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Posted on 2011.12.01 at 08:00
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Of loyalty and of love which is greater in a relationship? Can two be bound together whether by the handsfasting of the goddess or by the vow of the State or under God's authority and truly operate without both? Is one more important than the other and if so, which is subservient - and perhaps more importantly - why?

Surely there are as many reasons to bind together with another as there are people in which to bind, both within and outside the sociological urge to belong. A sense of individualism often will only stand out once enveloped by others, lest there be nothing in which to compare it - so therefore are the natural order of things to those who keep track. And while the imagination fires at the ideas and conceptions behind true or romantic love, that during times of great peace or great war, great fortune or great disaster, loyalty might do better to prevail over it for reasons of sheer practicality alone. Or does greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends?

If love is defined as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person1 and loyalty as faithfulness to commitments or obligations.2 then in any relationship both surely must be present as the yin & yang, the ebb & tide of give & take. While ideally true love is surely as selfless and as pure as the driven snow, a Rayndian might suggest that one cannot fully devote to another without their own needs first being met. Which then shall be the more just of the two if one shall suffer?

The devotion of the loyal man involves a sort of restraint or submission of his natural desires to his cause. Loyalty without self-control is impossible.3 To what cause then does the loyal man apply his devotion? If its love for love's sake than the cause is already lost, for to have love without loyalty seems as meaningless as loyalty without love. Surely one without the other would create a very different society than the one in which has already burst forth.

If a man does not truly love what he is loyal to, that loyalty can be supplanted, overtaken; outbid. And if man is not loyal to what he truly loves, that love can wane. Loyalty is there to remind those in love why they've committed when it would be easier to forget, and the love is there to draw forth and comfort when the loyalty is not required. Loyalty strengthens love, and love strengthens loyalty. Remove either one, and the other shall surely perish. Bolster them both, and peace and trust will blossom, chasing away their bane.

I have met many people in my 40+ years, across many different continents. Many I can't even recall their faces - some not their names. Others I see on Facebook. They're different now; I'm different now. But what was experienced at the time of our connection was perfect in its harmony, like a well choreographed ballet. A flash, an exchange of ideas - a friendship. Some of my friendships were born out of my own necessity, a need for a friend, a confidant, knowledge, admiration, experience - just as I have selflessly fulfilled that role for others when it was I who was sought out. But these experiences in our lives, these friendships - they are as fluid and as fleeting as the waves.

I've enjoyed immensely each bond I've forged with others, even it was but for a time. If you think of friendships as immeasurably important moments in time it will help free you both when and if the time comes. There are people I hold near and dear to my heart, my mind, and my soul - and some of these same people I've only known a day, or a week, or a month. I have no expectation of maintaining indefinitely and/or reconnecting at that level a'la Facebook-style communique, but that does not diminish what was one iota. I've learned that we all grow at different rates, and pursue different goals. I've also learned that that's okay.

If you look at every relationship as a point-in-time occurrence, you can really appreciate what has been, rather than bemoaning what was.

Yes I have friends who have outlasted all others. It would be statistically impossible otherwise.

"If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone." ~ Samuel Johnson

To all my friends, both real and imagined, past, present and future - Thank you.

1 - http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/love
2 - http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/loyalty
3 - "The Philosophy of Loyalty" by Josiah Royce, pg 19


pcofwildthings at 2011-12-01 15:55 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the complexity of such a subject. I think love has a fluidity to it, morphing or shape-shifting between what the Greeks termed agape, eros, phileo, and storge. I've heard it said that "love is a choice," and that description has always given me pause. But I suppose if not perceived in our head or heart space, it is borne out by our actions that we are choosing to love by what we say and do and touch and remain in proximity to. Or is that loyalty, and is not that loyalty a form of love?
ehowton at 2011-12-05 14:39 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the complexity of such a subject.

I wish more people understood that most things are complex and that quick, easy fixes often do not apply. michelle1963 taught me that.
michelle1963 at 2011-12-02 21:50 (UTC) (Link)

Love and Loyalty

Definition of Loyal: unswerving allegiance.

Unswerving allegiance. An ironclad sentiment. The concept leaves no doubt. In order for one to harbor such a strong concept in regard to another person, love must be part of the equation. If love were not present, how could loyalty manifest itself? No sane person says, "Gee, I kind of like you so I'm going to give you my unswerving allegiance."

