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More Love and Equality with McCabe

“Evidently it is not true that lovers have to be of exactly equal height or equal intelligence or equal sensitivity to music. The equality I speak of is not an equality on some common scale against which they are both measured; it is, so to speak, an equality where each is the scale for the other. A large part of love is a recognition of this equality, a recognition that the other’s existence as as valid as one’s own, a recognition that the other does not exist simply in function of you, but is there equally.  It is an equality of value in some ultimate and irreducible sense of value.  One of the things that makes this hard to express is that it involves a certain kind of circularity: the equality demanded by love is an equality that is best defined by love.  The idea of love and the the idea of this sort of equality are simultaneous.  The law can enshrine equality just when it expresses solidarity in love.”

–Herbert McCabe, God Matters (New York: Continuum, 2005), 16.


  1. nick wrote:

    So since equality is based on the others’ scale, would it be viable to claim that the relationship between my sister and her dog is one of love? Each seems to acknowledge the “other’s existence as as valid as” themselves.

    On the other hand, the dog does depend on my sister to survive and does, in a way, “exist simply in function of” her. But I’m betting that McCabe is referring to the existence itself, and not survival.

    I still kinda like the idea of equality being a matter of sharing a final cause with another…but maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse.

    Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
  2. The Son “did not regard being equal to God as something to be grasped.”

    The old and original sin is humanity’s attempt to be “like God” by knowing good and evil.

    From our (human) end of things I think that the proper response to the embrace of God that seems to make him our equal is only sheer wonder. The connection between equality and love is a fruitful one. Equality is something given, more than something claimed.

    Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

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