These are some excerpts from my ongoing discussion with Antonio on Hegel which I wanted to highlight as they reflect on agápe – unconditional love…
My Comment to Antonio,
I wanted to respond to the post on love which you published here – https://epochemagazine.org/better-to-have-loved-lost-recognition-love-and-self-211a3948f281. I find the observations you make about love the result of practical wisdom. Personally, I would not lay the Hegelian grid over the very important and mature lessons one needs to learn to have a successful older age and, in my opinion, a successful life. Many never learn these lessons: recognition, desire, abstract and concrete love, self-love (and self-esteem), love for the other (I would also include Other – more on that later) and the ‘better to have loved than never to have loved at all’ which to me translates to ‘to be or not to be– that is not the question – the question is what shall we make of the Other’. I understand perfectly how negation can apply in all the cases you cited. ‘Negation’ in these cases meaning notions similar to what I might think as projection, need, sensual pleasure, recognition by the other which always fails, etc..
However, where I think these dialectics fail is a case you did not mention – what the ancient Greeks had the unique word for – agápe. Agápe is unconditional love like the love a parent has for a child. All the ‘negations’ or pitfalls along the way that you mention can derail a person such that are incapable of agápe when they have children. In turn, this dysfunctionality can result in children that have barriers set up to their mature and full development in the ways of love. Of course, Freud and Lacan both deal with these psychological pitfalls but I prefer Lacan to Freud.
For a child to develop in infancy it needs mirroring, first by the mother according to Lacan (although I am not convinced others cannot fill this role in infancy). First, a few things about Lacan. For Lacan, the unconscious is language. Language is not private or personal but collective, cultural, social, historical, etc.. For Lacan there is a tripartite: Imaginary, Symbolic and Real. The imaginary is the root of meaning, semantic or what we might generally think of as consciousness. The symbolic is not conscious, it is the linguistic writing of the unconscious, the syntax, constituted by mutual differences. For Lacan the symbolic is the radical alterity of the Other – for me the he or the she. For Lacan the real is an ontological absolute or what Hegel would call the being-for-itself. All the parallelisms you name, Being and Nothing, form and content, appearance and essence, thought and thinking, etc. are regions of the symbolic not the real. The real is undifferentiated. It is outside language and absolutely resists symbolization. It is impossible to imagine and impossible to attain. It cannot be mediated and therefore is the locus of absolute anxiety.
With regard to Desire, Lacan distinguishes need from demand. Need is the desire for recognition from the other. Demand both articulates need and the demand for love. For Lacan, the demand for love is the need to receive agápe – unconditional love. For me, all of the dynamics you refer to in your post fall under the rubric of Lacan’s notion of Desire.
If a child fails to get mirroring in infancy and fails to integrate transitional objects into its reality, the child will likely have a lifelong problem connecting words and thoughts to meaning. If the child cannot name objects in the world and have them correspond to meaning, intense anxiety is the result. Remember the real is undifferentiated and coupled with the child’s inability to differentiate, to connect, to verbalize, to relate the imaginary to the non-present-able symbolic results in the basis of anxiety. When semantic cannot find syntax it flounders in the horrific real which can never come to conscious or unconscious.
For me, as I understand Levinas, the symbolic is the retreat from the face of the Other, the he or the she. The he or the she is the real. However, by real I mean the radical alterity of their infinity which faces us. Their otherness is taken as horror, as alien, by ontology. The retreat from the he or the she as transcendent to me, to my past, my temporality, my imagination, forms the basis of what Levinas calls the ‘said’. The ‘said’ is the locus of language and history. It is the dread of the scene of writing in Blanchot, the il y a. The said is the mechanical and monstrous repetition of what Hegel referred to as the negation of the idea to the thing – the thing can never appear in itself as alienated and also ontologically ‘present’ (e.g., as if in some metaphysical sense). So the idea is a phantasm of the thing. The idea supplants the thing in a ghostly form just as imagination for Lacan holds the place of the symbolic, the conscious supplants the unconsciousness. Juxtaposed to the said is the saying, the other that faces us and speaks to us. Just as with the thing – we must supplicate, supplant, the he or she with the idea, with language, with phantasma. In so doing, we replicate the violence of murder for Levinas. We violate the commandment against murder, vis a vis our passivity beyond all passivity to the infinity of the Other. This why I think of the Concept, the Idea, the Notion in Hegel as a reification of the absoluteness of the said. This is why Hegelian idea-ology has been utilized by both fascist and communists. The said is replication. Replication can be manipulated and thus, the imaginary, the semantic, can be determinate as violence, ambition, power.
Let me back up at this point and give you my personal idea concerning agápe – giving unconditional love for a child. If a person can make it through all the pitfalls of love that you explicated, they may be lucky enough to encounter a Desire which is not based on need and the demand for love as reception in the Lacanian sense. It is still a Desire but it is an absolute Desire for the good of the Other – even against my need or my demand – even if it destroys me to benefit the Other, the child. Unconditional love is Desire which we consciously know with absolute certainty that it will never be fulfilled but counts that as nothing in regard to the Other, the he or the she, the child. Unconditional love lays down its life for the Other, turns the check, accepts abuse without recourse to anger and retribution – to murder. This, I and Levinas, call Ethics. It cannot be supplanted by violence as violence goes against its absolute constitution. It is always for the Other over against my fears, my imaginations, even my ontological concerns for Being, for my being, my temporality, my past.
One practical example of how this plays out is my experience
when I occasionally would lose patience with my child. I could never be simply angry with my child
even if I was the object of abuse. Any
feeling of anger was always and immediately mediated by pain for my child. Even after the horrific and tragic suicide of
my son I have felt anger as to how could he do this to me, how could he rob me
of my pride and joy for his future – for our future – even with that anger it
always comes with mediation, with pain, with essential concern for him. I cannot languish in anger only in pain, a
‘full’ pain for him, for what he must have feared that drove him to such an
extreme act. Now, what I have left with
regard to the presence of my son is his absence and the presence of pain, deep
– beyond my ability – beyond my able to be able – to be ultimately vulnerable
to Chris…but honestly, if that is all I have left, as far as presence, with
Chris – I will take that with the fullness of his once upon my time with his
diachronous time. My eternal hurt and my
pain pale to the radical infinity, the alterity, that was/is my son, my
Chris. I will take the debt I owe him
for his Otherness to my grave and count it as the basis of the highest, the
best, the most beautiful which imagination could and never can, by essence,
discover. Because of unconditional love
for the Other, my son, I have found contentment even in the most painful loss
anyone could ever imagination. I think
this is the essence of what Levinas calls Ethics.
No worries about the delayed response, I was actually expecting it to be much more delayed by what you had said prior. Now it’s me with the delayed response. Apologies, my mind has been wandering lately and I haven’t felt the inspiration to properly reply.
First, I must say (and you will see this repeated often enough the longer the conversation goes) that we agree more than is at first apparent. This isn’t just true for this, but I’ve noticed with anyone it ends up being about everything. It’s not a something uniquely Hegelian, often one finds it in eclecticism as well, but it seems immanent to the Hegelian standpoint as such. For many this strikes as initially confusing, but it also ends up striking them as sophistry which moves back and forth, and for the extremes it ends up making me the enemy of both while being found nowhere between them on their flat plane. For me, however, it is no surprise to find agreement beyond myself in just about anybody who has anything to say that is true. The great barrier is, of course, our own background and terminology and what these really mean as opposed to what we think the other means in equivocating our terms which may only share the term name but not form/content.
“Personally, I would not lay the Hegelian grid over the very important and mature lessons one needs to learn to have a successful older age, an in my opinion a successful life. Many never learn these lessons: recognition, desire, abstract and concrete love, self-love (and self-esteem), love for the other (I would also include Other – more on that later) and the ‘better to have loved than never to have loved at all’ which to me translates to ‘to be or not to be– that is not the question – the question is what shall we make of the Other’. I understand perfectly how negation can apply in all the cases you cited. ‘Negation’ in these cases meaning notions similar to I might think as projection, need, sensual pleasure, recognition by the other which always fails, etc..”
I agree that we should not lay such a grid over reality. In an existential comprehension, Hegelian structures and dynamics aren’t conducive to much of anything, but I would also say what I tend to say to people regarding Hegelian analysis and speculation: if you ever did it well nobody at all would notice that you were doing it. A good Hegelian never appears as “Hegelian,” and the recollection of experience is only possible after the fact, but it is also the case that we do not experientially learn in the same manner that we conceptually learn in abstraction.—That aside, your shift from “to love or not to love” to “to be or not to be, that is not the question” is interesting. I had not considered that shift.
Correct my interpretation if I err, but what I comprehend here is this: these are inevitabilities of the very fact of life, that they occur or not is not ours to choose, rather we can only choose how we shall relate and what we shall make of the Other once we are in this moment (and it must also be implied that this concerns ourselves).
