What is love? Quite Simply Series… An excerpt 

Love the intangible four letter word which everyone wishes to hear at some point in their life. This desire may become fulfilled by those who we deem relevant to us at some level of importance. The effectiveness of love is usually peaks when delivered by someone we care about or have some kind of relationship with. It is seldom we find love based relationships which are born and maintained successfully based upon no previous experience. In fact for most people, to love someone there is a requirement of some kind of interaction, or history which love would be founded upon. If there is no attachment to the love interest then there is very little reason for most people to pursue the interaction any further. If the above were true it could be said the majority of people who exercise love are only doing so because it satisfies a form of need or importance to them. This would ultimately render love as an entity which is based on our personal desires and interactions.
But does this mean all is love is our interactions based upon selfishness?

Defining love by objectionable rationale would serve only to limit the possibilities relationship interaction. It would diminish the very foundation which love is based upon and force us to view our lives and relationships in a cause and effect perspective.

History has shown this is not the case and therefore the definition of love based on selfish desire is not a rational method for defining it.

Sadly, when you ask what love is, most people define love in the scope of only what it means to them. Normally, the answer is typically conveyed in a manner which is supposed to garner the support of the person asking and in the way which is the most socially agreeable. Though what the answer bearer often in these cases is “true” the majority of what they illustrate is based solely on their perspective definition.

Let me put it like this, if you were to ask someone who has never traveled outside of their neighborhood what the world was like, it is most likely they would define it based upon what they deem to be important, or worth mentioning as it relates to the world to them. The same would be true if you asked another person who had been out of their state, another who has traveled to foreign countries, and another who had traveled to space. As each level of experience is escalated, the method and perspectives of each level would convey a description of the world in a manner which is reflective of the experiences they have had. While this may be an acceptable way to explain what the world was like, it would not garner the same answer if you were to ask them all to define what the world is. Each would give a definition of the world in a manner which would convey a similar framework, although they may answer differently, you would find there are fundamental consistencies within each definition which could be deciphered as a foundational bottom-line meaning.

What the former suggest is when we ask a question which is moreover vague, we are more than likely to receive an answer which doesn’t encompass a foundational meaning, or at the very least a meaning with which you could base every description upon. If we, however, were to ask a question which is specific to the framework of a bottom-line, then the perception not only changes of how the question is interpreted but also how the answer is relayed back.

While there are many who agree giving love a bottom-line meaning is difficult to define as universal, there are just as many who see love from a place which can be based universally if we were to define it not as a feeling, or emotion but as an action.

Unfortunately, the image of love is often left to the limited perspective of those experience is equivalent to the perspective of what the world is like for those who have not left the neighborhood.

The evidence of this lies a simple google search of “what is love”. From my personal experience, the first thing which comes up is a 90’s song by Haddaway on YouTube. Of the 480 million results which are pooled by Google, the first few results immediately following are definitions which once analyzed, indicate perspectives which are based primarily on the author of the article. Most of which identify major facets of love and the experiences which can be found surrounding it, but there are few which give a clear fundamental explanation of what love is. A video search and an image search will produce much of the same, but the majority of the results will not submit love to be an emotion.

On the opposite side of the fence is the method which media imaging portrays love to be which more often than not becomes part of the general populace will adapt and adapt to their own interpretation. While the message about love in these explanations can be meaningful at times, the modern glamorization often blurs the lines of what love, and desensitizes those who view it from reaching a foundational conclusion, one which can be utilized as what love is and not what it is like.

Reflect for a moment and think hard on how you found the definition of love. When we look at it hard enough and hold it to scrutiny we will find we will ultimately define it as something which we desire from others and not as something which we ourselves look to do. Our perspectives on love, because of the influences of the world around us, has us looking at love with a perspective which indicates our varying levels of experiences. This is opposed to a fundamental bottom-line foundation which can be accepted universally. When conveyed, one would normally relay love to the kind of love with which the conversation is based upon.

Romantic love, or love when speaking about a relationship with two people who have in interest in one another would steer the conversation in the direction of a definition which would fit the idea of romance, intimacy, or something similar, the same would be done when referring to parent-child relationships, passion, and most other aspects of love. It is therefore universally accepted to define love based solely upon the context of the subject of the conversation rather than defining love on its own and then molding the conversation into the definition. This is the neighborhood perspective of what love and is not reflective of the foundational and fundamental aspects of it. It can also explain why love is so often paired with a feeling rather than a foundational quality of true, or bottom-line of what love is.

While the neighborhood perspective of love is still true, it is limited in its ability to be the source for which all of the world can place its foundational view from. The same is true about neighborhoods in general, the world’s population cannot be expected to live in just one neighborhood, meaning the world cannot be expected to define love as a whole in its essence as something which resides in a basis of only one perspective. It can be argued if you were to compile the definition of every neighborhood and find the commonality in them that a foundation definition can be formed. Yet, while this theory can also be true the problem would be still the fact the definition with which you will achieve would still only be based upon perspectives and not based upon the necessary specifics which the neighborhoods can universally agree upon. This is due to the fact that each neighborhood, or perspective would have its own point of view and the differences would ultimately disparage the very objective which you are attempting to achieve.

A perfect example of this is the method the Greeks used to define love. Rather than assigning it a unifying foundation, the Greeks chose to define love in a manner which attempted to encompass the neighborhoods of love by type as all inclusive. Based off of their system, there are eight different types of love: Eros, Philia, Storge, Ludus, Mania, Pragma, Philautia, and Agape. Each of these eight neighborhoods were used to explain the various types of love encountered in life and each with its own catalyst. While they do speak to the actions which are the motives of love and the motives behind love, none of these attempt to define what love is on its own. Similarly, Robert Sternberg, a professor at Cornell University conceptualized the Triangular Theory of Love, noting there are three root elements of love and the combination between them produce the varying degrees of love we encounter. All of which still do not place an definitive answer to what love is, but rather identifies the neighborhood types which they can be found in.

In essence, if we were to look for an answer to how to love someone or how to be loved for that matter, the universal answers we can expect to receive will be still based primarily upon the perspective and not the foundation. This fundamental flaw is the reason which we have seen such varying states of disagreements concerning love and the interpretations of how it is to be represented. With reference to the types of love, there are an infinite number of explanations of love which are primarily based upon sex, passion, personality compatibility, familiarity, glamour, and attraction. Each one with its own neighborhood and each neighborhood its own perspective as to how it relates to love.

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