The essentials of universal love

English book summary

The biggest challenge in the world: ecological justice.

  • 1) Two very big problems. The wide gap between rich and poor people is a grave injustice in our human society. The mass extinction of non-human species is an ecological crisis. Hence, we should respect human equality (justice) without surpassing the ecological carrying capacity of our planet.
  • 2) Technological development is not enough to solve both urgent problems, as these required technologies should be physically possible, economically efficient, environmentally friendly and ethically correct, and they should be developed very fast.
  • 3) Conquering human overconsumption and overpopulation (less consumption and production of non-vital goods, and less pregnancies) are also necessary to solve these problems.
  • 4) Ecological justice implies the search for a society and an economy based on biocentric altruism.

The highest moral standard: biocentric altruism

  • 1) Expand the circle of dignity: stop discrimination and suppression. This gives an evolution from egocentrism (selfishness) to ethnocentrism (only own people are important, which is racism), to anthropocentrism (only the human species is central, which is human arrogance, speciecism), to zoocentrism (all animals are precious), to biocentrism: all life is central, every living being is precious. Protect the vital life-rights and well-being of all humans, animals and nature. Never underestimate the intrinsic value (i.e. the opposite of use value for humans) of every living being.
  • 2) Respect diversity: between humans, cultures, species, ecosystems. Protect biodiversity.
  • 3) Develop a feeling of universal love, a solidarity and compassion with all life, even with humans doing highly immoral actions. This love is like the unconditional care of a mother for her children: Even when her son does the most terrible things, she still loves him deeply and she tries to help him to stop his immoral behavior.
  • 4) Free yourself from your ego, your possessions, personnel desires and negative emotions (greed, envy, guilt, impatience, unhappiness, hatred, anger, frustrations, fears, worries,…). Use this universal love to gain strength for this inner liberation and self-control. This gives a joyful suffering (deep joy from the solidarity and inner liberation, suffering from seeing the tragedies in the world).
  • 5) Biocentric altruism implies an active commitment to protect all threatened life, with care and courage and without egoism and greed.

The difficulty in the fight to save life: non-violent effectiveness

  • 1) Never underestimate the badness of violence. Violence is hurting, killing or damaging life, thinking or speaking with disdain or hate, damaging or destroying property, insulting, annoying or provoking someone by word or deed, raising the risk of detrimental consequences, and refraining from aid when life is threatened.
  • 2) Never underestimate the goodness of protecting life. We should be humble when we have to judge the allowed amount of violence of our actions.
  • 3) Strive for effectiveness and non-violence. If both ideals seem to be incompatible, we should let us guide by our feeling of compassionate, universal love. This implies that we always have to approach both victims and offenders with the feeling as if they were our best friends, no matter what they do.
  • 4) Protect the moral self of offenders. The moral self is the most precious part of a human. Doing something immoral harms the moral self. Universal love requires that we should not only protect victims, but also liberate and heal offenders from their moral self-destruction.
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