The teacher was speaking about love, and saying that it must not be confused with exclusiveness, for instance, love of country is supposed to be strengthened by hatred of other countries as possible enemies. But this is not really love of country, the real love of country tries to raise the quality of life and culture in it, and thinks of other countries with respect and with a view to learning something useful from them.
Similarly love as personal attachment is often a hidden desire to possess. He said that love has to be universal and beyond limitations national or personal. It must not discriminate between persons, it must not be rationed.
One of the pupils objected: “But teacher, you give much attention to some people whereas you seem to avoid talking to others. Isn’t that rationing love?”
The teacher answered: “I don’t ration my love, but I do ration my time. I don’t talk to people when I see it will not be productive, when I see that with them I shall neither teach nor learn anything. In the garden you don’t spend much time fussing about seeds that have not begun to sprout above the surface. When they grow up a little you can tend them profitably.”
There are people who have not yet broken through the surface of absolute self-interest. I love them in their imperfect state but I know it will be some time before they can receive it.”
© Trevor Leggett