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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The three Ls

Life, Liberty and Love.

You’ve heard many of the sayings conceptually tying the Ls together. “Give me liberty or give me death,” “A life without love is no life at all,” etc. I believe it is rightfully so. Each one has a distinct identifiable characteristic, yet to separate one from the others makes the remaining empty.

Those who choose to believe in the Christian doctrine of the trinity already have a basic understanding of such a phenomenon – Three ‘personalities’ or ‘identities’ yet united as inseparable and identical to one another. Life, liberty and love have such a quality to them.

When understood this way, it seems that happiness in life is not only well within reach but in America, where two of the three are stated in its Declaration of Independence, it should be spontaneous with obtaining U.S. citizenship. Then why is it that, according to RTI International, depression is the leading cause of disability in America?

To quote Meatloaf and his hit song, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” But there just has to be love. There is no doubt in my mind about how much Americans love the sound of life. How else would you enjoy freedom? Americans undoubtedly love the sound of freedom and liberty. However, therein lies the problem. We define things by the way they sound.

Liberty sounds like the ability to do whatever the hell I feel like. Such a sense of liberty is inseparable from a hefty income because doing whatever you feel like is often expensive. I don’t believe this to be the kind of “liberty” that befits its true meaning.

Life sounds like it has a biological definition. For humans, maybe that means a heartbeat and specific brainwave patterns. In strictly a biological sense, life doesn’t seem all that important. From the view of religion, it definitely leaves no room for life after death. It definitely does not assure me giggination (which means dancing for all you two-left-feet people).

Finally, love. Well, it sounds like an emotion or a feeling. I’m sure celebrities like Jessica Alba have all kinds of guys that “love” them. But I wonder how it can be possible that two people who are totally angry at each other can still love one another. Love also sounds like it only happens in a romantic relationship. Where does a mother’s love fit in with all this, much less the love from or for strangers? (Of course, I’m talking about stranger-love in the sense like, “Hey, do you need help changing out your flat?” not the creepy “hey, lemme rotate your tires.”

As people finding ourselves in an institute of learning, we not only have to define and discover new things, but we need to rediscover and redefine things we thought we knew. When open to such possibilities, the “love” we once thought was non-existent or unimportant was a misnomer, but love itself is much more important and doesn’t mean that I have to wear special underwear for my girlfriend if she asks me to.

So what is it to live, love and be free? Well, the following may sound circular to you, but its point gets across. All these things must – not should, but must – come under a single roof of definition or else we deny ourselves or one another a marvelous truth. While life is found in the liberty of love and love of liberty, liberty is found in a life of love and loving life, and love … well what better love is there than to offer another person a life of freedom and the freedom to live.

For all of the graduating seniors, I pray that you all find life, liberty and love in everything you partake in and lead America out of its great depression. And for all of you that will be remaining here for the next year, two or three, I’ll be praying extra hard that you find those things. You’ll definitely need it!

Feel free to drop a line to JEREMY MALLETT at jjmallett@ucdavis.edu to tell him how your L-word is going.


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