Adrienne Rich on love via Maria Popova.

An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.

It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation.

It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity.

It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.


Imagine a world where judges always wrote and worked with empathy. From R. v. Armitage:

[55]            If I could describe Mr. Armitage as a tree, his roots remain hidden beneath the ground.  I can see what he is now.  I can see the trunk.  I can see the leaves.  But much of what he is and what has brought him before me, I cannot see.  They are still buried.  But I am sure that some of those roots involve his aboriginal heritage and ancestry.  They help define who he is.  They have been a factor in his offending.  They must be taken into account in his sentencing.

[56]            It is also obvious that this tree is not healthy.  The leaves droop and appear sickly. It does not flourish regardless of the attention paid upon it. The tree needs healing.

[57]            A part of any sentencing for an Aboriginal offender is to see if there is a way to further that healing.  Of the offender and of the community he lives in.

[58]            One important thing I must consider is the past injustices done to the aboriginal peoples in this country.  How that has affected the present.  How that has affected Mr. Armitage.  I must also consider the present problem of the over-incarceration of aboriginal offenders.

[62]            I find that Mr. Armitage appears before me as a dispirited man.  He has really no self-esteem.  He does not think of himself as important.  As a result, he does not seem to care about what he does.  The harm he has caused to others.  The harm he has caused to himself.  His spirit has fallen ill. Although I cannot say exactly how or describe it in easy to understand words, it strikes me that Mr. Armitage is a metaphor for what negative effects colonization has had on many First Nations people and communities.