As human being man is born in this world full of longing, he has this need, that desires to be satisfied, the need for love, C.S. Lewis in his book ‘Four Loves’ states that “as soon as we are fully conscious, we discover loneliness. Each individual need other people physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves”. The child experiences love in his own family, which can be described as filial love, love in the family, after he grows up, he will discover Eros, love is more physical, love that beauty attracts, as he grows up, he learns to love unconditionally, he learning to sacrifice, and this is called Agape. This kind of love is very much present in every stage of our life. Modern people now a days, have different understanding of love, The word ‘love’ has more than one possible meaning, it can be a love for a romantic relationship, a love for a friend, a love for a family member. However, because we long for the true love many people are led astray to what true love means. In this paper I would discuss love in freedom, responsibility and bioethics. By understanding these principles about love, one can have a clear understanding of how one can truly love.
“Love separated from responsibility, for the person is a denial of itself and, as a rule, is always egoism. The more the sense of responsibility for the person, the more true love there is”. People should be able to be responsible in their actions, because when you love, you make an effort to please the one you love. Each person has the responsibility to respect the other and he is accountable to the commitment of love, that love, should be selfless and mature. In choosing to love a person, we must be responsible with our actions we are showing them, we must be sincere and truthful in showing our love, because love is not only a noun to be defined, but a verb to be acted sincerely. A person cannot separate love from responsibility, with the absence of responsibility the love that occur between two individuals can lead to lust and more bound to use and abuse. Taking the responsibility is very important for it against egoism or self-centeredness, one cannot say that he truly loves, if he is irresponsible or cannot take responsibility for his actions, he is not just a coward for doing, so but also, he cannot fully commit himself to love. Love demands being accountable for every action done, it demands owning what needs to be owned, true love is responsible for it respects the other, for it respects the beloved.
According to Karol Wojtyla, “Love consists in a commitment of freedom because after all, love is self-giving, and give to oneself means precisely to limits one’s freedom on account of the other person”, when it comes to loving, the lover sacrifices many things, he sacrifices his freedom. He gives part or even the whole of himself for the good of the beloved since love is indeed self-giving. “The limitation of one’s own freedom would be something negative and unpleasant, but love makes it something positive, joyful, and creative. Freedom is for love. Freedom that is unused, not employed by love, becomes precisely something negative—it gives man a sense of emptiness and unfulfillment”. As a human being, man should set limitation when it comes to our freedom. Believe it or not there are some points in our lives that whenever undesirable things happen with our freedom, we react on it but when we love someone, we tend to disregard our freedom as long as it is for the good of the one, we truly love. Every pain that we experience, every joy and tears that man endure all of these becomes more meaningful in love. Some people may see it as foolishness, empty and meaningless for it can only be understood by the one who truly loves. True freedom always finds only the good; someone is not free if he uses freedom beyond his limitation, one is not truly free if he uses his freedom to violate the laws that follows a consequence that might put him in jail that limits his freedom. So, there is no freedom in love if it is not based on truth.
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the term ‘bioethics’ is a discipline dealing with the ethical implications of biological research and applications especially in medicine. It deals with the ethics in medicine and moral discernment among people who are most likely cannot decide on their own because of their sickness. Love in bioethics is a very wide subject to deal with; for this paper let me discuss issue on transplant that I think best fit the subject matter. The book ‘Catholic Bioethics for a New Millennium’ by William May states: “The progress of medical science has made it possible for people to project even beyond death their vocation of love”. Man in his life is called to love, and many who truly loves can sacrifice even his own comfort for their love ones, the advancement of science made all those things possible, the technology can now do transplant from a healthy person to those who are medically ill, but the question here now is, is it ethically acceptable? Many issues arise from this medical practice, for the one who will donate an organ can be in danger of death. “We intuitively and instinctively judge that the giving of a part of one’s own body to help a gravely or even mortally ill fellow human person is not only morally justifiable but an act of heroic charity”. But one should keep in mind that there are limitations for doing. So, medical practitioners should be well aware of its restriction, for one cannot sacrifice the life of an individual for the good of the other. “A Person can only donate that of which he can deprive himself without serious danger or harm to his own life or personal identity, and for a just appropriate reason”. Giving up healthy organs for the survival of the beloved is Indeed a great act of love, the act of sacrifice made by the person best express genuine love, love that goes beyond the comforts of relationship, for it is never easy to give up one’s own, especially part of the body to the person we don’t truly love. There is no love without sacrifice, and we witness or even experience relationships who cannot offer oneself easily collapses. We know the needs of the persons we love, even before they asked us, Antoine de Saint-Exupery in his book ‘The Little Prince’ said: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”, because true love has a heart that can see beyond any limitations.
Love is something that excites us because of the affection that we feel when we love or when we are loved. Love is something that can lead an individual to positivity in life which makes us feel the joy and happiness of what this world can offer. It is factor that influences people to do something good with pure intentions to express their strong feeling of love. People get hurt because they understand love only in its physicality. People expect something in their investments, and they only do things to be loved back. People exert efforts expecting that their partner will do the same, but true love goes beyond these plain understanding. Love demands unconditional response and selflessness. Love is indeed univocal we have a lot of understanding when it comes to love and different expressions on it, but it cannot be defined plainly because it cannot be limited by words, this paper capture the meaning of love in bioethics, freedom and responsibility, and it helped me personally understand in a mature way love, for it cannot be limited only to Eros, which the motivation is more physical. Love entails freedom for only in being free we can love truly without restriction. Ture love needs to be responsible for it requires commitment, a mutual responsibility the very foundation of love. True love can sacrifice, and one can only sacrifice because he doesn’t see the other apart of himself, he sees the beloved and himself as one.
- Lewis, Clive Staple. Four Loves. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1898.
- May, William E. Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human life. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2013.
- Wojtyla, Karol. Love and Responsibility. Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 2013.