How do I love thee too?
Let me count the ways
Whenever I am in Rome, I like to find a nice noisy street suitable for my purpose and to sit there for hours looking at the architecture. Quiet spots are just not available in Rome, so it has to be a noisy street.
If one chooses with some care, one can see buildings on the same street, next to each other, that were designed and erected at different centuries, from Before Christ, through the intervening centuries, to today. And they are just leaning against each other in a comfort and a familiarity which is captivating.
I look at those structures and I know that I love you and I am proud of you. Yes, you. Because you have designed and built these structures yourself. To be more specific, WE have designed and built them. Some of the streets of Rome are an actual map of the progress we have made through the centuries as human beings and I get a feeling of pride at what we humans have been able to achieve and at what we are capable of.
Yes, I know, we have also seriously screwed up through the centuries as well and we have been cruel and unjust to each other. We have found ways and means to hurt each other and to persecute each other with a cruelty that is so shameful we want to hide from it and to forget. But let’s not do that. Let us remember our weaknesses as well; no matter how shameful they may be, because they also contribute to our understanding of how good we can really be and how much better we can be with each other.
Even the cruelty being perpetrated today in some parts of Africa, where armed groups mutilate and murder in horrendous fashion, is our own cruelty and our own responsibility, even though we like to pretend that we have nothing to do with it and that we are superior to such base acts. We feel this detachment because we forget that we have raped and stolen from Africa indiscriminately for centuries, without really giving anything back that we were not forced to give.
While stealing their wealth, had we but taken the trouble to invest even a little of the stolen booty to educate our African brethren, how many more Mandela’s might we not now have?
Ah…, Mandela. How can you not feel proud to be related somehow to that man? Because we are all related to each other you know. We are related factually, not theoretically.
I have recently had my Y-chromosome (male line) DNA analysed and the results held some real surprises for me. My paternal grandfather was born in an isolated mountainous village of Cyprus, so what the fuck were the Danes doing there? I am apparently related to one in every 615 Danes. I don’t feel Danish and I don’t want to be Danish, but my Haplogroup is R1b1b2 (also known as M269+ ) and that is where my most recent male line is from (10,000-12,000 years ago).
Haplogroup R1b1b2 (or M269+ )
According to “Family Tree DNA” who did the test, we all started out form East Africa and the spot is imaginatively marked as “Adam”. You can see on the map how our original ancestors gradually colonised various parts of the world and how our “R” strain mutated into what has become the European strain of R1, which in turn mutated into R1a for Scandinavia and R1b for the rest of Europe. Our R2 ancestors turned right and became the God-like Gandhi and when I say that name tears come to my eyes at how it is possible to be related to THAT man!
World-wide Haplogroup connections
Now those of us who are from Europe and to our shame have tried to convince the rest of the world that we are better than they, look at how related we are to those people, as shown in the map above.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right
Albert Schweitzer, who was also an R1b, understood very well what John Donne meant by "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." And it is not only other men’s deaths that diminish us, it is their suffering too and more so.
I recently visited a Victorian poor house in the UK and I came out of it Angry and Furious and I use the capital letters advisedly. I was angry at the system which allowed human beings to be treated with so much contempt at a time when Britain was at the height of its power and its wealth. How could that bloated, well fed German queen have so little love and respect for her “subjects”? With so much wealth acquired from controlling about a fifth of the world’s resources, how could it be possible to allow so much degradation to take place on an official level?
And here the Royalists of course rise up in arms to defend their Queen. They are the same ones ready not to die for their families their homes and their country, but for Queen and Country, God bless their poor brainwashed hearts.
I love thee by sun and candle-light
So whether I am sitting in a street of Rome admiring the achievements we have made as a species, or a street in Binondo, China Town, Manila admiring the passion, the energy and the love that motivates our brave Filipino brethren to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their families (and not for some gluttonous monarch who does not want to know them), or reading a poem by the Immortal Rizal, I feel an all encompassing love to the depth and heights of possibility.
I feel so impressed when I read the efforts of people trying to contribute SOMETHING, anything to the overall good. It is this desire to contribute which pushes us forward as a species and produces one success after another. We cannot all be Einstein, but we can participate in his visions and be proud that we are related to him, because we really are, even though to some he posed a threat because he was a Jew. We are closely related, possibly even brothers. So when the Nazis were doing their killings, they were not just committing murder, they were in reality committing fratricide.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
Every man’s library should include a copy of Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself”, because it just about says it all:
I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
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