Mittwoch, 27. Juni 2018
First Code of the Army of Love

To define rules is always an imperious act. Even a democratic decision overrules those who voted differently or who didn’t get to vote at all. Instead, the First Code of the Army of Love is similar to art: It is meant to be absolute and forever but has no power beyond its own cogency. The First Code of the Army of Love does not rely on an administration but on people who put it directly into practice.

Whoever regards themselves as a soldier of the Army of Love can admit to this code, amend it or set up their own.

The Army of Love offers unconditional love. Soldiers should only commit to an encounter when they feel confident in delivering sufficient love. A successful offering is likely to create feelings of gratitude, if not love, on the side of the receiver but this reaction is not guaranteed, might take time or find ways that don’t please the soldier.

Soldiers should not accept payments or gifts for their offerings. Employers or sponsors of a soldier should not receive their offerings.

Offering charitable love can be perceived as patronizing. In what appears to be an urgent situation, soldiers might approach people directly but usually they should announce their availability in a general manner (for instance by wearing a badge or identifying themselves as a soldier on social media) and wait to be approached. Soldiers can appear individually or in groups. The former might make an encounter more intimate and discreet, the latter allows for the receiver to choose between different soldiers.

Recruitments of the Army of Love should also be announced in a general manner. The only people who might be approached directly for a recruitment are receivers who seem ready to themselves become soldiers. This includes people who ask to receive love only to make fun of the Army of Love or to
profit from what appears to them as more comfortable than “real” love.

No matter how many people are suffering from physical or mental loneliness, it does not make love per se a good deed. To be loved wrongly can be just as annoying or painful as not to be loved enough. Not only do the soldiers have to offer love to people they might not like in the first place - they also have to seek consent - a clearly signaled “yes” – for any offering. When a receiver signals „stop“ the soldier has to end their offerings immediately and, if requested, withdraw completely or help the receiver in meeting with adequate other soldiers.

Soldiers can ask as well the receivers to seek consent for their eventual offerings or soldiers can allow and encourage the receivers to perform any kind of intimate approach (within a certain range) till the soldier signals „stop“.

Soldiers have to guarantee the receivers complete confidentiality about their encounter - except for information about a breaking of the code of the Army of Love (in which case other members of the Army of Love can be informed confidentially) or information whose connivance would put legal damage to the soldier.

It‘s up to the soldiers to which degree they expect confidentiality from the receivers. Soldiers should announce the use of a fake identity and indicate how they can be made accountable.

To avoid an intimidating and arbitrary system of control the Army of Love doesn’t authorize or supervise its soldiers and receivers. Those who don’t feel safe in the presence of their counterpart can arrange an encounter next to other encounters of the Army of Love, whether it’s in the same room (with niches that allow discretion) or on the same compound. Soldiers should be open about eventual concerns in a respectful manner and encourage the receivers to do the same.

An ongoing common space could serve as a Center of Love where people interested in the Army of Love can show up at certain hours to be introduced to the Army of Love’s concept, techniques, and challenges.

An intimate encounter can lead to a complex array of feelings and actions. The soldiers should shy away from musing about eventual impacts of their offerings as they are difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Trying to consider them nonetheless would burden soldiers with responsibility, spoiling their performance, and question the receiver’s free choice. The task of the Army of Love is to offer immediate love (and thereby joy and relief), not therapy.

When a receiver expresses worries that an encounter could harm them on the long run (for instance by obsessively fixating them on that one soldier) the soldier should politely end the encounter and propose other soldiers to take over. In case the receiver expresses the intention of substantial self-harm or harm to others, the soldier should hint at therapeutical services. Similar to lawyers or priests, soldiers are not meant to warn third parties about eventual wrong-doings of the receivers.

In discreet intimate encounters we expose ourselves with little evidence of what actually happened. This exposure can be abused, both from the soldier as from the receiver. Whenever there is a claim of abuse, volunteering soldiers and receivers should hear both sides, offer mediation and advise. In case this is not regarded as sufficient by one or both parties, solvent soldiers, receivers or sympathizers of the Army of Love should offer both sides juridical help.

The Army of Love as such will take no sanctions against soldiers or receivers. It will not denounce them for eventual wrong-doings or exclude them from their offerings, as the Army of Love does not participate in any discriminatory acts. Anyone is allowed to act as a soldier, anyone is allowed to receive their offerings.

Soldiers have to train themselves on a regular basis to gain and increase experience and confidence in challenging situations. This training includes intellectual work — on topics like oppression, abuse, violence, and trauma - and role play - either with other soldiers or with volunteers who act as receivers.

As part of the Army of Love’s ongoing research soldiers should record their experiences after every encounter and training. Receivers will be encouraged to share their experiences with the respective soldier or the Army of Love in general. After problematic incidents and after every couple of encounters soldiers will seek a mutual debriefing.