Sep 29, 2022
A legendary moment occurred when Alexander the Great was said to once approach the philosopher Diogenes Laertius of Sinope. Alexander saw Diogenes resting in the sunlight and approached him to ask him if he needed anything.
Diogenes replied, “Yes. Get out of my sunlight.”
Taken aback but in admiration, Alexander replied, “If I were not Alexander, I would wish to be Diogenes,” which Diogenes replied “If I were not Diogenes, I would also wish to be Diogenes.”
There is an admiration for someone to be this grounded in themselves, possessing this degree of self-validation and self-love in asserting one’s boundaries, one’s walls of integrity regardless of the surrounding. It’s as if Diogenes set up his own personal VIP lounge which was composed of the ground he was reclining on and the space between the Sun and him. He was the only member that had a privilege to be there.
Like Diogenes, we can find or craft our own personal VIP lounge. Our VIP lounge can accept whoever we want to accept. It’s our VIP lounge.
Bouncers, gatekeepers, soldiers, and bulldogs have their big hearts in their own way by serving a cause. It’s a form of love, something to remember when our own boundaries are crossed and an unpleasant side of us slips out. That which slips out is only the bulldog serving the master. The bulldog loves his master.
Of the many forms of love, the casting of a boundary is a form of love, a self-love which we need a healthy amount of in relation to love for another. There is that line everyone has heard many times before, yet it is no less wise. If we cannot love ourselves, we won’t be able to love anybody else. Having no self-respect is a self-fulfilling prophecy where the entire world will collaborate to appease one’s confirmation bias—that one is of low value. And to value is to love.
If there is one job for us, it is to value ourselves, so that a non-inflated love flows, flows so much that it has no other place to go but out in the world.*
Cruelty is Part & Parcel
The cruelty in the love of this world is due to limited resources and time. Circles of love will be limited in size. Many people will be excluded, left out in the cold.
We craft our life’s VIP lounges, official playgrounds reserved only for a select few. Those who enter are the Chosen Ones, an elect of winners whom by their very existence cast a shadow of losers outside the lounge.
But we all have this ability to find or craft our own VIP lounges. We might be thrown out to the dumpster of a past friend’s VIP lounge for instance, but may at the same time be able to sip Port at a family member’s VIP lounge.
To find or create a VIP lounge is already a sacrifice. To choose in what manner and in who or what to love is already a sharp slicing which shows the glory of love while at the same time the bitter reality of exclusion.
Due to this seemingly hard-written code of this world, it’s perhaps best not to torture oneself in trying to get into lounges where one isn’t welcome. It obviously applied to even Alexander the Great. For practicality’s sake, it’s probably best to focus on either building or finding one’s resonant lounge.
Judging Others’ VIP Lounges
The Stoics say to not to judge others, only ourselves.
If we assume that the majority of us in the world want the same thing—to be loved and appreciated—we must also note that people will give and receive this love and appreciation in endless variation, depending on their personal taste and circumstances. The variation often causes issues in itself (which I call transaction fees and payment methods in an earlier essay).
To judge someone’s ability to love based off of one specific aspect of their life is to reduce their multidimensional, gestalt existence into like that of a gummy bear—something attractive yet also too simple for any substance. We would have to know that individual’s entire existence to know what led to their decision to interact with love in the way they do.
People will distribute their love in the best way they feel it best to distribute with their limited resources.
Like the air we breathe, love is in every corner, even in places one may think is completely devoid of love such as with a person or group perceived as supremacist. They too have their nest of loved and valued ones.*
Love Like Blood
Jaz Coleman from the band Killing Joke said it best in the song Love Like Blood:
We must play our lives like soldiers in the field
The life is short, I’m running faster all the time
Strength and beauty destined to decay
So cut the rose in full bloom
‘Til the fearless come and the act is done
A love like blood, a love like blood
We do what we feel has to be done regarding this timeless force known as love, and it’s not really any other’s place to tell us how to do it. We’re all in this personal journey with love.
So we are to notify those bouncers and find our VIP lounges where we can find at the table the rose cut in full bloom.
* A fake sense of self-love is an inflated balloon and may appear as narcissism. It is grounded in the opposite of self-love, the lack of love for oneself. Someone who truly loves themselves will not depend so much on the outside world for their supply of love or value because it will have already been discovered as a fountain within themselves. There will also be like in the case of Diogenes, no need to really prove anything.
** A person or group perceived as supremacist do have a heart for their own VIP lounge that caters exclusively to certain cultures, nation, race, color, or religion. Their expression regarding a preference to a certain type of people may raise red flags but does not necessarily equate physical violence. If there is purposeful destruction and prevention of other VIP lounges from existing outside of theirs, that is where the trouble really is. Additionally, it is often not a simple matter due to limited space and resources. Some groups may truly feel encroached upon by outsiders.
As a Latin-American, my stance may come as a shock, but I try also not to pass judgement on these people due to the simple fact that I am not in their bodies and never lived their lives to see exactly what they are seeing.