Concerning negation, it literally applies to everything. Hegel begins with the being of nothing, the substantiality of activity, determinate indeterminacy. Any moment of positivity is but the turn of attention towards one moment of the dialectic.
You’re right to have noticed the deep flaw that is the lack of agape in my article—I intentionally left it out. Originally the piece was more than double the length and expanded far more on issues that for need of conciseness and clarity I decided I should just leave out with but a passing mention without relying on the usual philosophical terminology and Jargon.
Now, you say dialectics *fail* with agape. This is a misunderstanding, for dialectical movement is not exactly what you might think, although seeing your blog and your knowledge of Zizek/Lacan I think you are aware of what I shall say next. The dialectic returns at full force with agape in its full reflexive inversion when it fully plays itself out on an absolute standpoint. It is not only about what we experience for ourselves, but what we end up doing to ourselves in our own faithfulness to our intent. This does not imply a failure of our intent, we may succeed in everything we desire all the while having failed to embody in ourselves an absolute condition. If agape is love without condition and by implication self-regard in its sacrifice, then this only makes intelligible sense as meaningful in its ultimate opposition to its absolute other, the self-regarding. To love those who love us and do not harm us is easy, to forgive mistakes is simple. The difficulty always lies when the other truly meant to hurt us, was indifferent to us, and shows no sign of caring. You and I know that it takes a very special kind of insight and emotional development and detachment from immediate emotions to not just utter, but really experience, the forgiving of such acts and persons.
You and I know full well the reality of a situation in which this unconditional love returns as self-harm, complete disregard for ourselves, becoming not our self-constitution but dissolution. No general reality can be maintained with an agape with no self-regard, for when faced with a force that is self-regarding it will only succumb to its violence. The beauty of letting the other be and merely reveal itself to us is, I think, a reality for few and not a general reality for most. The language of ‘revelation’ in letting the other be was exactly what I used to describe my relation to my mother and to my sister, as well as theirs to me. This revelation, ideally, should only be that: revelation. It is, however, a lie we tell ourselves in believing no judgment should come of this as if such revelation is indifferent to us or to them. No one who loves us, and nobody we love, can make revelations that do not at once force us to make judgments, and judgments at once separate while uniting. Here Hegel’s concept of infinity is the model of an unconditionality which is in fact conditioned by its own necessary reality. In judging others we also judge ourselves, in their revelation to us we are immediately forced to reveal ourselves as well. While this is less common now, thankfully, we both can remember the absolute fear the LGBT community lived and continues to sadly live in many place concerning their revelation not just to society but to family itself. There are plenty of stories where many parents were put between the contradiction of love for god or love for child, and to this day among the Hispanic community there is still a hesitance of this contradiction even though it more than less is beginning to shift towards accepting the child “while not accepting the sin.” People jump through hoops to delude themselves that there can be a difference between loving their child and hating something that they simply are. This is a willing split between form and content. With a child, and even with a lover and friend this is possible, but it’s not exactly ideal.
I think you will disagree, but my view of unconditional love is *not* self-sacrifice. My view of unconditional love is ideally the relation of two free individuals which operate as one, fully dependent in their independency, no externality imposes the relation and neither is it imposed by an internality of emotions that may drive us to self-destruction. This is love which is at once self-love, full revelation and opening of the self to an other which accepts it, self-constituting and creative—to me it is truly friendship as Aristotle conceived it. In the reality of failure, unconditionality of love hinges on the power of forgiving, not in simply being a passive stepping stone for the other to continually relate to in any way. The other may harm me, it may be too much for me at one moment, but that does not rescind love though it may rescind our contact for a moment. To give my example: the pain inflicted on me by my sister and my mother was great, and in my sister’s case one could even add evil intent, nonetheless I never rescind love to them. I shall not be present for their abuses as a constancy, but I am open to contact regardless of the past. Not only am I open, but I attempt to seek that contact as the reality of that openness. I remember my sister with a deeply sad fondness and longing, but not anger or blame.
