So far in this series we have previously discussed the meaning of predator love as being a selfishly oriented and objectifying desire to fulfill one’s longings and hungers as well as some of the ways that this sort of love is particularly asymmetrical. The most important question, though, has predictably been saved for the end, and that is: what do we do about it? If the desire to fulfill our longings without considering other matters is nearly universal (if highly varied as to what we choose to fill our longings), and we are highly asymmetrical in how we justify ourselves and make fun or condemn others, what are we to do about this state of affairs? The first, and most obvious step, is to examine what it is we choose to prey upon. Not all predator love is created equally, obviously, and some of it is far more serious than others. If your predator love is directed towards material possessions like books and shoes and clothing, it makes the most sense to consider why one fills one’s longings in this fashion and to make sure that it does not cause financial complications or issues of hoarding that would make one’s life more difficult. If one’s predator love is directed at chemical substances, then one needs to examine both what it is that drives one to fill one’s longings with such substances and then to get the help that is necessary to cope with life otherwise. This would include food addictions that can cause serious weight problems and drastic health consequences. If your predatory instincts are directed at objectifying and taking advantage of animals or especially people, then that needs to stop. None of this is particularly complicated.
What one is to do on a conceptual level is less plain and obvious. After all, to the extent that one can develop self-understanding and recognize the tendency to prey on something, one can then develop strategies about what to do about it. The fact that one can recognize a longing does not mean that the longing itself as it exists has to be fulfilled. It should be admitted, if privately, and addressed, but it does not necessarily have to be fulfilled. Seeing how we look from the eyes of others can be a painful experience but it also helps us to know the effect that we have on others. To the extent that we can develop empathy with others as beings like ourselves whose feelings and dignity matter to us, we cease to be monstrous in our behavior, and if that can be painful it is also how it is that we can become human. Indeed, it may be safely said that we should look with a great deal of concern about any technology or approach to life or societal pattern of thinking and behavior that lowers the empathy and concern we have for other people as people or that encourages us to satisfy our own wishes and desires without thinking or caring about its effects on anyone else. As such tendencies tend to dehumanize us and encourage us to treat others badly, such tendencies are to be fought and overcome. We can recognize, though, that evil lies in ourselves, lies in others, and exists in the ages in which we live as well. Recognizing these things helps us to be more empathetic to others who struggle as we do, and gives us the moral credibility to demand that others struggle against their own darkness if they are not already doing so.
On a larger sense, understanding ourselves and our times is more helpful when we realize that predator love is not something that is limited to the monstrous but it includes a great many of the addictive and compulsive loves and desires that humanity struggles with in general. It is unclear why it is so rare for us to reflect on these matters as a whole, for as is frequently the case, we may better understand small parts of a picture when we expand the picture to take in more of the context. We do not have to share a particular desire in order to understand it if we realize that there may be a great deal of psychological equivalence in the way that human beings are idolmaking beings that seek to fill a God-shaped hole inside of us with a variety of other things that are not God. Not all idols are equally monstrous, of course. We would be right to view a child-killing demon like Chemosh as being less problematic and evil than the household idols that Rachel stole from her father Laban. But all idols are false standards of worship and objectification, whether we idolize ourselves or view something else as being capable of fulfilling the longings that have been created and nurtured inside of us. When we view our wishes and longings and needs and desires as being worthy of fulfillment and do not accord that same level of respect to others, we sin and do violence to others. If we actively suppress our empathetic instincts and view beings as objects which have clear and obvious emotional longings and needs of their own, the level of violence we do is greater. To the extent that we degrade others through our treatment of them, we show ourselves to be less than human no matter how highly we may view ourselves and our abilities to get what we want. Having lingered long enough, though, in dealing with such matters, I leave it to you, dear reader, to fight against whatever predatory instincts are within you, and to encourage the better angels of human nature, for they need all the encouragement they can get in these dark times.