Monday, November 20, 2023

Love begets friendship?

The idea of love begetting friendship is probably anathema in today's world. I mean, it sort of gives vibes of being permanently friend-zoned, which spells L-O-S-E-R in caps for most of today's youth. But THAT is a consequence of reading only one meaning for 'Love' - romantic love.

Romantic love is not exactly what Tiru is thinking of when he said this:

Anbu eenum aarvam udaimai; adhu eenum nanpu ennum naadaa sirappu - Tirukkural

Love begets interest in your fellow beings; that yields the excellence of friendships - Loose Translation

So, 'Love' here should be translated as affection, perhaps. Or, perhaps, it is more appropriate to consider it as 'genuine care'. Thus, in essence, if you are the sort to genuinely care for your fellow human beings, it automatically makes you take interest in them and their lives. Such genuine interest earns their friendship for you though you may not be evincing the interest with the specific notion of befriending them.

You know, this chap Tiru seems to have anticipated management theory well in advance. Though, in his defense, he is not exactly propagating how to get work done from others in this couplet. He is more into telling you to be a genuinely caring person by plugging the incidental benefits.

It is tough, though, to avoid comparison with man management gurus and their teachings. Like how a good leader should learn what motivates their people and align their goals with the corporate goals, yada yada. And, invariably, as a coda to all the advice, they mention, 'It should come from a place of genuinely caring for their people' lest they be seen as teaching ways to con people into doing what they want. Even when THAT is exactly what they ARE teaching.

When the entire interaction comes from a space of genuinely caring for the people, the dos and donts of human relations tend to be irrelevant...except in ultra-litigious societies where what matters is only what a court of law will judge and not how the majority of employees themselves feel about at it. It is when the interest in others is only self-serving, and not genuine, that you need to dot every 'i' and cross every 't' of behavior.

In other words, if you can live up to Tiru's words in real life, you can junk the entire verbiage on how to be a good manager insofar as man-management is concerned. But if your interest is ersatz, THEN you better learn it all...for THEN you cannot just BE yourself, you need to ACT a part and, for that, you need to put in all the hard yards.

But, then, it is always seen as easier and/or cheaper to modify your behavior than to modify your character, no?

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