Love, Power, and Justice: Ontological Analyses and Ethical Applications (Galaxy Books) Paperback – 1 Jan 1954
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"Ontological" means "the study of being." Tillich says love, power and justice are united in the structure of being(using philosophical terms)or united in the heart of God (paraphrasing from his Systematic Theology--Tillich doesn't say much about God in this book).
When love, power and justice are separated in a situation, it becomes unstable. "Being" (or God) is the power that drives the situation toward stability--that is, toward a situation where love, power and justice are in balance.
In life, the attempt to achieve this balance is dynamic, ever-changing, shifting--sometimes creating a worsening situation, sometimes one that's improving. A Hitler may gain immense power (divorced from justice) in the short-term. Eventually, forces of resistance emerge to stop him.
(Tillich doesn't try to explain why it takes so long to stop abusive situations or why so many people are hurt in the process: he was a philosopher/theologian, not God himself).
There are times when love, power and justice come together in moments of transcendence. In his Systematic Theology, Tillich says that at times we experience the realm of God in a way that is "preliminary and in anticipation."
Because _Love, Power and Justice_ is based on lectures Tillich gave, it packs an incredible amount of insight into six small chapters. It is one of my all-time favorite books, highly recommended, and worth every penny.
The emotional aspect of love can not be defined or commanded but is an expression of the total involvement of the being. Love is the drive to reunite with that witch has been separated. I think what Tillich means is that to love another person is to teardown the boundaries that separate us and treat the other as if it where part of the self.
Love brings pleasure and happiness when fulfilled and pain and suffering when it is not fulfilled but to be motivated by the pain or pleasure is to live a corrupted life. Eros and agape are not two different types of love but two characteristics of the only one type of love. Without eros love of God becomes mere obedience of God. Phili requires familiarity with and therefore is only possible between equals. Self-love is only meaningful metaphorically for love requires separation of the subject that loves from the object of that love.
Being can not be defined because every possible definition of being presupposes existence but being can be stated metaphorically as the power of being. The power of being is the power over nonbeing. Nonbeing is therefore not foreign to being. Being that contains nonbeing is finite. The self-affirmation of a being is proportional to its power of being. The power of being of an individual becomes apparent in its interactions with nature, other individuals and groups. The more centered a being is the more power of being it posses. Love is the foundation of power and "compulsion is the strange work of love." The strange work of love is to destroy that which opposes love.
An object grows by transcending itself. But in transcending itself a being risk losing itself. Justice is expressed in the form of laws. Power is expressed in the making of laws. Love is the highest principle of all justice. The law given by God is consistent with man's essential nature.
The concept of God as all-powerful does not mean that God can do whatever He wants but that God is the power of being in all that is. In God love, justice and power are one.
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