Falling in love, falling out of resentment

“See the extremes of what humans can be.” Bruce Cockburn

“Resentment and love…are of the utmost theoretical importance precisely because they are not abstract concepts distilled by thought from our lived experience, but realities—the most powerful human realities—of our daily lives.” Eric Gans


I am the underground man. I fester. I bristle at lovers on a screen. I boil at every display of admiration not directed at me—and I mark out each slight for future retribution.

Alone…I am a pillar of resentment. Each day is a reminder of the injustice of everyone’s indifference to my infinite significance. I search the world for my name. My resentment grows in proportion to the scandalous unfairness of my anonymity.

Alone, in my resentment, I manipulate every moment to position myself at the centre of fascination. And I search the street for my face…in an advertisement on a billboard, a bus, a bench. I search the sidewalks and shops for mention of me on the weathered pages of magazines; I scan flat screens for references to my work. Every book not dedicated to me, every site not linked to me…every bypass is a betrayal, every non-consecration is a conspiracy against my presence.

Alone with my resentment, I build a high thick wall against love. It is not so hard. What could I love, that in my loving, would not subvert my singular centrality, my worldly significance? Alone, I will never be moved to relinquish my own power to love. I withhold—and I am shielded.

Ah, but now I am in love, and I have forgotten even my name. Gone, my resentment, as though it never was. 

We, together, in love, keep no records, are oblivious of our innocence. In our unconscious humility (as if there were any other kind) the centre of meaning and source of our being is suddenly present to us. The cosmos blooms open. And all things in our path suddenly become recipients of our love, and extensions of our joy.

Now, together in love, we are immortal, as all lovers are. We have no fear of death, as together, in love, we look full into the eternity that has long been written on our hearts.

And we learn the language of love, given in the beginning, in a word. In a word, love spins our horizontal world into an omni-dimensional globe of wonder and delight.

madison_FortEdLove is the proof of our being, the connection to meaning, the source of significance, the proof of Divine transcendence. Our love speaks a language that transcends biology, is inscrutable to a blind life-force. For in love, we suffer vulnerability, and so, we are able to give and receive tenderness, mercy. In love, those around us may perhaps be raised to sight the source of their own meaning.

Alone, I am always first. In love, everyone else is first. And no one is last. In love we are a locus of stars equidistant from the centre—a loving circle of love.


“Fully to possess the quality of God is not to be God as a unique central being, it is to be human. We learn this lesson from our experience of love.”

(For this post I am indebted to the writing of anthropologist Eric Gans, founder of Generative Anthropology. )


  1. Ahhh, Steve, this is why we love you. Not so you’ll have no reason to plan retribution for our oversight, but because you nail the truth with your words. What you said about resentment is, in my experience of you, far more true for the rest of us than it is for you; what you say about love and divine transcendence and mercy is a healing balm.

  2. Connie’s words say it well. But given a week in which the tug of war with resentment saw the latter winning, this dose of beautiful words and love along with a day in the late season sun has healed much.

    “Our love speaks a language that transcends biology, is inscrutable to a blind life-force.” A line that us biologists need to heed more often rather than trying to find the genetic basis for deep emotions, empathy, and everything else.

    As always Stephen, thank you.

  3. This quote dances on the periphery of relevance to your post:
    “In many ways we were drugged when we were young, we were brought up to need people. For what? For acceptance, approval, appreciation, applause”. (Anthony de Mello)

  4. Though of course with all this affirmation coming your way, some of us have again fallen back into resentment and envy… 🙂

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