modeled on the will of Heaven which he argued loves everyone equally. Love should be extended to all persons everywhere without distinction, and condemned the ethic of family loyalty blaming it as a cause for social conflict and warfare. He wrote "If everyone regarded his father, his elder brother, and his ruler just as he does himself, toward whom would he be lacking in devotion?...Could there be any thieves or robbers?...Would noble clans contend among themselves? Would states attack each other? If everyone in the world practiced universal love,...then the whole world would enjoy peace and perfect order". Mo Tzu distinguished love from the emotional experiences of the heart, identifying it wholly with the mind (Eliade, 1987). While he allowed for differential treatment that the practice of filial piety, family love, implies, he believed that limits on caring only for one's own had to be strictly enforced when it ceased to be beneficial for all.

Taoism is a different religion, coming from another 6th century B.C. Chinese thinker, Tao-te Ching. Taoism was considered a revolt against Buddhism that was being imported at the time, but it copied much of Buddhist organization (Ferguson, 1964). The life of the perfect man is governed by and manifests the primary virtues of love, compassion, patience, meekness, tenderness, and unconditional generosity toward all living beings (a quite biocentric view of love). Han Yu in the 8th century A.D. wrote that "Universal love is humanity" using the term po-ai instead of the Moist term of mutual love, chien-ai or the Buddhist compassion. By the Way, he meant a different term to the Confucian or Taoist notion. Chang Tsai in the 11th century explored the virtue jen which had been used for love in the Han dynasty (Chan, 1969). Universal love was not mere identification with things but the actual operation of the principle which combines things as one. At a similar time, Ch'eng I considered humanity is the nature of people while love is a feeling, although a man of humanity loves universally.

In conclusion we can see that love is a broad concept and has been developed extensively in literature and philosophy around the world. In a three volume analysis of love, Singer (1984) listed some of the distinct kinds of love: "love of self, of mankind, of nature, of God, of mother or father, of children, of tribe or nation, of sweetheart or spouse or sexual idol, of material possessions, of food or drink, of action and repose, of sports, of hobbies or engrossing pursuits, of justice, of science, of truth, of beauty, and so on endlessly". Each variety of love involving its own special object has its own phenomenology, and Singer writes "From one to the other, their ingredients will often have little or nothing in common". However, many philosophers in the past and present, including myself, disagree that these different forms of love have nothing in common. Rather, the power of love that is common to all these expressions of love may be a force which can unify the kinds of love. The following chapters look at the expressions of love that most relate to bioethical concerns, after a discussion of theories of bioethics.


Figure 2: Images of love expressed in buildings

Cave of the Fathers, Hebron, Palestine / IsraelIsrael

- Built to Express Love of God and Love of Ancestral Patriarchs and Matriarchs, revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians, for over two millennia.

State Parliament of Karnataka, Bangalore, IndiaIndia

- Built to Show Love of Government ("Government's work is God's Work)

Taj Mahal, Agra, IndiaIndia

- Built to Express Romantic Love, tomb of dead lover

The Forbidden Palace, Beijing, ChinaChina

- Built to Show Love to Emperor, and gain respect of people

Mo TzuMo Tzu (China, 6th Century B.C.)


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