Thursday, January 20, 2005
There are as many forms of love as there are lovers. However, all forms of love have some common factors and issues.
Discussions of love are inevitably colored by the language used to describe it. Each language, developing alongside a corresponding culture, has a different set of words to describe love. As such, it's difficult to discuss different cultures' views without referencing their language. See the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
Interpersonal love is love between two human beings, and is deeper than merely liking someone a lot. Although feelings are usually reciprocal, there can also be unrequited love. Interpersonal love is usually found in an interpersonal relationship, such as between family members, friends, and couples. However, people often express love for other people outside of these relationships through charity and volunteering.
Some elements that are often present in interpersonal love:
Affection: appreciation of other
Attachment: satisfying basic emotional needs
Reciprocation: if love is mutual
Commitment: a desire to maintain love
Emotional intimacy: sharing emotions and feelings
Kinship: family bonds
Passion: sexual desire
Physical intimacy: sharing of personal space
Self-interest: desiring rewards
Service: desire to help
Passion, or sexual energy, is probably the most important element in determining how a relationship is seen. This is because passion is often considered undesirable or unhealthy in love. In many religions and systems of ethics, it is wrong to have passionate love for immediate family, or outside of a committed relationship.
A person can be said to love a country, principle, or goal if they value it greatly and are deeply committed to it. People can also 'love' material objects, animals, or activities if they like them a great deal. In these cases, if sexual passion is actually felt, it is typically considered abnormal or unhealthy, and called paraphilia.
Most religions use love to express the devotion the follower has to their deity who may be a living guru or religious teacher. This love can be expressed by putting the love of God above personal needs, prayer, service, good deeds, and personal sacrifice, all done selflessly. Reciprocally, the followers may believe that the deity loves the followers and all of creation. Some traditions encourage the development of passionate love in the believer for the deity. Refer to 'Religious Views' below.
Biological models of love tend to see it as a mammalian drive, just like hunger or thirst. Psychology sees love as more of a social and cultural phenomenon. There are probably elements of truth in both views — certainly love is influenced by hormones and pheromones, and how people think and behave in love is influenced by their conceptions of love.
Attraction and Attachment
The conventional view in Biology is that there are two major drives in love — sexual attraction and attachment. Attachment between adults is presumed to work on the same principles that lead an infant to become attached to their mother.
Companionate vs. Passionate
The traditional psychological view sees love as being a combination of companionate love and passionate love. Passionate love is intense longing, and is often accompanied by physiological arousal (shortness of breath, rapid heart rate). Companionate love is affection and a feeling of intimacy not accompanied by physiological arousal.
.:: What drives us for searching for this anyway? ::.
There are times when the world seems devoid of love. Then there are moments with pets kids friends strangers and nature that bring a realization that the more love expressed the more love found. Still, as stated in the Bible... "And if I ...know all mysteries and all knowledge...but do not have love, I am nothing. ... Corinthians 13:2"
But, as Francis Bacon said... "Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est." or Knowledge is Power. But what good does knowledge do when no one to share it with? I do not really know. However, I do know that the quest for love, or Love, like any other quest brings character and compassion to the table. If the table is the banquet of live's celebrations then the most glorious would be one with the most stories to tell. Boy do I have stories to tell! I am trying to determine what words to use to describe them and how to relay them.
But, as was said... "As you ramble on through life, brother, whatever be your goal: keep your eyes upon the donut, and not upon the hole!" ... Murray Banks
So, I will lurch through this life transition I am in and see what Serendipity brings and also make sure I stay focused on the donut, and not the whole. For the Love in my life, while not adorned with long hair flowers and dresses of silk... is still bountiful. As I close this entry, I have one cat waiting next to me and another lurking too waiting for her chance to snuggle and not to mention the dog who I think is already asleep on my quilt.
Namaste to those who care.
.:: jlm ::.