To Love, Or To Hate: A Short Video About Our Perspective On Life

by Faith & Life, Morals & Values, Self-Knowledge, Spiritual Warfare

Every decision, every look, every gesture, every thought, every feeling… everything can be defined at heart using two terms: love or hate. Among the infinite number of grades and degrees, we constantly plot either one course or another for our life.

This video was created for the 2010 Advertising & Design Club of Canada Awards. It taps into two channels of thinking, two attitudes fundamentally opposed, through which one interprets and colors the reality around him or her.

I find it fascinating how categories such as “love” and “hate” that are so deeply rooted in reality are able to give life to all, regardless of the superficiality from which one draws upon them. Here, they are understood as attitudes or, perhaps better, perspectives. And while in employing these terms the video is able to effectively transmit a message; at the same time, we need to be careful so as to not fall into misconceptions.

The video, in my viewpoint, has a potential danger, in that it sells one of those typical messages that we find in self-help books: think happy thoughts and everything will be peachy. It is important to understand that obtaining an attitude of love is more than just an external pruning of our negative thoughts. The decision to love must take root in every dimension of the person: thoughts, feelings, and actions. Each one of these complements the other. Telling yourself repeatedly to think “positive” towards others is certainly good and helpful; nevertheless, it becomes ineffective and repressive if you never take concrete steps to discover and address what’s causing such a negative experience.

And still, we must go even further. We must frankly ask ourselves: “Why should I love?” Because it’s more pleasant? More effective? For pure duty’s sake? And what happens when the other explicitly rejects us or refuses to work to resolve the differences? To uncover the answer, we must fully perceive the significance of sin and of Christ’s overwhelming response of love that was poured out on the Cross for each and every person.

As such, with the proper clarifications, the video offers a good visual aid that allows us a glimpse into the complex world of ideas. It is always challenging to explain these experiences that are lived in the interior of the person; thus, a concrete example such as this is very helpful. The video illustrates in a clear and graphic way what the Lord asks of us every day: conversion. “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2). If we are to become other “Christs” in this world, we must begin by thinking like Christ. Wary of any idealistic illusions, each day we are invited to allow the Lord´s mentality of “love” to penetrate and transform those parts of us that trigger and fuel a mentality of “hate.”

I would also suggest clarifying that many times our thoughts can’t be decisively categorized as ones of “love” or “hate.” There is an infinite number of shades in between, and the goal isn’t to absorb oneself in constant self-analysis but rather to embark upon a coherent and progressive path towards renewing our minds.

I’ll end with a quote from Verbum Domini, 87. Pope Benedict points out the primary source from which we may put on “the mind of Christ,” namely, the word of God.

Saint Paul tells us: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (12:2). Contemplation aims at creating within us a truly wise and discerning vision of reality, as God sees it, and at forming within us “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). The word of God appears here as a criterion for discernment: it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12).  – Verbum Domini 87, Benedict XVI

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