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Love Starved- The Parable of the Long Spoons

July 29, 2017

Are we losing the ability to love? (or is it just me?) 

The Parable of the Long Spoons  purports to describe our condition today: We are unable to give love so we do not receive it. 

One day a man said to God, "God, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like."

God showed the man two doors. Inside the first one, there was a large round table with a large pot of stew. It smelled delicious and made the man's mouth water, but the people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They were holding spoons with very long handles and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. God said, "You have seen Hell."

Behind the second door, the room appeared exactly the same. There was the large round table with the large pot of wonderful stew that made the man's mouth water. The people had the same long-handled spoons, but they were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The man said, "I don't understand."


God smiled. It is simple, he said, Love only requires one skill. These people learned early on to share and feed one another. While the greedy only think of themselves... [Author unknown]

Sometimes, thinking solely of our personal gratification, we tend to forget our interdependence with everyone and everything around us, so much so that we stop caring about them. But, as the parable makes it clear, by doing so, not only don't we help others overcome their suffering, but we're also unconsciously harming ourselves, since we are all connected on a very deep level.


Can you identify with this parable? 

In the twilight of Christian influence, people today tend to be more self-centred than ever. As a result, while we have material plenty, most people strike me as emotionally starved.  A word of consideration or encouragement, a "like", is devoured like a fish thrown to a seal. I am no exception.

"Love" used to be woman's stock-in-trade. But feminism in education and the media have convinced women that this is "exploitation." 

Why is it so hard for people to like, let alone love each other? Do people like each other as much as they used to? Are we depriving ourselves of needed love because we are so stingy? A Law of Nature is that you have to give in order to get. Have we lost that ability?

I notice that people are turning to dogs for love. There are 85 million dogs as pets in the US. But even a dog is too much of a commitment for me. I got tired of letting my (late) dog in and out of the house, giving him a tithe every time I had a snack, waiting for his sniffing on walks, tracking dirt into the house, feeling responsible for his happiness, not being able to leave him alone for more than two hours. I loved that dog, cried when he died, but I didn't get another. 

Plants are my speed. I can handle watering them. But plants don't give off a lot of love. I may have to get another dog.

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "Love Starved- The Parable of the Long Spoons "

MG said (July 30, 2017):

I think it's pretty simple; 99% of the modern world around us is devoid of Godly Agape love and that is the type of love that truly changes us as individuals and humanity as a collective. All the other types of love so Motherly/Fatherly, Brother/Sister and Eros/Romantic love only goes so far ... it's Agape love that has the ability to heal the physical, emotional and psychological wounds we carry as individuals and as whole groups on a quantum level.

What is Agape Love it is unconditional love it is love that accepts the good with the bad. It is the kind of love that can motivate a man to love his wife in spite of her cheating or motivates the women to love her husband knowing he's a porn addict or motivates a man to give food and water to a prisoner he knows is an ISIS member that killed his best friend ... but to be able to do things like that you need to surrender every part of your soul, mind and spirit to God so that he can touch you with this kind of love. He knows that were sinners and that we have potential for great evil yet he loves and excepts us just the way we are with our fears, anxieties, sins, evil selfish acts. It is this kind of love that is the solution to all the worlds problems, the issue is that for a human to hand over everything he's got including his own ego is the hardest thing to do .... this is what it means to die on the cross with Jesus and most people including Christian's are just too scared to do this and so we live in a world mostly devoid of this Agape love.

Look at Abraham who is known as the father of faith; he was only ready to truly hand over everything he had when with faith in his God he went up the mountain with Isaac ... Abraham at that point knew that his God was pure love and knew what was best and he knew that even if he killed Isaac God would be able to miraculously bring him back to love or not but whatever was going to happen Abraham had completely surrendered to God's Agape love. To get to that Agape love and be able to love others that way we must go through our Isaac moment which for each person will look different because we all have different deep desires and wants.

I have recently started a Christian prayer/meditation program that I'm hoping will lead me there ... it is for porn addicts and it is called the Pilgrimage. I recommend it for any man dealing with porn addiction.

