A Philosophical Explanation Of Love.

The word love is something I hear often and yet I ponder what it really means. When a mother says, “I love you,” means something completely different from when you whisper, “I love you,” into you bf/gf’s ear. It has always been my nature to try to have a definition understanding of abstract things such as love and so I have finally come up with a working system that explains the nature of love.

First, I have identified three main branches of love. First, the paternal love. This is the love that is exemplified in the love of a parent for their child and is identified by a condescending outlook (ex. I will teach him/her right and wrong. I am the key figure in my child’s life). This type of love can also apply to situations such as when a teacher takes a student under their wings or when a girl at school feels compelled to teach and protect a child that is always being harassed at school.

The second type of love is a romantic love. This is the type that is most often associated with love and is idealized the most. I have never had a romantic partner and so I can only compile communications with friends who have and literature from people who consider themselves to be experts on the subject. This love is exemplified by the fact that the person with whom this feeling resides feels like the object of their affection is greater than others and often, even themselves. To help explain further, I notice that when I talk with a husband and ask him to describe his spouse, he will often comment on all their good qualities and will almost always omit the negative aspects of their personality. I do not believe that this is a purposeful deception, but the person feels that their love is even greater than they really are. I will explain this in greater detail later.

The third type of love is a friendship/peer love. I have gotten odd expressions when named this as a type of love. If you, my reader, feel the same, then I ask you to ponder whether you are assuming romantic love for this situation, if that was the case, then you would be right. But that is not the type of love that peer love is. The first type of love had a certain condescension about it and the second one had a sort of humility to it. The third love has an equal exchange of admiration and respect. In order for this love to be actualized, the two persons must feel equal to one another. This type of love is often exemplified by, “Best Friends.”

Now I am going to explain the definition of love to those of you who are quizzical of my third type. Love is an emotion that is revealed by an altruistic sacrifice from the one who is in love to the object of their love. In other words, they must be willing to and do sacrifice things that are important to them for the betterment of whomever they love. Small sacrifices don’t constitute love in of themselves. I often step out of the way of someone who is in a rush to get in their next class at the expense of a bit of my time. This is not because I love them, I hardly even know them, but it is because I like doing little things to help make the world more cheerful. However, if I went out of my way to continuously do kind things for this person, than it could be said that I love him/her. The other prerequisite to love is that you must have a knowledge of what it is that you love. I have gotten several interruptions and buts from this statement so let me explain. The common example is loving god. I will use myself as an example to explain how we are both right both misleading the other. I have been raised as a Christian all my life and so I have little issue in proclaiming my love for Jesus Christ. I have never met him and so how do I know him to love him according to what I had just said? The answer is this; throughout my life, I have read tales of his miracles deeds and kind nature. Through the bible, I began to create a construct of what I believed his personality to be. And so I always felt the need to do to others as he had because I loved what I believed him to be. I often fancy that he is watching my dealings with my fellow man and so he smiles when I do good to others. That is the sign that many people use to how their devotion/love to their faith: they go out of their way to live it. I would like to bring up a point to ponder; if Jesus were to show himself to someone professing themselves to be Christian, would they love him as much as they thought they did. The answer is, “It depends,” and this answer has incredible implications for how we deal with our fellow men/women.

The idea of using constructs to understand deities is not just applied to religion. We have a construct for every single person we have ever dealt with and care to remember. In most cases, the moment we meet someone, we begin making a construct of what we believe them to be. If they show a behavior that had not before existed in our construct, we make that change and so to us, they are not the same person as they were before they displayed a particular behavior. And so, if we apply this to my Jesus Christ scenario, we can see how the chance of the love continuing or ceasing. If Jesus is identical to my construct of him, then I would love him no different. In a more realistic scenario, he would probably display different behaviors that were not recorded but most of what I loved of him would still be the same. Therefore, my love would remain. However, if the Jesus I talk to is entirely different from the construct I had of him (if the records were false or blown way out of proportion), then I may find that I do not love him like I did before. For this reason, we can make sense of another scenario that I have pondered for some time.

In this scenario, a couple is engaged. They both have spent a good amount of time with one another and so have fairly accurate constructs (sort of…) of the other and they love what they believe the person to be. But as anyone who has been married can attest to, a person you are married to is not quite like the person you are engaged to. Optimally, it is minor things such as nagging often or not being clean around the house. Those are minor things and are usually not a major problem for most couples because the change in the construct does not deter them from the reason that they do love them. Unfortunately, a more problematic situation is often a part of courtship that can have a critical impact on the future marriage. When we are courting, we want to put our best foot forward and impress our date. Most people may have a basic understanding that this is taking place and so are prepared for minor changes as the relationship continue. However, problems ensue if one of the courters is extremely good at making themselves out to be great people when they are really egotistical nutcases, or when one of the courters is not good at detecting subtle clues into their date’s real nature as to have no clue of who they really are after marriage. In these two situations, the construct that they had loved is not the person they are married to and so the marriage will eventually fall apart.

Now that I have finish explaining this, I hope you take this information and ponder it. If you notice something that I did not explain well, please comment and I will clarify. I have revised my opinion a number of times and it could probably use a few more. If you have found this to be a good explanation for what has before, never been in your realm of understanding, then just try to apply it. By my nature, I like to put out ponderings and musings in hope that I learn and that the people who read this more. As my parting words, always think critically. Keep your mind engaged with complex thoughts because in your mind could be the key to progressing in a philosophical area that had previously never been explored.
Zealot362 Zealot362 18-21, M 1 Response Jan 4, 2013

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Very well written and thougt provoking