I’ve stumbled upon this saying by Sergey Dovlatov, one of the best soviet writers:
The opposite of love is not disgust or even indifference. The opposite of
love is lie.
This has made me think trying to understand how did he mean it. But then, I’ve remembered the Bible, where we read:
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
(Romans 13: Love, for the Day is Near)
And this has suddenly made sense to the Dovlatov’s saying. Loving has something to do with treating others as good as yourself. In case you’ve already meet The Love of Your Life, you’ll treat her/him even better than yourself. On the other hand, lying is the opposite – it is obtaining something from others, and not planning to give an equivalent back.
Well, technically, when you say to a patient who is about to die tomorrow that he will surely heal, it is lying. But, yet again, having a sexual intercourse is also called making love. To me, these are just examples of how imperfect natural languages are at defining terms…
I prefer to use LOVE in its christian sense as another word for God, and to use LIE as another word for rip-off or scam. Having that, both sayings have now perfect sense to me.
Sometimes people you love would lie to you. This shouldn’t happen at all, but it happens, and is even so normal that people have words for that, like betrayal. It has also happened to me in my past life. Unfortunately, I’m not a Christian enough to still love the liars, and I’m even struggling to forgive them…
And sometimes, people you love just cannot love you back. Now this is what should be normal, because everybody’s different. But it is strange that I can’t find a neutral word for that. Unrequired love, ungrateful, thankless – all these sound negative and reproaching. May be because it hurts… But what word would you use if you’re hurt, but still don’t want to sound negative, because you’re still loving and caring?..