With my mother this has worked out and we are much closer than ever, though reservations of revelation persist. With my sister, however, I send a message once a year every year wishing her the best and reminding her that if she ever needs help I will help, and if she ever wishes t talk, I am open even though I am terrified of such contact. I maintain a distance not only because she seems to not want any relation, but also because I am aware of the harm it can cause me. I think you would understand what my relation is like if you consider that at the point when I met my sister I was internally not well-constituted and lacked a solid sense of self and self-worth. What she did to me then was in large part internalized both positively and negatively, and while I am infinitely better for it, I am also still carrying the scars of negativity which remained as well as were added then. Imagine if your son before dying had blamed you for everything, called you a failure as a father, and you had taken it *seriously* if only for a moment, and let that enter you and become part of you. Radical openness to the other, as I conceive it, is this self which only drinks in the other for its own content. Hegel conceives the other first as this radical falling into otherness. The one that does not do this is in fact not existentially open to the other *as merely other*, for its has its own inner otherness to that otherness (the other of the other is the other within), it has a standpoint to keep it at bay and remain disinterested observant to its revelation. You say you feel no guilt for your son,and you shouldn’t, but you are someone who clearly achieved a significant self-concretization. As Hegel determines it, you are the other which has its own otherness in opposition to the other. Most people do not have this, this is why they cannot stand and bear the other to be. Every little thing the other does, even just intellectually or sensuously grasped, enters into their own emptiness. For you, however, there is no fear, for you are. You have ways to comprehend the other that do not imply their necessary internalization to you, all the while you need not do anything to or for them in recognizing their otherness. You unlike most can let this difference stand because you have determination which they do not.
Agape, is, of course, not necessarily manifest as some pure passivity, it has momentary limits which it may set, but these are not ultimate limits. As you note, no parent that loves their child can truly set that final limit where love, care, desire for well-being of the Other is cut off. The reality, is, however, that this relation can almost never be real. It can never be real not only because the other may come to harm us by our own allowance to a degree that can kill us, but because this unconditionality itself can sometimes breed the very soul which destroys us when it itself has never experienced the limit of the Other.——(This leads to other issues too long to go on here, but I think part of our capacity to have such an active experience as love at all has to do precisely with that the Other is in fact perceived not in its otherness. I mentioned the truly alien in a prior email, to me that is the real Other, not any human being. Even to a psychopath we can find a way to relate, but of another being which has different capacities and a different order of reason which is indifferent if not different to ours, that is something that really puts us off. Artificial intelligence is also a real candidate of the Other, many are just terrified of what an intellect that lacks emotion and our embodied limits would think and therefore do in relation to us. They point precisely to this fundamental inconceivability of what the other is within as the eeriness.)
Agape, while beautiful in one moment, is a terror in another. The assumption behind its beauty is not agape as such in some absolute abstraction, but the wise who can bear it—people like you who have the self that stand for itself and can bear this weight without self-destruction. I know too many people who have unfortunately given themselves for their children without any restraint, and in doing so they produced monsters who leech their life and bring them to ruin for not having the capacity to set a limit. No society can actually be based on this bare selfless regard, it destroys itself even in its purity.
This is, to finish this part of my response anyway, a second part of the reality of dialectic. Not only is it there in the existential and the logical reflexion, but it is ultimately an abstraction of this as an absolute principle in the intent to show that this in fact is not the basis of world that can function. Here you and I are speaking not just from different philosophical traditions, but of different aims of discourse. You stand within the phenomenal and existential relative, however, I stand within the intelligible and universal absolute. My discussion of love concerns its capacity for completeness regarding the standpoint of freedom, which it simply cannot achieve even in its most perfect existence. However, this does not negate your standpoint at all, for insofar as we are to be speaking of the same moment of our lives and its experiences, I think we shall find an overwhelming similarity not just in our stories but our conceptual and experiential observations if we bracket ourselves to this domain and an aim of discussion. I’ve noticed this in the general literature of this concept as well, where I find differences of conception, but an immense overlap in those very differences.
By the way, I read your blog post on mathematics and
paradox, where you mention Hegel. I’ll leave it for another time, but I think
your discussion of Hegel there fails by no fault of your own, but rather of
your secondary sources on the account of what dialectical contradiction is.
It’s something I consider so mundane and baseline that I’m amazed scholars have
failed so badly to state it clearly.
