Think really hard about everyone you love…
Not just care about, but love.
Now, narrow it down to those you would die for.
Now rationalize why they’re worth dying for.
I’d venture to say the reasons for dying for someone would be both simple and complex, both obvious and personal.
Of course you have those who are like family, or who literally are family. You have a built-in obligation to give your life for these people (assuming the relationship is even somewhat healthy). It is simple on this level, because it is practically expected.
When it comes down to friends and lovers/significant others, the decision to die for someone gets very personal, often unexplainable. You may feel it, but describing such feelings are almost impossible.
So, why would we burn the whole world to save one person?
Why would we end our own life if it meant the preservation of another?
Well… to put it simply… We think they are worth it.
But why are they worth it? What makes them more special than every other human? Everyone has or had family at one point. Everyone usually has at least someone else who would have died for them too. What makes your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/child/friend any different?
This is where it gets… complicated.
Very, very complicated.
We base the person’s worth after how much they mean to us. For example:
“They are my everything. They mean the world to me. I don’t want to live without them. If I didn’t have them, I’d be nothing. I think they’re the most beautiful blah blah blah ever.”
Also, there’s always the issue of how well we know the person. We make excuses for them. We’ve all seen it. We’ve seen wives take back abusive husbands, parents let irresponsible sons and daughters move back in, etc.
Just imagine a movie where the main character is basically a loser who cheats on his girlfriend, hits rock bottom, loses everything, almost dies, but then figures out he has some special talents that wins him some national competition and then he becomes a super hero or something and saves his ex-gf from some jerk in an ally somewhere. The entire film you’re growing attached to a loser, someone who you’d never let so much as look at your daughter or best friend, yet you’re cheering for him by the end of the movie.
Because you know his entire story.
That’s how it becomes with those we love. We know them on levels others just don’t quite understand. We can forgive them because we understand them. And when they screw up, we take them back when the world would throw them away. We are apart of their story. We’re a supporting role in their movie.
So, we love them for selfish and selfless reasons.
We love them because WE love certain qualities they possess…
and we love them because we understand THEM like no one else could, so we want what’s best for them.
Now comes an even trickier question. Do the ones we love literally have value outside of our own perceptions of that value? And I don’t mean just human value.
If we’d die for someone, wouldn’t it make sense that this person is priceless?
But if we admit they’re only valuable to us, and their priceless-ness is only a reflection of our personal attachment to them, it would make no sense to die for them…
we wouldn’t be around to enjoy their presence anymore.
We’d be dead.
If we would die for someone, it must imply that they literally are as valuable as we feel they are to us. If someone is worth dying for, that means that the only thing preventing OTHERS from dying for them is their lack of perspective.
In other words…
If someone knew your friend as well as you knew them, they’d realize your friend was as valuable as you know them to be.
In OTHER words…
People don’t become more valuable. People’s value must simply be discovered.
Everyone is worth dying for. You just don’t believe it yet.
And just in-case some wise-guy wants to throw Hitler into this equation, someone in his life would have died for him… before he chose to become a sub-human monster.
(but that is for another post).