saints, sinners, and flawless logic

Unconditional love–what does that even mean? Does anyone truly feel it? “Unconditional”–does that not imply a certain–arbitrariness? “Unconditional”–really, no conditions, none whatsoever? I have heard it said that a parent experiences unconditional love for their child. I staged a little thought experiment. Would a parent tolerate rebelliousness, insolence, indeed, even a criminal streak in their child, and come back for more? Most assuredly, yes. Sane people hold lifelong grudges over offenses only a tenth as terrible as a typical American teenager’s. So is that most hallowed of affections unconditional love? Pah, hardly!┬áThis is love with no conditions but one–that the child be their child.

Indeed, if unconditional love did exist, it would be insane! Imagine loving someone who had never done you any good whatsoever, not even holding out the promise of genetic immortality. Imagine a love which did not fly to greater heights on the rendering of some great service or token of affection! (For any love which could be affected by the gain or lack of some benefit is obviously conditional on the presence or absence of said benefit.) Truly, that would be inhuman–immoral, even, not to feel more love for those who have stood by your side, when others passed you by in hate or indifference.

But. If unconditional love exists, and it is at all a good, then cat owners are the only living saints on earth. Owning a cat is like walking naked into a hailstorm of disdain and indifference. To be shocked awake from a restful sleep by a baleful creature who regards you only as a breakfast-dispensing machine; to have one’s lap rejected as the central heating vent is much warmer; to be completely ignored as you wearily return home from a long and unrewarding day at work–this is what it is to be a cat owner.

If unconditional love exists at all, and can said to be good–well, cat owners are the only ones who have it, and are therefore infinitely better than dog owners. Quod erat demonstrandum.