LOVE OF LIFE
In the face of the various destructive tendencies that you could detect in contemporary(necrophilia) society, Erich Fromm has made a vigorous call to develop everything that could be about love of life (biophilia), if we don’t want to fall into what the famous scientist calls «the syndrome of decadence».
Undoubtedly we need to be attentive to the many forms of aggressiveness, violence and destruction that are being generated in modern society. More than one sociologist talks about an authentic «culture of violence». But there are other more subtle forms and, by being so, more efficacious in destroying the growth and life of people.
The automation of labor, the overloading of lifestyles, the bureaucratization of society, the objectification of relationships: these and so many other factors are bringing many people to feel they aren’t alive, they are just cogs of a social machinery.
Thousands of individuals today in the West live comfortable but monotonous lives, where the lack of feeling and of projection can suffocate all truly human growth.
Therefore some people end up losing contact with everything that’s alive. Their life is full of things. They only seem to be moved by acquiring new stuff. They function according to the program that society dictates to them.
Others seek all kinds of stimulation. They need to work, produce, run around or have fun. They need to experience always new emotions. Something exciting that lets them feel they’re still alive.
If something characterizes Jesus’ personality it’s his passionate love for life, his biophilia. The Gospel stories present him fighting against all that blocks life, mutilates it or belittles it. He’s always attentive to what could let people grow. He’s always sowing life, health, meaning.
He himself outlines his task with expressions taken from Isaiah: «The blind see again, and the lame walk, those suffering from virulent skin-diseases are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the good news is proclaimed to the poor; and blessed is anyone who does not find me a cause of falling».
Blessed in truth are those who discover that to be a believing person means to not hate life, but to love it, not blocking or mutilating our being but opening it up to better possibilities. Many people today abandon faith in Jesus Christ before having experienced the truth of these words of his: «I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full» (John 10,10).
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf