Commentary on Macer

- Masahiro Morioka
Integrated Arts and Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University, Gakuencho, Sakai, Osaka 593, JAPAN
Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 9 (1999), 38-39.

The other day when I watched a TV program, I saw a reporter asking a well-known actress why she decided to break off her engagement. Answering that question she said she finally found her concept of love completely different from her fiance's. For instance, her fiance thought that love means to do everything for one's partner when the partner wants something, but she said she did not think so. I think she is right. Love is not to simply fulfill a person's hope or desire. Loving someone means, in some cases, to leave the person completely alone, and let him/her endure hardships.

Every day people hear the word "love", but the meanings are extremely diverse. Someone thinks that love means to affirm the existence of others, but someone believes love means to be able to die for another person. Darryl wrote "love has numerous meanings in most languages". This is right. In most cultures love was people's ultimate concern. Many philosophies, religious writings, novels, and even academic works have talked about love. I do not understand those who say that love is not academic. Love has been one of the most important topics in academic fields, and will surely be in the future.

Darryl's presentation that bioethics should be reexamined from the viewpoint of love was very interesting, but at the same time, I can not help thinking that his analysis of love was too simple to fully understand what fruits will come from this discussion. For example, extreme love sometimes leads us to grave hatred; this has been one of the main themes in great poetry and novels of the world. This implies that simple emphasis of love does not lead us to the right answer. For instance, people sometimes kill their enemy because they really love their own partner, children, or tradition. Of course religions have preached not to kill, but it was the same religion that permitted killing people of different religions and became the subject of a number of tragic wars.

As someone said, simply speaking the importance of love is not academic. However, thinking about bioethical issues from various angles through interdisciplinary discussions is truly academic. By so doing we can put together bioethics and traditional studies of humans. I believe bioethics in the next century should aim at this direction. On the one hand bioethics must be very practical tool for decision making in the field of life sciences and medicine, but on the other hand it must be a new academic and philosophical field that help us to understand our human nature and the future direction of our civilization.

Go back to EJAIB 9(2) March 1999
Bioethics is Love of Life An alternative textbook on cross-cultural ethics by Darryl Macer
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