Absolutely not.

Loyalty may be based on the love between spouses, lovers, family and friends. And its flavor will be as unique as the love between each of the people involved in the relationship.

Then there is the love and loyalty one feels towards oneself. Many tend to overlook these qualities in regard to themselves. However, I would ask, if one does not love oneself, if one does not feel loyalty toward oneself (often manifested in adherence to one's own principles), then how can s/he feel love and loyalty toward anyone else?
ehowton at 2011-12-05 14:40 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Love and Loyalty

Many tend to overlook these qualities in regard to themselves.

This I had not considered, and have been thinking on and off since you mentioned it. I feel it requires further consideration still.
codekitten at 2011-12-05 13:48 (UTC) (Link)
this post reminded me of this article in regards to the friendship aspect.


thanks to you as well :)

(i put the wrong link...)

Edited at 2011-12-05 01:50 pm (UTC)
michelle1963 at 2011-12-05 14:31 (UTC) (Link)
I saw this article yesterday. It sounds as if some people finally reach a level of self-actualization when they realize their time is at an end.

ehowton at 2011-12-05 14:38 (UTC) (Link)
This is fantastic, thank you!

My only concern is my current situation with #3:

... although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

This is where I am with my wife, and while I'm unsure which direction it will ultimately end up, I don't think I'd consider the latter, "a win" :/

Thank you for posting this!
codekitten at 2011-12-05 14:51 (UTC) (Link)
i've been careful not to comment as i don't want to step over a line or on toes. now that you brought it up, i hope it works out whichever way makes sense to both of you. this is a difficult situation to navigate.
ehowton at 2011-12-05 17:06 (UTC) (Link)
Aye. The difficulty for me is that while I will absolutely stand by my vow of marriage for both reasons of love (which have only grown stronger over the years) and loyalty, the fact remains that vows are made upon a finite amount of information and subject to new information based upon experiences; why should it be demanded that I incorporate things I've learned into my everyday life - but not this?

From my Tectonic Velocity post (where I highlight the specific applicable passage), I give you this link which denotes certain relationship characteristics of the self-actualized. Its fairly comprehensive, but far from a real-life answer. In short, you'll know more as I know more:

codekitten at 2011-12-05 19:28 (UTC) (Link)
yes, that is the post where i wasn't quite sure how to handle my response and that i've been contemplating since. it's been percolating for awhile...


ehowton at 2011-12-05 19:37 (UTC) (Link)
Acknowledged. Please understand as an INTJ I've had all my toes surgically removed - it would be impossible to tred upon them. I am drawn not to conflict, but to knowledge, upon which I rely heavily on those who have had experiences which differ from my own. In short, it would be a great disservice to me if you were unable to eventually articulate your response.

If it helps, I'll take half-formed thoughts, and roughly polished replies as well - call it a starting point to a finished product. Oftentimes I am amazed at where I find myself after starting a reply which had nothing to do with where I was, and yet only by starting was I able to connect further dots. Fascinating, really.
codekitten at 2011-12-06 13:04 (UTC) (Link)
I've had all my toes surgically removed

i do worry about hurting people's feelings quite a bit. i'm never sure if things will be taken in the spirit they are given. so i usually only offer if i am asked.

If it helps...

it does. i will take this as you asking :)

Edited at 2011-12-06 01:05 pm (UTC)
michelle1963 at 2011-12-06 15:07 (UTC) (Link)
HA! With ehowton, you would have to tell him: I am saying this to hurt your feelings, if that's what you were actually trying to do. And then he'd probably just laugh. It would never occur to him otherwise to have his feelings hurt.

INTJs ~ yeah, we're kind of stupid that way.

codekitten at 2011-12-06 22:08 (UTC) (Link)
this is very refreshing! :D
ehowton at 2011-12-05 20:56 (UTC) (Link)
This is so good, that I'm going to craft an entire post out of just it - may I credit you with its find?
codekitten at 2011-12-06 12:59 (UTC) (Link)
pcofwildthings at 2011-12-06 06:16 (UTC) (Link)
That is a great link. Thanks for sharing it.
codekitten at 2011-12-06 13:00 (UTC) (Link)
No problem!
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