My Comment to Antonio,
I should also apologize to you for a delayed response. I have been more busy now with regular work – software, guitar playing, recording, wife, daughter and working out every day…uggg…anyway, I have also been working on a rather lengthy response to your previous email – the one where you cite your belief in aether – I found this email intriguing all the way through but I am currently working on the first part with regard to the aether. I have been brushing up on my knowledge of historic and current schools of thought in relativity and quantum mechanics – which is time consuming in its own right. I want to understand among the different schools of physics where anything such as ‘aether’ finds its current roots. I have already found much to write in this regard but I would like to work through the rest of the email first. I appreciate this new email you just sent and will add that to my future response as well but I did want to make a few brief remarks about your thoughts of unconditional love. Unconditional love, even as a pure concept, loses its meaning if it becomes obsession or extinction of the self for various reasons of self-loathing, projecting on the other ones own failures and losses to move towards maturity, using the other as a tool of one’s own existential angst, etc.. Let me point out a few cases in your email that exhibit what I think is a loss of the definition of unconditional love…
“by implication self-regard in its sacrifice, then this only makes intelligible sense as meaningful in its ultimate opposition to its absolute other, the self-regarding. To love those who love us and do not harm us is easy, to forgive mistakes is simple. The difficulty always lies when the other truly meant to hurt us, was indifferent to us, and shows no sign of caring. You and I know that it takes a very special kind of insight and emotional development and detachment from immediate emotions to not just utter, but really experience, the forgiving of such acts and persons.”
Let me say, I have told others that my son, in killing himself, did something to me that my worst enemy could have never done. However, it would never occur to me to consider forgiveness as an object of importance or even relevance in this matter. I do not feel the need to forgive him as if that would clear the way for love again or something of the sort. Perhaps, this is something that would be a concern for a person who felt jilted or hurt by someone they cared about, possibly like your sister, but for me, for my beautiful son, my unconditional love for him goes beyond the grave, beyond the immense pain inflicted on me. The question of forgiveness does not even come close to me questioning my love for him or his love for me – the love I have for him cannot find a negation or a failure, remorse, self-loathing projection from some psychological perceived or real existential self-doubt, etc. – it is not any need on my part to torment or negate my sense of self. ‘Sacrifice’ is also irrelevant. Unconditional love does not love a child to satisfy some sense of ‘sacrifice’. Sure, sacrifice is a practical result of this type of love as one’s work and effort is performed for an other to myself but what might look like sacrifice from the outside is from the inside joy, fulfillment and solid satisfaction which is lasting. The types of self related and absorbed notions you cite totally miss what I think is meant by unconditional love. In your notions of forgiveness and sacrifice, there is a neutrality and irrelevance with regard to unconditional love which I will mention more later.
“the reality of a situation in which this unconditional love returns as self-harm, complete disregard for ourselves, becoming not our self-constitution but dissolution. No general reality can be maintained with an agape with no self-regard, for when faced with a force that is self-regarding it will only succumb to its violence”
By definition and existential reality, unconditional love is NOT self-harm, NOT dissolution of self, NOT passive in regard to some masochistic need to torment oneself. All these suggestions escape the orbit of unconditional love altogether. Again, there is a neutrality and irrelevance to these concepts which are artificially imported perhaps from other dysfunctional types of love but can in no way be called or thought as unconditional love.
“There are plenty of stories where many parents were put between the contradiction of love for god or love for child, and to this day among the Hispanic community there is still a hesitance of this contradiction even though it more than less is beginning to shift towards accepting the child “while not accepting the sin.” People jump through hoops to delude themselves that there can be a difference between loving their child and hating something that they simply are. This is a willing split between form and content. With a child, and even with a lover and friend this is possible, but it’s not exactly ideal.
I think you will disagree, but my view of unconditional love is *not* self-sacrifice. My view of unconditional love is ideally the relation of two free individuals which operate as one, fully dependent in their independency, no externality imposes the relation and neither is it imposed by an internality of emotions that may drive us to self-destruction. This is love which is at once self-love, full revelation and opening of the self to an other which accepts it, self-constituting and creative—to me it is truly friendship as Aristotle conceived it. In the reality of failure, unconditionality of love hinges on the power of forgiving, not in simply being a passive stepping stone for the other to continually relate to in any way.”
Again, no resemblance to unconditional love at all in my opinion. Of course, it is not self-sacrifice, hating what one simply is or some sort of helpless passivity in the face of the other. All of these criticisms (negations) you cite STILL belong to self- obsession and inability to rise above self, me, mine, etc.. This is not unconditional love – this is narcissism whether conscious of itself or not. Also, an infant-child cannot, by definition, be fully independent (i.e., like a fully mature adult). I agree that a healthy love relationship (i.e., like the love my wife and I have for each other) can only happen when each person is independent and self-fulfilled. Honestly, I think unconditional love may be essentially based on a parent-child relationship not any other type of love relationship. An infant is absolutely dependent. A child and an adolescent are on the beginning of a long journey. They have yet to learn the lessons you cited in your essay on love. Certainly, a parent that has unconditional love for their child wants them to acquire the basics they need to have a chance of learning more mature lessons of love which you have cited and learned. But wisdom dictates that my child has **their** sacred journey and a wise parent does not want to infringe, control or project on their sacred obligation to allow their child to find their own path, their own self – a wise parent wants to enhance a child’s unique right to be but not control their right to be in any way.
