The Premise of Love

If you have ever loved truly someone in an unselfish way, then your heart has developed an eye that perceives the intrinsic value of the beloved. Most of the time people are just objects of use or respect or admiration. They give us pleasure and their absence would give us pain, but we are not outraged by their death because it does not affect us that deeply. And we take death for granted.

But when someone close to us dies, we are outraged and we have often an argument with God. “God, how could you do this?” “Well, it’s just like everybody else…” “Yeah but…” It looks different. Why? Because your identity is so invested in that person that is as if God killed you and not them. So, if you have that agape love and if that eye in the heart awakes, then you perceive the intrinsic value of the beloved. And then you can use that premise as an argument for immortality.

The kind of thing that a human being is isn’t the kind of thing that could conceivably be just treated like dirty diapers. That is a very weak argument logically. If don’t experience that deep premise through deep love, you’re not going to be moved by that argument at all. But if you do, you are.

— Peter Kreeft, from lecture on “Desire” (The innate hunger for total joy)  <link>