While one is an essentially contrived and often doomed love built around the psychology of domination and gain, the other grows as true individual care and mutual consideration between partners and friends.
Power, in its manipulative and controlling seductions, can be as much a part of personal relationships as political and economic ones. And, as Edwards shows, it's not hard to see how the acquisitive, competitive culture of market life conditions and encourages us to see private relationships in similar mercenary ways.
We may already consider ourselves giving, loving people. But it's worth just stopping to think about how much of that desire to love and be loved is premised on self-indulgent emotions rather than a spirit of true regard for our friend's or partner's happiness.
As Edwards caringly puts it:
"It is easy to understand how there can be no more stable foundation for friendship than the shared awareness that both individuals are strongly committed to the happiness of the other. What room is there for jealousy, anger and resentment when we know that our friend or partner is deeply committed to making us happy? When we know he or she values our welfare as much as, perhaps even more than, his or her own happiness? Who inspires greater confidence in us than the person who truly believes that they gain more from kindness than from greedy self-indulgence?It's also a paradigm thought for our times. Imagine, if you can, a society, polity and economy, local and global, which tried to cultivate relationships around the truly compassionate well-being of others rather than hoarded gratification.
As with so much that matters in human life, the issue revolves around where we locate the true source of happiness. Our answer cannot be faked: if we believe that self-interest delivers, that everything else is naïve wishful thinking, then that will certainly be reflected in our behaviour.
If this is what we believe, then we should attend more closely to how we actually feel when we prioritise ourselves over others. How do we feel when we win and others pay the price? How do others feel and react to us? And how do we feel in the moments when, in giving, we make someone else happy? How does this warmth, tenderness and joy compare to the chilly, diminishing return of self-interested pleasure-seeking?"
Imagine, for example, the West thinking in this way about Africa and granting fair trade rather than dispensing Children in Need aid. Or Israel self-examining its desire to own and control 'its' beloved Holy Land to the suffering detriment of occupied Palestinians. Or the energy-guzzling consumer on the road to carbon oblivion undergoing a Damascene conversion about how to love, cherish and preserve the planet.
To be absorbed in 'fulfilling' our life desires is often to negate our true potential for loving generosity; our capacity to seek and practice a higher kind of love. It's a love that could enrich every aspect of our lives, from the intimate people we already love to the ways in which we redirect the global economy from its greed-driven crisis.
Higher love of partners, friends and the world: I think I need to practice a little harder and aim a little higher.