"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil, with good."
-- St. Paul
The Agape Order System of Rank
As a fledgling organization, The Agape Order system of rank is undeveloped. The system will work itself out over time. What can be said now is this:
Within the Agape Order there will be Teachers, and there will be Students, as two distinct groups, as different individuals possess different levels of knowledge of Agape principal, and proficiency in practice. However, the basic Agape Order perspective on rank, its "philosophy of rank" is that just about every AO member, up-to-and-including its Founder, contains elements of both student and teacher. The only members not yet necessarily considered to possess elements of "teacher" are those who have not yet completed any training at all. Even a brand new student who has completed their first hour of teaching knows something they can teach to a student even newer than themselves, one who has yet to receive any training, at all. Moreover, some or all new students will have lessons to teach or information to impart based on their existing mastery of Agape culled from their own lives or other formal classes or education they've received. If so, these persons, too, would be considered to have elements of "Teacher" even before taking their first AO lesson.
This Agape Order "Teacher and Student as a Unity" perspective reflects 1.) the somewhat fluid nature of our undertaking, in that many of the situations and circumstances in which we'll be attempting to practice love will be new, unique, or idiosyncratic, likely resulting at their conclusion in our having learned something, in our having furthered our knowledge of, and technique in, practicing Agape, which is to say, in Living Love. No member, regardless of age or proficiency, will likely escape this reality, meaning, even longstanding and proficient members can and will continue to learn, 2.) Even longstanding members who are proficient in the Agape Arts can err. Error will likely and presumably lead to correction and a lesson learned. Hence, in both these cases even the Teacher of Agape remains in some measure the Student of Agape.
Many of the waters of the situational oceans we'll be attempting to navigate with our Ship of Love will be unlike any other we've traversed; thus will we be compelled to navigate anew and learn as we go, and thus, all of us in the AO in some measure are, and must see ourselves as, both student and teacher.
Pronunciation: uh gop' ayuh rhymes with DUH gop rhymes with MOP
ay rhymes with RAY
Agape is Brotherly Love in the language of Greek philosophy. An Agape Master is an individual engaged in a serious, usually lifetime study and/or practice of Agape, properly understood, that is usually considered so substantive that such persons are thought more than proficient enough to assume the role of teacher, and are generally considered far more advanced even than all or most of those engaged in similar study or practice. I, Vincent Frank De Benedetto, founder of THE AGAPE ORDER, declare myself an Agape Master. Since this organization is the founding and certifying body, there is no one else, at present, to declare me.
Whence the basic notion of an Agape "master"? Such an appellation and the expertise, interest, and skill that must inform it is implied, if not made explicit, by no less an Agape Master, himself, than social psychologist, psychiatrist, and philosopher Erich Fromm in his seminal The Art of Loving. There, Dr. Fromm delineates the requirements for mastery, and indeed becoming a master, in any craft or activity, then goes on to stipulate that this exact same requirement process, informed by complete devotion to craft or activity resulting in the same advanced level of knowledge and expertise, is required for the art of loving.
Thus can there be, and thus can one be, Dr. Fromm evidently asserts, an "Agape Master."
Brotherly Love is the subject of my books under development, including LOVE ETHIC and NEIGHBORS OF DEATH, essentially all of my other work, including prose, poetry, and broadcast (pending), and the general basis for my mode of living. I maintain a daily personal practice of Agape. My mastery also includes continuing development of the body of unique, original, and powerful scholarship in Agape contained principally in the works just named, a discipline and subject of study that I term "The New Science of Agape," and assert as the bleeding-edge of social science, far more important than any other area of social, or indeed physical, science.
A more extensive, explanatory, and illuminating description of my role and status as, and qualifications for, the title of Agape Master are found in subsection Agape Master near page-bottom here, under sub-section AGAPE MASTER.
~ Love Yourself, Love Others ~
THE AGAPE ORDER