“Imagine if your son before dying had blamed you for everything, called you a failure as a father, and you had taken it *seriously* if only for a moment, and let that enter you and become part of you.”
True, that never happened between Chris and I. He always loved and respected me and I cannot even imagine him ever saying or even thinking such things. Chris was a beautiful and very sweet kid – his elementary school teachers called him ‘the lover’ because he always stood up for other kids that were not popular or ridiculed by other kids. However, even if that had happened as you describe it, it would not become a ‘part of me’. Sure, it would be hurtful but since I know the extent which I, in practice, loved and cared for Chris day to day and year to year – I could never doubt that real and practical commitment towards his good. As far as mortally possible I loved him unconditionally – I know the extent of that love and I can see no shadow of doubt about it. I also know that I was the adult in that relationship and my role was not to control Chris or win some kind of recognition but to be steadfast and sincere in **his** regard – not mine – a mature adult has boundaries not walls. By the way, since I was able to retire when my kids were very young I was able to be full time Mr. Mom to them when I think it was a very critical time for them – I was really lucky to be able to do that.
I feel no guilt or remorse about how I loved my son because, as far as mortally possible, I loved him wholly and fully through many years of tenderness, respect, obligation with wisdom about my boundaries and his. I can say humbly and without any negative connotations for those that believe differently that, for me, unconditional love is the absolute that love for the other can attain. Unconditional love cannot even be possible without learning all the lessons you alluded to in your post on love. Also, as I mentioned earlier I am not sure unconditional love is possible for any other type of love than a parent-child. I am not aware of any ancient Greek notion of agape that would vary with that notion. In any case, I think unconditional love as the pinnacle of what love can be sets the height, beauty and wonder for the ideal of love.
As a corollary, I think the absolute that healthy, self-love can attain to is ethics. For me, honesty, compassion, active concern for the other, etc. is only possible for those that have attained integrity. By the way, integrity is also a duty to oneself to take care of one’s own health so that one can be able to be able for the other. The self is most its own when it holds itself open and fully in an ethical relation to the other. Hatred, envy, arrogance, violence, etc. is a pathology of selfhood. Holding oneself genuinely and ethically open to the other is the highest and most difficult the self can attain. This is why I would think of it as absolute – perhaps not an absolute from the perspective of Hegelian Idea but functionally and existentially the state of self-hood which is most itself – healthy, at peace, without regret or self- doubt. To the degree that one violates selfhood as ethical obligation to the other (what I think as integrity), is to the degree that one fails to be most their self. I have seen, as I am sure you have, what happens when people lose their way in anger, regret, addiction, desire which simply uses the other, etc..
I have no need to make the notions of unconditional love larger than me as towards some absolute constitution of Concept – it may be that the notions do have such portions but, for me, Concept adds nothing to or takes anything away from these notions. I think there have been several instances in my discussion where, from the way I perceive it, there is a neutrality in some of your imported objections/negations/dialections (I know this is not a word) to unconditional love. I suppose you can make unconditional love into a ‘good and bad side’ (light/darkness, positive assertion/contradiction, thesis/antithesis, etc.) which culminates in a union of opposites to the ‘higher Concept’. But from my perspective, I am not sure the ‘higher Concept’ has room, is capable of, encoding neutralities ((alien, nonrelational, without regard to, irrelevant to, unaccountable to the absolute as Concept, simply what ‘is’ without having the **potentially capacity** for essential negation without losing the notion altogether – making the neutrality into dogma, other to System and thus irrelevant, etc.)) into its vocabulary. As an example and question, do we still have unconditional love when we insist on applying all the adjectives of negation you cited and I have pointed out in this discussion or do we just have a convenient way to lose the idea which has a definite and distinct existential content? Does the idea lose something in translation from the particular to the universal? Why must we insist that neutrality, irrelevance, to Concept is yet **still** Concept – is this knowledge or obsession? Oh well, in any case, for me, unconditional love is heterogeneous and diachronous – incapable of finding a universal foothold in Concept – works just fine for me. l