Love your enemies

Unlike what you might imagine without diving deeply into the subject matter, the litRPG series I’ve been reading, “Salvos”, is in fact one of the most profound works I’ve read. Sure, some of it is just funny and silly, but there is really deep philosophy and emotion there, too. For instance, probably the best elaboration upon the concept of “love your enemies” is the chapter 81: “Lord of lies” of the book 9, where Salvos the protagonist talks about her personal philosophy and motives with a terrible bug-demon, a lord of illusions and curses, who is smart, calculating and cruel, responsible for the deaths of millions; essentially, someone that makes Hitler look like a little bitch. She talks to him while they fight, and it’s not the kind of talk you would expect, where someone tries to make the enemy doubt himself in order to weaken him, trying to instil fear and doubt. No; she talks to him with her heart open, explaining why she does everything for selfish reasons, but her selfishness encompasses other beings, those she loves and cares for, within her own identity, while in his selfishness there is place for none but himself.

She strikes him down with a mortal wound to his chest, and kneels by his side, gently talking to him about all the things she loves, that make her act to protect them, and in his final moments he has a change of heart, remembers one truly precious and unselfish moment from his childhood, and dies.

There is no obvious afterlife for the characters, yet the impression you get is that she saved him, in his last moments, and she just keeps kneeling beside his corpse later, and you try to guess her thoughts – probably something along the lines of “we could have been friends or even companions, had you only figured this out in time”.

She is portrayed as a character that is primarily driven by pride and selfishness, and yet she expands her sense of self to embrace so many different beings of different races, that her selfishness feels like divine protective love and inexplicable kindness, that heals even the soul of a mortal enemy, in death. Her enemy tried to argue that they are both the same: they act for selfish reasons, to which she answers, as a rebuttal: “And yet, I am Salvos, while you are Belzu.”, meaning that their selfishness is not the same because their sense of self is not the same.

This sentiment, where she is forced to kill her enemy in order to protect the world and the people she loves, but she doesn’t do it out of hatred or anger, and doesn’t even separate herself spiritually from her enemy even when she is forced to kill him, somehow does a better job at explaining the concept of loving your enemies than most Christian theologians. “Salvos” does an excellent job of portraying love as something with real dimension to it; something alive and powerful and fierce and fun; kindness and compassion that wields the power of a thermonuclear warhead.