CV said (July 30, 2017):

People used to learn love in the family, but now we have weak families.

TWH said (July 30, 2017):

This article hits on a huge problem I've noticed with society over the past several years. No one seems to care about anyone but themselves. In my own experience, if people want you as a friend it's because they see something that they can get from you -- whether it be a job lead, help with solving something, money, or any number of other things.

For all the virtue-signalling that people do about being compassionate and altruistic, I've found that it's generally a load of bullshit.

Last January I entered a deep, hopeless depression and had an incredible lack of physical energy. I couldn't figure out why this was the case and I really could have used some support from my friends. After asking my doctor to run some blood tests, it was determined I was severely hypothyroid. I got the problem addressed and now feel a lot better.

I learned a very stark lesson, though. I learned that so-called friends won't stand by you when you enter a dark valley. All I wanted during that time was some understanding and to just have someone to talk to. It would have cost them nothing. Too bad for me, because all of my fair-weather friends headed for the hills and acted like I was some kind of pariah.
Some of them were people I had stood by and would lend my ear to when they went through troubles. Could I expect some reciprocity? No. Now that I'm out of the woods, I'm glad these people exposed themselves to me for who they really were and are out of my life now.

When people turn on you for being sick, you know our society is severely messed up. Real compassion is difficult to find these days. It's all "me, me, me" now. As the Bible predicted, love has waxed cold.

GK said (July 29, 2017):

Henry, your article today asks many important questions and in the midst of so many of your important words, these struck me the most: "...most people strike me as emotionally starved." So true, and I seem to have a charge put on me to break into that starvation and say "HELLO, I'M HERE. I SEE YOU SHARING THE PLANET WITH ME."

And when I do that, even with just a glance, it stirs the pot. But I appear an anomaly, animated, like one who just popped out of the coma and wants to play hard ball, when it's really soft ball, the softness of humanness that (if its anything like my own) is always looking for friends. I just keep at it, mostly respectfully. Zombie Nation' is cold, boring and uninteresting, and considerably scary, turning us all into islands of isolation, inwardness perpetually going further in. I WANT OUT!! And beyond eye-contact and conversation, I also like hugs, group-singing, intelligent discourse and nonsense. Love-starved is a reversible condition; it involves taking risks, once in a while being willing to look foolish, and not caring if others think you're weird. Here's a link to a song that may have been prescient in that it was destined to become a 21st century anthem of the people:

Skip said (July 29, 2017):

All part of the agenda Henry as I probably need not remind you but had to comment, an agenda started long ago and touching on everything good about man to turn him evil as the agendas founder. I particularly liked Tony B’s comment.
Just everyone remember, what you see and hear today, will be considered child’s play tomorrow.

Al Thompson said (July 29, 2017):

Get another spoon.

Tony B said (July 29, 2017):

It's a battle, Henry, I believe harder today in some respects than ever. For instance, Christians are admonished to freely help the poor as the poor are always with us. But today, in the west anyway, government has assumed that role in a humanistic, spiritless ("entitled"), manner to the point that when someone gives you a sad story of need your first thought is, "Is this person really needy or just a tax eater after my money too?" This blots charity from the heart.

Moreover, I am now in old age but just learning that we are not meant to be self-centered individuals looking out primarily for our own interests, pagan/protestant style, we are meant to be in a godly universal social union. Designed and generally fake humanism has swallowed this up, communism especially.

Just today I read an interesting definition of humanism: "Feeling good instead of doing good. Hypocrisy." Fits.

Dan A said (July 29, 2017):

Every day I'm helping people, sharing my love if you will. I feel most people I do help are grateful and feel reciprocity is necessary, although I'm not helping others with the expectation of getting something in return. However some people I help, there is no alteration to their disposition. In other words, any way I help these few is not appreciated in any way. It's always my hope to lessen the anger and hatred some people have that I help, and they do have these traits. But sometimes, so it seems, I'm ineffective. But I will continue however to help others because that I feel is my nature.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at