Aside from being the title to songs by various artists, and the reason so many novels are written, love (we all agree) is why we marry.
But what is it?
It depends on whom you ask.
Ask a scientist and they will say something like: it’s ‘lust, romance and attachment’ (the anthropologist, Dr Helen Fisher, said just that). Ask a physicist and he’ll tell you: ‘love is chemistry’, and a nun will say: ‘love is free yet binds us’ whilst a philosopher might say: ‘there are many forms of love’.
The popular story about love in society, propogated by the media and contemporary love stories, goes something like this:
Two people meet and there is an instant ‘knowing’; you are overcome by a strong feeling that you recognise as being in-love. Your meeting is destined.
The forked prong in this story is that most of them (the stories) end along the lines of: ‘and they lived happily ever after’.
They don’t explain how when the feeling fades, it doesn’t mean love has failed the relationship and that you should abandon ship, or that it is a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship.
A few quotes from famous people might shed light on our quest:
- Love does not dominate; it cultivates – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves – Victor Hugo
- Being deeply loved by someone give you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage – Lao Tzu
- Where there is love there is life – Mahatma Gandhi
- At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet – Plato
- A loving heart is the truest wisdom – Charles Dickens
- Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love – Leo Buscaglia
As a philosopher interviewed on Psychology Today said: “…chief among them is the understanding and practice of love as a genuine inner readiness and longing to secure the good of the other person.”
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