LOVE CAN BE ANALYZED as having five aspects or dimensions:

1) Purity;

2) Intensity;

3) Extensity,

4) Duration;

5) Adequacy.

These terms signify the following:

PURITY: The freedom of a kindly action from any taint of self-interest.

INTENSITY: The extent to which a person actually does what he says as regards loving other people. A person who says I love humanity," but seldom does anything tangible to implement it has low intensity love.

EXTENSITY: The radius of a person's loving concern. A person who is concerned only about his own children has relatively low extensity, although it is higher than one who is concerned only about himself. One who is concerned about the children of his neighbor has a little wider extensity; and one who is concerned about children all over the world, whether he is acquainted with them or not, has still wider extensity. Persons like the Buddha, Jesus, and St. Francis, whose loving concern seems to have been universal in scope, have the highest extensity of all. (The Buddhist Scriptures repeatedly show the Buddha's universal concern for all sentient life).

DURATION: The length of time that an act of creative altruism consumes. The act of giving a coin to a blind man is certainly an act of merit, but its duration is very slight, as compared with the acts of a person who year after year goes to read for the blind or transcribe books in braille.

ADEQUACY: The degree to which the consequences of a kindly act correspond with its intention. It is generally accepted that an act is to be judged by its motive, but the consequences of an act should also be taken into account. A person may perform an action with a motive of pure unadulterated kindness, but if he does it without good judgment it might result in tragedy, and he is, in part, responsible. A classic illustration of this is told with many variations in the old Buddhist Jataka Tales: A monkey wanted to kill the flies that were troubling his master's sleep. Picking up a branch that was lying nearby, he aimed a blow at his master's forehead, killing all the flies, but also killing his master!"

(Extracted from Gina Cerminara's book: Insights for the Age of Aquarius [published by Quest Books of the Theosophical Society], where she comments on the ideas of noted sociologist Pitirim Sorokin about the nature of love).

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