Loving your literal neighbor

It’s one thing to love your neighbor in the abstract. It’s quite another to love your literal neighbor.

As G. K. Chesterton explains:

We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbor. … The duty towards humanity may often take the form of some choice which is personal or even pleasurable. That duty may be a hobby … We may be made as to be particularly fond of lunatics or specially interested in leprosy … But we have to love our neighbor because he is there — a much more alarming reason for a much more serious operation. He is the sample of humanity actually given us.

Quote found in From the Library of C. S. Lewis

2 thoughts on “Loving your literal neighbor

  1. People in the G. K. Chesterton income bracket get to pick which neighborhood to live in. Neighborhoods have distinct demographics. So, yes, in many ways, you do pick your neighbor. Things would be a lot different if people were assigned a random human as neighbor.

  2. @AndrewGelman is partially right. We get to choose an abstract class of neighbors, but the actual neighbor is random within that class. Or, more concrete, if I choose a song on Pandora.com and request that they play “songs like this one,” they still sometimes play songs that I don’t like, even though the song has similar characteristics.

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