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Loving others and the need to be loved in return

Krishnamurti said: "If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something – and it is only such love that can know freedom."

Yet is this realistic? People have needs. Eric Felten:

"The point of love is not simply to possess the objects of our affections, but to be loved in return. We give love in no small part to get love, and it's not a very satisfying deal to give love and, in return, get a painfully honest appraisal of just what one's love was really worth. As novelist Leonard Michaels put it, 'Adultery has less to do with romance and sex than with the discovery of how little we mean to each other.' Or, to recast his observation in a positive way, it is through fidelity that we demonstrate how much someone matters to us."

For the monogamously inclined, to love one person in a romantic or sexual way is to feel exclusively that way about that person. Eric Rohmer:

"If there's one thing I dislike about the Church, it's the whole custom of accounting, which happily is disappearing. So many good marks measured against so many bad ones. Good deeds versus sins. What really matters is your attitude in general. The way you feel that dictates your actions. For instance, when you love one girl, you don't feel like sleeping with another..."

When people are loved, they know it, says Julie Bogart:

"Love comes as inevitably as death. It is the death of selfishness and the resurrection of hope. It doesn't just soothe or appease. It conquers. It gets all the way down inside of us and opens a door. It offers a ride; it ignites a flame. Love does it all. Not love in the abstract, but love that each person recognizes and experiences. You know when you've been loved. You don't have to write sermons about it, you don't have to convince yourself of love. Love conquers – it takes back territory that was unloved and marks it."


J. Krishnamurti. Think on These Things. ed. by D. Rajagopal. New York: Perennial, 1964. p. 28.

Eric Felten. Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. p. 141. Quoting Leonard Michaels, Time out of Mind: The Diaries of Leonard Michaels. New York: Riverhead Books, 1999. p. 124.

"My Night at Maud's." Eric Rohmer. Six Moral Tales. New York: Viking, 2006. (Originally published in French under Six contes moraux in 1974. Viking English translation 1980.) p. 94.

"The Coming of Love." Julie Bogart. Printed in Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog. Edited by Raewynne J. Whiteley and Beth Maynard. Cambridge, Mass.: Cowley Publications, 2003. p. 114.


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