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The need for consciousness in a floundering world.

by David Truman

"Unconditional love" seems to be a buzz phrase in the global spiritual community. But what is unconditional love, really?

According to the popular view, unconditional love means to accept people "just as they are" -- with all their flaws, addictions, and bad habits -- and not complain or correct. You must have a blanket acceptance of all things as good -- yes, even things that hurt people -- or else you don't love them.

But is this really unconditional love? -- "I will hold my tongue while you drink your way into the gutter." I'm sure you can see the problem with that: it's not really loving. It's killing people with "kindness."

The common misconception about unconditional love is supported by another misconception, about the meaning of acceptance. Let's say a woman loves a man, but he acts like a coarse brute most of the time. When she complains about his behavior, he responds with this defense: "Why can't you just accept me as I am?" He believes, wrongly, that any critique or "judgment" is a total failure of acceptance.

But the truth is, she does accept him as he is. She sees his sensitive, beautiful heart, and she knows if he would just be true to himself, he would act different. But unfortunately, he doesn't know that. He thinks his brutish ways are who he is.

So, what is unconditional love, really?

In truth, neither true love nor true acceptance requires that we accept evil. It requires that we look beyond evil, yes -- and that we love a person despite their faults. But it's not truly loving to accept a person's negative self-views as who they are, or to be okay with their bad behavior. After all, if the truth be told:

NO ONE loves bad habits that ruin lives, and prevent people from realizing who they are.

To love a person truly is to love their real self, and not their ego habits or their false persona.

The problem with unconditional denial

Honesty is the heresy of the modern age. Honest critical feedback is absolutely wrong; it is "judgmental." Therefore, one should never speak out against destructive choices, patterns, or processes. That's the prevailing view. And parents, school teachers, friends, lovers, therapists, support group leaders, ministers, gurus -- they're all on the program: accept, and don't criticize.

But all these "unconditional lovers" are helping create a world of unhappy, lonely, spiritually unfulfilled people. Living without honest feedback and moral discernment is spiritually dangerous. It permits a person to develop in directions that are self-destructive.

The upcoming generation is a perfect example of what happens when we fail to criticize. For lack of adequate steering and discipline, we've raised a generation of emotionally and practically dysfunctional people.

Life without daddy

So now, we have a world full of weak, egotistical people, who fear real authority in any form, and revile any source of critical feedback. Surely you have noticed a strong patricidal impulse among people today [patricide: to kill the father]. Whenever true consciousness is expressed, it is immediately attacked, discredited, rebuffed, and nullified, with statements like these: "That is too judgmental. That is not unconditional love."

People don't just rebel against the usual authority figures: parents, teachers, bosses, etc. They're out to kill the father in one another, too. In the usual friendship or couple, if either person says a critical word, the other will jump on them for being judgmental and mean. Death to daddy; long live mommy!

But life without consciousness is no life at all. The evidence is all around us. Everywhere, we see neurotic people living their solitary lives in unquestioned fear and delusion. We have a world of people acting stupid, while no one has the courage to say anything about it. In nations, communities, churches, families, marriages -- the same wretched story.

There's a crying need for course correction, if life is to be rescued from the trash can. If this generation is to have a real chance at a fulfilling life, they must be retrained, raised up again. And for that to happen, they must open themselves back up to the daddy love they need -- the love that would actually take a hit for them, that would suffer the resistance, the defensiveness, the claws and the spitting -- all to save them from their own bad choices.

So here's what I'm saying: Daddy come home!

Daddy, come home

Mother love and father love are both needed; we need both consciousness and unconditional love, criticism and appreciation, discerning awareness and unconditional devotion. Life is not supported by just the all-approving mommy love; only slippery slopes into hellish conditions of dysfunction and pain.

Daddy come home. But daddy will not live where daddy is abused, and not tolerated. You can't have a flower on a parking lot that is paved. You can't have daddy in a life that is so afraid of consciousness that it hides in the closet, and snipes at daddy when it can. If we want daddy, we need to welcome daddy, not vilify him, hate him, or crucify him.

So, next time you want to be loved, think about what love really is. Think about it holistically, and honestly. Don't think it is mere collusion, or indiscriminate approval. And next time you want to be accepted as you are, think about who you really are. Those are the kinds of discernments that need to be made. Those are the kinds of things daddy would beg you to consider, in your infinite wisdom.