Is it normal to believe everyone is capable of love?

I think that love is a profound force that can lighten even the darkest souls.

With the correct encouragement and perception, gratitude for the simplicity of life can everyone truly learn to love? We start out as babies, attuned to love and caregiving. What happens along the way that causes people to make cruel decisions. Can they be retaught, reparented.

What is your definition of love? Excluding tropes.

Is It Normal?
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  • To believe that everyone is capable of love is to set yourself up for disappointment at the very least. If you're unfortunate in the people you become involved with and retain that belief in the face of all evidence that someone you care for isn't capable of feeling true affection and empathy, your sunshine, lollipops and rainbows mindset could lead you to a very grim fate indeed.

    Your fundamental premise is a false belief that all infants are a perfect blank slate on which life experiences can write anything.

    In fact, there's strong evidence that humans are not all born with the same neural wiring. It would be nice to believe that all infants appear in the world capable of feeling what we consider the normal range of emotions, it is only bad early experiences that cause emotional damage, and this can be repaired later in life. But all the evidence points to the fact that due to the roll of the genetic dice or malfunctions during the early stages of the development of the brain, some people are born psychopaths. Such people are incapable of being cured with our current understanding of neural functions, and I suspect this will never be possible. While many psychopaths learn to mimic the appearance of empathy and love well enough to fool those they manipulate for their selfish aims, they just aren't capable of feeling those emotions.

    Love is indeed a powerful force. Feeling loved and loving someone can make life much more enjoyable and allow us to forget for the time being that, fundamentally, we're all on a solitary journey through this world, we're here for a limited time and our inevitable fate is to die. Feeling empathy for those we know and for strangers can make their lives better, and most philosophies and religions deem caring for our fellow human beings a fundamentally positive thing.

    Trying to understand the motivations and actions of others is laudable, but not everyone is worthy of love or even respect. Some people are incapable of keeping up their side of the implicit social contract that exists between people, and trying to love a psychopath makes as much sense as hoping that a good tummy-tickle will be enough to placate a tiger that has decided to have you for dinner.

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    • (Btw I'm only replying to the first sentence cuz I'm too tired to read a paragraph x1000)
      its not so as setting yourself up for disappointment, just a brighter more forgiving way to look at people. Obviously there will always be disappointments, but you can still expect those disappointments while believing everyone is capable of love. Just because they can, doesn't mean they ever will earn or give it. Sadly neither I or them can help everyone.

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    • Thank you. Is it naive then that I believe that all living beings are inherently valuable? This does come into question for me with those that kill or harm other living beings. Thank you for your insights, I could be a touch idealistic, but I have witnessed change and I don’t give up hope.

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      • Believing that all life is sacred or at least has value in and of itself seems to me a reasonable point of view. Obviously, this ideology bumps up against uncomfortable reality when you're talking about bacteria, vermin eating your food or destroying your possessions and the hypothetical hungry tiger I mentioned in my post, but I don't think it's a stupid principle to live by.

        Still, it's never realistic to try to see the world in black and white terms. While my views on this topic are possibly much the same as yours, some of the crap that Peta comes out with demonstrates the absurd conclusions you can reach if you start out with the premise that all animals are of equivalent value to human beings.

        I agree with you that some people are capable of fundamental change. But having hung around with people for more than sixty years now, my perception is that many people have no interest in even trying to change since they're unable to see any reason why they should, and there are others who are simply incapable of altering their mindset even when they really want to change.

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        • Why do you think they are incapable of altering their mindset? And why aren’t all animals of equal value? Thank you for sharing your opinion. I appreciate this.

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  • I think it is possible, but I think you have to overcome all of the defense mechanisms that you've integrated. I think there has to be a trigger, acceptance, and change.

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  • I’m sorry.

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  • Trust me. Some people simply cannot love and have no light in them. Learned that the hard way like many others.

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  • An awful story that probably hit me harder than it would for most because my daughter looked quite similar to Stazia when she was five years old.

    Stazia's name is on a Reddit list as one of 84 victims in 66 murder-suicides in the USA in July 2018.

    I try very hard to hold on to the idea that the vast majority of people are fundamentally decent and capable of empathy (as long as they don't slide down the rabbit hole dug by some self-serving slimeball psychopath spewing hate on social media, Fox or talk radio). Obviously, I know psychopaths exist, but I don't know how I'd cope with personally knowing someone who'd done something as heinous as the murderer of Stazia.

    As a parent, knowing that people like the guy who murdered Stazia are walking among us does make me lose sleep, and I'm doing my best to make sure my daughter grows up being aware that there are people out there who aren't at all like the fake image they project in order to manipulate, abuse and sometimes murder people.

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  • Yes, I think you should encourage the psychopath in your life to try gardening or art therapy.

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  • I don't believe that psychopaths, and sociopaths are capable of love.

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  • I don't see why you should avoid mentioning it.

    Spending a lot of time with someone who's as close to truly evil as you can get outside the pages of a comic book is going to leave a mark on any normal person. That has to shift your perception of people at least a little and make you more wary. It also wouldn't be surprising if you experienced intrusive thoughts long after the psychopath stopped being part of your life.

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  • I mean I think everybody has loved or loves something but I'm ace so I don't love people

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  • I don't think the fact that someone loves people necessarily makes them a good person. Even murdering rapists can love their wife and kids, Hitler loved his family. It's how you treat strangers and people you don't like that's more telling of your character. As the saying goes "Judge not a man by how he treats his friends, but by how he treats his enemies", or something like that anyway.

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  • Why do you think everyone is born to loving parents? I wasn't.

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  • In a concerted effort from my parents, girlfriends, wives I've had ant feeling of love I may have had kicked out of me. I can now not feel affection to anyone or anything.
    Great job folks!

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  • Therapy for what? And do you think psychopaths would enjoy gardening or childcare.

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