Will and Devotion

The woman he had loved most (he was thirty at the time) would tell him (he was nearly in despair when he heard it) that she held on to life by a thread. Yes, she did want to live, life gave her great joy, but she also knew that her "I want to live" was spun from the threads of a spiderweb. It takes so little, so infinitely little, for someone to find himself on the other side of the border, where everything—love, convictions, faith, history—no longer has meaning. The whole mystery of human life resides in the fact that it is spent in the immediate proximity of, and even in direct contact with, that border, that it is separated from it not by kilometers but by barely a millimeter. Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting


I'm interested in the synonyms of steadfastness and their differences in connotation and denotation. My sketch of some:

  • resolution – purpose, action
  • conviction – belief
  • devotion – love (agape?)

Maybe I can reduce my interest in all of this down to an interest in will. These are all components of a strong will.


I wonder if devotion typically illustrates a love that is steadfast to faults in the beloved, suggesting an unconditional, bestowed love (agape). That is, if one is devoted to their beloved, does this imply that love persists despite any actions by or changes in the beloved?

Devotion could instead illustrate an unwavering love born from actions by and attributes of the beloved. Devotion would then mean that love of the beloved persists through all changes in the environment. If the beloved changes in actions or attributes, however, the love could cease.

Re-framing the language addresses this distinction clearly: Am I devoted to Mary, or am I devoted to Mary's attribute set and history of actions?

This leads to another question: What defines someone?