Quotation by A.J. Toynbee

Love's way of dealing with us is different from conscience's way. Conscience commands; love inspires. What we do out of love, we do because we want to do it. Love is, indeed, one kind of desire; but it is a kind that takes us out of ourselves and carries us beyond ourselves, in contrast to the kind that is self-seeking—a kind that includes the desire for the "extinguishedness" of Nirvana. Love is freedom; conscience is constraint; yet, in two points, our relation to love is the same as our relation to conscience. We are free to reject love's appeal, as we are free to reject conscience's command; yet love, like conscience, cannot be rebuffed with impunity. Rebuffed, love will continue to importune us; and this for the reason for which a violated conscience does. Love's authority, like conscience's, is absolute. Like conscience, too, love needs no authentication or validation by any authority outside itself. Speculations about love's credentials, or lack of credentials, cannot either enhance or diminish love's absoluteness.
A.J. (Arnold Joseph) Toynbee (1889–1975), British historian. Experiences, pt. 1, ch. 9, Oxford University Press (1969).
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