What is love? There’s plenty of different philosophies of love and what it is. While watching a show, I came across a great interpretation of what love actually means. I don’t agree with it whole-hardily, although it is a very interesting perspective. This perspective comes from the show Vinland Saga (great show, definitely recommend).
This philosophy of love that I thought was so interesting comes from one question. Is it love, or is it discrimination? During the viking-era, there was a king named Canute (spelled CNUT during those times). Vinland Saga is loosely based on the real life viking-era. In the show, Canute was set to become King, although he didn’t act like one at all. He was very shy, weak, and unfit to be a viking; even more unfit to be King. He was coddled by a man named Ragnar, who the King (Canute’s father) appointed to serve his son.
Canute and Ragnar traveled with the Danish Vikings (The Danes). They witnessed the slaughters of innocent villages constantly, without a care in the world. Unfortunately, Ragnar ended up getting murdered by one of the highest ranking Dane’s. In this moment, Canute lost his sense of protection and felt lost.
A priest would travel with them (The Danes) and give them some spiritual guidance. As Ragnar lay deceased on the ground, the priest asked Canute: was the emotion Ragnar felt towards you love? It’s worth noting that Ragnar was a father-figure to Canute, he had no one else. The priest goes on to say that by keeping the future King Canute safe he (Ragnar) stood by witnessing brutal murders and burning villages. The question gets reversed back to the priest: if it wasn’t love, then what is it?
The priest points to the lifeless body of a fallen viking, and explains to Canute that this is love. He goes on to say that death is the embodiment of love itself. “He will never hate others, nor steal anymore. With his abandoned body, he will give his body with generosity to the beast and insects. He lies exposed to the wind and rain, but won’t speak a single word in complaint. Death.. Perfects a person.”
That philosophy confuses Canute. He asks: “If that’s what love is, then what is the feeling when parents care for their children?” The priest answers that it’s discrimination; explaining that Canute was more important to anyone else in the world to Ragnar, even more important than his own life. It wasn’t love all along, it was actually discrimination.
In this philosophy, we can see that love is all around us. It’s an optimistic view of even the worst things about life (death). What is love to you?