love your enemies

January 1, 2016

It comes, then, to this: that to be “viable,” livable, or merely practical, life must be lived as a game — and the “must” here expresses a condition, not a commandment. It must be lived in the spirit of play rather than work, and the conflicts which it involves must be carried on in the realization that no species, or party to a game, can survive without its natural antagonists, its beloved enemies, its indispensable opponents.

For to “love your enemies” is to love them as enemies; it is not necessarily a clever device for winning them over to your own side. The lion lies down with the lamb in paradise, but not on earth — “paradise” being the tacit, off-stage level where, behind the scenes, all conflicting parties recognize their interdependence, and, through this recognition, are able to keep their conflicts within bounds.

This recognition is the absolutely essential chivalry which must set the limits within all warfare, with human and non-human enemies alike, for chivalry is the debonair spirit of the knight who “plays with his life” in the knowledge that even mortal combat is a game.

No one who has been hoaxed into the belief that he is nothing but his ego, or nothing but his individual organism, can be chivalrous, let alone a civilized, sensitive, and intelligent member of the cosmos.

~ Alan Watts, (1966), The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: