• Sait
    2
    Words are boxes that can be filled with many things. Whats in the box is determined by your awareness of the past, the future, of now and the concept at play.

    So it can mean anything from "trusting in someone to a point that one sacrifices things." to " A blanket"

    The real question is: "What should they mean?" To craft the most beautiful understanding of love is not easy. It requires a strong root to your emotions and others.

    I personally like to see it a warm flame in a cold dark night, the opposite of apathy, birds dancing in air.

    There are as many perspectives about love as there are fishes in a sea.
    Lot of them are a like, some of them are special.
    Their worth is teaching us not to be superficial.
    To blend with our desires and bond ourselves to the world.
    To feel more then one, to be larger then the world.
  • wellwisher
    163
    Love, in general, is based on certain brain chemical combinations. The main difference between love and being in love is based on how these love chemicals are induced. Being in love is more based on sensory input inductions, from an outside source, such as from a mate or from your child. Love, in a more general term, is based on internal generation of these chemicals using our memory and our imagination as a trigger.

    When memory is created in the brain, aspects of the limbic system will add emotional tags to the memory, as it is written to the cerebral. This is why our strongest memories tend to have the strongest feelings; marriage, trauma, graduation, vacations, etc. This dual memory storage;thought-feeling, and writing schema is useful to the animal since if he encounters a similar situation; new good food object, he will react to the feeling attached to the original triggered memory and can act on the feeling without having to think. He will eat.

    Love, in general, is when we use our memories, with attached love feelings, to induce the love chemicals. For example, we can think of when we first met our mate. Once the love chemicals are flowing and we feel love, we can trick the limbic system to use these chemicals, in part, in the writing process; love your enemy. The enemy will not help you induce love, externally, through your sensory systems. He will try to induce fear and hate chemicals to the writing process. So you need to induce the love to cancel the fear/hate so you can control the writing process, from within.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    824

    Perhaps I was too exposed to Wittgenstein and "ordinary language philosophers" like J.L. Austin in my younger days, or am myself merely ordinary, but I'm inclined to define "love" as I think we typically do, as we use the word in context; as a noun or a verb, depending on the circumstances. So, I'm inclined to say that when I love someone I have a profound affection for them, for example, or a romantic attachment to them. I may have both for the same person, or I may not. I don't see these uses of the word as artificial, but rather think that uses of the word which substantially differ from them are misuses of the word and language, which may as lovely, lovely Ludwig W used to say, lead to the bewitchment of our intelligence.

    That's not to say you're bewitched, though. Only that I what you describe isn't what I would call "love" though it may involve love, or relate to it.
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    Perhaps I was too exposed to Wittgenstein and "ordinary language philosophers" like J.L. Austin in my younger days, or am myself merely ordinary, but I'm inclined to define "love" as I think we typically do, as we use the word in context; as a noun or a verb, depending on the circumstances. So, I'm inclined to say that when I love someone I have a profound affection for them, for example, or a romantic attachment to them. I may have both for the same person, or I may not. I don't see these uses of the word as artificial, but rather think that uses of the word which substantially differ from them are misuses of the word and language, which may as lovely, lovely Ludwig W used to say, lead to the bewitchment of our intelligence.Ciceronianus the White

    If love is something that you feel and express, and relying on socially constructed ideals about what love is and how relationships function only explains the depth of your low self-esteem since these connections are alien to your inner agency. Moral consciousness is that self-awareness or genuine behaviour that characterises a willingness distinct from what others expect and it is you giving because you want to and not doing because you are supposed to since that is what everyone else is doing. The expressions - erotic love, love toward your child, love of friends, family etc - are coming from within you and explain a positive feeling of care and affection. Many people have partners that they do not love but comfortably say I love you, they have children that they don't care about, friends they treat badly. There is no love, just an artificial display.

    I am saying that you should feel profound affection toward someone, but ascertain whether that is real; do you admire them for who they are or are you deeply lonely; do you have that profound affection for them because they are worthy of it or do you feel affection because they are popular and attractive, the difference between giving love and wanting love.

    A person who has not been completely alienated, who has remained sensitive and able to feel, who has not lost the sense of dignity, who is not yet "for sale", who can still suffer over the suffering of others, who has not acquired fully the having mode of existence - briefly, a person who has remained a person and not become a thing - cannot help feeling lonely, powerless, isolated in present-day society. He cannot help doubting himself and his own convictions, if not his sanity. He cannot help suffering, even though he can experience moments of joy and clarity that are absent in the life of his "normal" contemporaries. Not rarely will he suffer from neurosis that results from the situation of a sane man living in an insane society, rather than that of the more conventional neurosis of a sick man trying to adapt himself to a sick society. In the process of going further in his analysis, i.e. of growing to greater independence and productivity, his neurotic symptoms will cure themselves.

    Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.
  • Possibility
    412
    Personally, I see love as an experience of our fundamental interconnectedness - not so much that ‘I need you’, but that my unique potential and capacity for life is greater for you being a part of it, and vice versa. Whether that love is romantic, between friends, parents and child, for our dog, our neighbour or our enemy - love is a recognition that complete independence prevents us from living to our full potential.

    Because this interconnectedness is a deep feeling, we observe its impact on our physiology and psychology, but like energy we cannot observe it directly. Nor can we reliably distinguish it from other simultaneous interactions with our physiology and psychology, such as sexual drive and other evolutionary drives to manipulate our surroundings for the benefit and perpetuity of our genetic code.

    So we observe it as ‘romantic love’ when our inner conditions strongly suggest this: sexual attraction, compatibility of genetics, interests, ideologies, life paths, etc. All of these strengthen our awareness of this interconnectedness - but it is concentrated between two actual entities. We are more convinced of this particular pocket of interconnectedness, the more physiological and psychological evidence we experience, and those around us also notice its impact on our outward demeanour and our actions.

    When we are ‘in love’, that sense of interconnectedness often radiates into our other connections, enhancing the way we interact with everything - the world looks brighter and full of possibilities, food tastes better, we are nicer to everyone, etc. We become more aware of how we interact with the world and create potential for ourselves and for others.

    But society’s view of love and marriage dictates that we can only feel this romantic love with one person (at a time). The institution of marriage, with its origins as a property exchange contract and an effort to control sexual drive, restrict our capacity to love when the conditions suggest this interconnectedness to be of a ‘romantic’ nature. So we strenuously deny our interconnectedness with other ‘romantically compatible’ people around us, rationalising physical and social compatibility boundaries to love, and channel our capacity to love towards that one person.

    Likewise, as a mother, my connection to my own child is enhanced by the recognition that she carries my genetic code and that her life is intertwined with mine in so many more ways than any other human being. As a newborn, her unique potential and capacity for life was almost completely dependent on my own capacity - the experience of fundamental interconnectedness was at its strongest. As she grows, I must adjust to the reality that my individual capacity is limited, and that her capacity for life becomes greater the more she interacts with the universe and intertwines her potential with others.

    Like being ‘in love’, this sense of interconnectedness radiates into the way I experience the world around me - If I’m honest, I become acutely aware of the capacity of others to genuinely love this child, too: from my husband and family members, to the nurse, neighbours, friends and strangers. I am also aware of my own capacity to love others with the same strength of feeling, including other people’s children, the orphans on TV ads, etc.

    If I wholly embrace this feeling, then the fear and lack of control can be overwhelming, so I cope with this awareness of universal interconnectedness by applying a hierarchy or circle of concern - rationalising physical, genetic, ideological and other boundaries and distances that deny this capacity for love beyond a certain point. Rightly or wrongly, these structures form the foundations of our society...
  • schopenhauer1
    3.2k
    So we observe it as ‘romantic love’ when our inner conditions strongly suggest this: sexual attraction, compatibility of genetics, interests, ideologies, life paths, etc. All of these strengthen our awareness of this interconnectedness - but it is concentrated between two actual entities. We are more convinced of this particular pocket of interconnectedness, the more physiological and psychological evidence we experience, and those around us also notice its impact on our outward demeanour and our actions.Possibility

    I think people should explore the stochastic nature of who gets love and who doesn't. One obvious way is how children can be born to parents that show little love. Some even have to be brought up in foster care for much of their life. But another one is how some people experience and keep true romantic love and others never find, or never keep romantic love for long periods of time. Thus, the somewhat random distribution of who finds love makes love partly a misery for what is denied millions and billions of people. Human life, being very indeterminate in how people's personalities and circumstances play out in the world-stage, has a lot of non-optimal outcomes for many people. This is yet another reason not to bring another person into the world. The indeterminate nature of contingent circumstances and life-decisions of an individual will often lead that individual to non-optimal circumstances (for the personal preferences of that person or objective set of preferences if one buys into that idea).
  • Possibility
    412

    I don’t think it helps to expect anyone to show love on the basis of genetics, ideological affinity or physical attraction. Just as there are many children born to parents who fail to ‘love’ them, so many children are raised in a loving bond that has nothing to do with genetics, and also children adopted or switched at birth can form a bond just as strong or even stronger with non-biological parents.

    It certainly suggests that while parental love can be enhanced by genetics, this may have more to do with awareness than any actual connection.

    As for romantic love, I think the parameters we set for what this type of love ‘looks’ like, and the belief that we are obliged to find one person who best fits these particular parameters, prevent us from being open to love in all its forms. Personally, I think romantic love is a myth - if we work to free the concept of love from the parameters of sexual attraction, and likewise free sexual attraction from the parameters of ‘romantic love’, we recognise that sexual attraction really has nothing to with love as an awareness or deep feeling of interconnectedness - all it does is enhance our awareness or feeling in certain circumstances.

    I get the sense that we all have the capacity to love and be loved with the intensity of a mother and child bond in all circumstances. The apparent ‘distribution’ of this love perhaps comes down to the boundaries, structures and distances that have helped us to make sense of, control and feel safe in society and the universe in general. When we have the courage to dismantle these and to be aware of interconnectedness beyond them, then perhaps we may find love in unexpected places...
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    Let me give a mathematical definition of love.

    At a minimum it requires 1 thing - you can love yourself.

    We also know the term like which in the simplest of terms is an attraction or pull between the one who likes and the liked.

    Let y = 1 ÷ like


    As like increases or tends towards infinity, y tends to 0, which in French is love.

    So love is a function of like, specifically infinite like.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.2k
    I don’t think it helps to expect anyone to show love on the basis of genetics, ideological affinity or physical attraction. Just as there are many children born to parents who fail to ‘love’ them, so many children are raised in a loving bond that has nothing to do with genetics, and also children adopted or switched at birth can form a bond just as strong or even stronger with non-biological parents.

    It certainly suggests that while parental love can be enhanced by genetics, this may have more to do with awareness than any actual connection.
    Possibility

    You either misinterpreted what I meant or you are creating a strawman, as I never mentioned genetics as a result of bad parenting situations and foster care. I was simply stating that it is a fact that some set of people will not experience "love" from a parental figure the way others might. That was it. My argument had nothing to do with whether someone was raised by genetic parents or not.

    As for romantic love, I think the parameters we set for what this type of love ‘looks’ like, and the belief that we are obliged to find one person who best fits these particular parameters, prevent us from being open to love in all its forms. Personally, I think romantic love is a myth - if we work to free the concept of love from the parameters of sexual attraction, and likewise free sexual attraction from the parameters of ‘romantic love’, we recognise that sexual attraction really has nothing to with love as an awareness or deep feeling of interconnectedness - all it does is enhance our awareness or feeling in certain circumstances.Possibility

    I'd say this is a case of "moving the goal posts". I can certainly point to a phenomenon called "romantic love" and I can identify its traits. In fact, you described the feelings associated with this phenomenon quite well. But it seems that to counter my claim, you denied the importance of romantic love all together when it seems to be a very powerful force in the human psyche.

    I get the sense that we all have the capacity to love and be loved with the intensity of a mother and child bond in all circumstances. The apparent ‘distribution’ of this love perhaps comes down to the boundaries, structures and distances that have helped us to make sense of, control and feel safe in society and the universe in general. When we have the courage to dismantle these and to be aware of interconnectedness beyond them, then perhaps we may find love in unexpected places...Possibility

    Yes the Greeks had a concept of different forms of love. Agape, storge, philia, eros, etc. etc. I get that we can feel interconnected outside romantic love. However, let's not downplay the role of romantic love. It's pursuit and its lesser cousin lust, are the reasons the species continues and procreates in the first place. The human condition is a wiley mysterious thing, but it can be characterized with a kind of self-awareness- a meta-understanding of itself. We can analyze our situation as we do what we do. No other animal has such reflective abilities. One of the conditions we constantly find ourselves in is the need for need. We cannot get beyond our own restless boredom. One level up from our restless boredom is loneliness. Thus humans tend to be characterized by their restless need to "do anything" and their need to connect with others while doing something. Romantic love is a sort of the ultimate "connect with another person" in the sense that one's time, devotion, physical needs, are connected with another person. This satisfies some craving in the human psyche to get beyond loneliness. This kind of connection is deeper than even a really good friend (but not necessarily better). It is different than the reverence one pays parents or the awestruck feelings of some religious experience. In a way, it is the practical need to get through life with someone who cares for you and vice versa. Of course, one of the conceits of the human condition is no one (or any) person knows you like you know yourself, and people often have unreasonable expectations that their "partner" will know them fully when no one can know that..so best not to expect it.

    Anyways, the point is that this kind of deep romantic love is not experienced or experienced in any kind of meaningful duration for millions and billions of people in the world. That is troubling that such a seemingly fundamental thing is not had by many humans. You can downplay it, change the goal posts, or whatnot, but then you are not really dealing with the problem itself, but trying to diminish it so it doesn't look like a real problem.

    I guess if I were to use the different Greek concepts I would be using the two ideas of eros and pragma. Eros is that passionate love found in pop-culture. This is that immediate attraction one feels and excitement. People often confuse this with pragmatic love, which is trying to find someone who has common interests and living together as a goal. People want a combination of both but often cannot have it. This is another frustrating aspect of love. So there are many things about love that are troubling.

    1) Love (pragma) is not had by millions and billions of people but it is a deep psychological need to want to have someone to live life with. Thus people are living with a lack of the is deep need.

    2) People want their pragmatic love to be combined with their romantic love and that often times doesn't pan out the way they want it in their minds. This may be a case of unreasonable expectations.

    3) Loving relationships often fall apart due to a variety of reasons and leave the person feeling worse off.

    Love seems more trouble than its worth, but at the same time is wrapped up in the human condition.
  • Possibility
    412

    You either misinterpreted what I meant or you are creating a strawman, as I never mentioned genetics as a result of bad parenting situations and foster care. I was simply stating that it is a fact that some set of people will not experience "love" from a parental figure the way others might. That was it. My argument had nothing to do with whether someone was raised by genetic parents or not.schopenhauer1

    I’m not arguing with you here - just offering additional thoughts on the notion of parental love. My point (clearly not well made, let me try again) was that we tend to expect an expression of love between parent and child that (as you suggested) doesn’t always occur, and we wonder where the failure lies. My thoughts were that, given the frequent occurrence both of genetic bonds without an experience of parental love and strong experiences of parental love without a genetic bond, it seems to suggest that what we think of as ‘parental love’ is not really parental, but something more generic that not everyone is open to experiencing at that point in their life. This is not to say that they never will, however. Most of us have barriers that need to be dismantled first.

    I'd say this is a case of "moving the goal posts". I can certainly point to a phenomenon called "romantic love" and I can identify its traits. In fact, you described the feelings associated with this phenomenon quite well. But it seems that to counter my claim, you denied the importance of romantic love all together when it seems to be a very powerful force in the human psyche.schopenhauer1

    Perhaps ‘myth’ is not the right word - I think your use of ‘phenomenon’ and ‘experience’ is closer than your previous suggestion that there is ‘true romantic love’ out there that we either have and keep, or we don’t. I’m not saying the phenomenon of ‘romantic love’ doesn’t exist in subjective experience - I experience this phenomenon myself within a marriage of more than 20 years, which I guess makes me one of the lucky ones. But I think it’s false or even misleading for me to claim that I ‘have’ romantic love at any point.

    I think that might be part of the problem. Those of us who experience love attempt to substantiate it in the ways we describe our experience. We talk about possessing or having something, about physiological responses such as heartrate, and even psychological evidence such as emotion. Each of these associations help to make it seem more ‘real’ or substantial. In doing so, we paint a ‘false’ picture of what it is we are actually experiencing.

    I’m not saying that we lie. That’s the trouble with romantic love - because it’s defined by association with sexual attraction and sharing a life, it’s easier to rely on these elements of the experience in order to substantiate what is essentially a much deeper feeling. One that’s difficult to articulate, let alone to verify. The human sexual drive is a powerful force in the human psyche, so it stands to reason that this notion of ‘romantic love’ would also be seen as such. But I think what everyone is searching for comes from a more universal ‘love’ that originates at a deeper experiential level, and is then informed by a variety of physiological and psychological responses to our interaction with others.

    It’s a bit like the concept of energy. We know it exists because we observe or experience evidence of change. But we can’t see it, and we can’t say what it really is. So we talk about it in terms of the physical evidence it leaves behind: kinetic, thermal, etc.

    In my experience, at the base of all love is the awareness that one’s unique potential and capacity for life is greater for being intertwined with another (and vice versa). This is the source of romantic as well as parental and familial love, deep friendship, tribal, community, humanity, etc.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.2k
    Perhaps ‘myth’ is not the right word - I think your use of ‘phenomenon’ and ‘experience’ is closer than your previous suggestion that there is ‘true romantic love’ out there that we either have and keep, or we don’t. I’m not saying the phenomenon of ‘romantic love’ doesn’t exist in subjective experience - I experience this phenomenon myself within a marriage of more than 20 years, which I guess makes me one of the lucky ones. But I think it’s false or even misleading for me to claim that I ‘have’ romantic love at any point.Possibility

    I don't believe in true romantic love. By keep I meant, that we sustain- as in a long-term relationship for many many years, not just a fling or a short-lasting relationship. I was not indicating love is some "thing" that is kept. But that the relationship itself was sustained. For example, you have a 20 year relationship. This may add some happiness or positive well-being to your life to be involved in the sustaining of this relationship that someone who does not experience this might not experience. That is what I am talking about here.

    It’s a bit like the concept of energy. We know it exists because we observe or experience evidence of change. But we can’t see it, and we can’t say what it really is. So we talk about it in terms of the physical evidence it leaves behind: kinetic, thermal, etc.

    In my experience, at the base of all love is the awareness that one’s unique potential and capacity for life is greater for being intertwined with another (and vice versa). This is the source of romantic as well as parental and familial love, deep friendship, tribal, community, humanity, etc.
    Possibility

    To mention this is to not recognize that I already addressed that the ancient Greeks have deduced a multiplicity of the forms of love (or as you put it interconnectedness). I even split up the idea of pragmatic love (being in a long term committed relationship) with specifically erotic or romantic love which has more to do with immediate sexual attraction. They can be comingled, but not necessarily. Anyways, either form- romantic or pragmatic can be something missing from many people's lives.

    My claim is that 1) pragmatic/romantic forms of love are a real form of social connectedness. 2) People are qualitatively worse off who don't experience pragmatic/romantic forms of love or don't experience them for long sustainable durations of time. From these 2 things I also conclude 3) pragmatic/romantic love is a major form of suffering for those who don't experience it or who experience it and lose it or have a bad time with it leaving the person worse off. Thus, like many things in life, pragmatic/romantic love is actually a deficit for many people.
  • Possibility
    412
    Okay - I’m not going to disagree with any of the points you make here. I’m going to try and explain my view from my understanding of your perspective, so bear with me.

    Yes, a sustained experience of pragmatic/romantic love is perceived as a deficit for many people. They ‘suffer’ specifically from an awareness of loss or lack, fuelled by the false perception that a sustained experience of pragmatic/romantic love: 1) is out there to be found in a complete state, 2) simply combines the experiences of sexual attraction and life compatibility, and 3) requires no continued effort on their part.

    You define pragmatic/romantic love as a combination of immediate sexual attraction and being in a long-term, committed relationship. Sexual attraction can be reduced to the combination of physiological responses to certain visual and other stimuli. A long-term committed relationship can boil down to a mental checklist of preferences and ‘deal-breakers’ in terms of actualities (common interests, beliefs, ideology, etc) based on future hopes and past experiences. This is by no means all they are, but the fact that they can be reduced to so little points to a flaw in how we define this type of love.

    Many people experience these two elements separately without experiencing the ‘love’ that is an awareness of interconnection at a deeper level. On the other hand, it is possible (if difficult) to experience a deep and abiding ‘love’ that transforms our wellbeing without experiencing either of these two. Somewhere in between is a journey towards deeper awareness from the experience of only one of these elements at time, to a love that encompasses both.

    This deeper awareness is certainly prompted by experiences of immediate sexual attraction and life compatibility. They draw our adult attention in the strongest way to a necessity of interdependence - the recognition that complete independence is achieved ultimately to our detriment - and they potentially open our minds and hearts to experience that deeper sense of interconnectedness across all our relationships.

    But there are many experiences in life that close our minds and hearts to this deeper experience of love. People experience a disconnect from the universe and each other now more than ever in our history. We have learned to protect ourselves from pain, loss and humiliation with boundaries and limitations on our awareness that make it almost impossible for us to experience sexual attraction and life compatibility in a single relationship, let alone experience that deeper sense of interconnectedness.

    Personally I think it helps to examine these boundaries and limitations in the way we interact with others, to recognise them as false, and then to dismantle them. This often leaves us vulnerable in a way that terrifies us to our core - but I think only then can we be genuinely open to experiencing love.

    My 24 year relationship was primarily based on life compatibility (from my experience) for the first 18 years. In my youth I failed to combine romantic and pragmatic love, and ultimately chose one over the other. This was a deficit I chose to ‘suffer’. It wasn’t until many years later that I managed to recognise and discard the boundaries I had to experiencing a deeper interconnection, opening myself up to romantic love within an existing experience of pragmatic love.

    It wasn’t easy, and I imagine most people who feel that deficit find it easier to assume that romantic love must be experienced elsewhere. I spent many years conscious that some ‘romance’ could come along and tear my marriage apart. But I still yearned for both in the one relationship, and I was willing to entertain the possibility that the issue was mine, and that it was fixable. We were raising two children, I knew my partner loved me (in both ways), and I knew from experience that life compatibility required constant effort to sustain over time.

    After examining my past relationships, I recognised that the problem was with protective boundaries and limitations I had formed around sexual attraction since childhood. Recognising and dismantling these boundaries was scary and required not only facing some dark, painful truths, but also sharing them with someone who thought they knew me already. It was, and continues to be, well worth the effort.

    So I would say that romantic/pragmatic love definitely seems more trouble than most people are willing to face these days. This is partly because we have a long way to travel from our experience of individuality, independence and profound disconnect with the universe, and partly because we can experience one side without the other and in it fail to see the deeper love that each experience of sexual attraction or life compatibility is leading us towards.

    But the sum is definitely greater than its parts, and being open to experiencing that deeper sense of interconnection is worth more than any effort you can put in, more than any fear you have to face or any experience of pain, loss or humiliation - in my experience, anyway.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.2k
    After examining my past relationships, I recognised that the problem was with protective boundaries and limitations I had formed around sexual attraction since childhood. Recognising and dismantling these boundaries was scary and required not only facing some dark, painful truths, but also sharing them with someone who thought they knew me already. It was, and continues to be, well worth the effort.

    So I would say that romantic/pragmatic love definitely seems more trouble than most people are willing to face these days. This is partly because we have a long way to travel from our experience of individuality, independence and profound disconnect with the universe, and partly because we can experience one side without the other and in it fail to see the deeper love that each experience of sexual attraction or life compatibility is leading us towards.

    But the sum is definitely greater than its parts, and being open to experiencing that deeper sense of interconnection is worth more than any effort you can put in, more than any fear you have to face or any experience of pain, loss or humiliation - in my experience, anyway.
    Possibility

    Yes all well and good. Your answer regarding your personal experience with this type of love and its leading you to greater awareness of interconnectedness is fine for what it is. So it looks like we can agree that romantic/pragmatic love is a type of love that exists, and that (for the most part) an important element for most people to achieve a type of interconnectedness with at least one person that shares interests and burdens, and also physical affection. Okay, we got that far. So my 1) claim: pragmatic/romantic forms of love are a real form of social connectedness we can establish as more-or-less true. Now, how about the problems I identified with 2 and 3? I see how you sort of addressed it by mentioning our problem with being too individualistic and less open to experiences with others, but the effect is still the same. That is mainly: 2) People are qualitatively worse off who don't experience pragmatic/romantic forms of love or don't experience them for long sustainable durations of time. From these 2 things I also conclude 3) pragmatic/romantic love is a major form of suffering for those who don't experience it or who experience it and lose it or have a bad time with it leaving the person worse off. Thus, like many things in life, pragmatic/romantic love is actually a deficit for many people.

    Thus, this kind of basic need for romantic/pragmatic love in the human adult, is problematic in its absence in billions of people and/or its negative effects in creating worse off situations with the drama and loss that occurs in bad relationships and breakups. Thus, it is a stochastic phenomenon which was my initial claim- and only really experienced by a smaller subset then is usually touted. This is not denying that this subset has to "work" at it, or saying that love is always a cakewalk for these "successful" types (actually making my claim stronger that even the "best" of love circumstances aren't that qualitatively or quantitatively great much of the time) but just to say that there is a subset who experience romantic/pragmatic love in more quantitative ways (longer duration of relationships or more frequent loving relationships) and in more qualitatively ways (these relationships bring positive effects in both lives and make the lives more richer or better in some way to the lovers involved). But only this subset has these experiences which are not had in any major quantitative or qualitative way by billions of other people who have a deficit of this kind of love or who have negative experiences from bad relationships and breakups.
  • Possibility
    412

    Okay, here’s where you and I appear to differ:
    I don’t believe that pragmatic/romantic love is a ‘stochastic phenomenon’ - that’s not to say that I think it’s easy to predict, but that it’s possible to increase your chances of experiencing it by developing a greater awareness of interdependence and an openness towards interactions with others that risk experiences of pain, loss and humility.

    I think we spend so much of our energies these days trying to protect ourselves from experiences of pain, loss and humility when we should be welcoming them as evidence that we are living. They are the fundamental condition of every living being. The more we believe that we should avoid these experiences or that we are entitled to a life without them, the more we ‘suffer’ or inflict suffering, and the less we truly live or experience a ‘quality of life’.

    One could also say that owning your own home or travelling the world are similar experiences that bring positive effects in people’s lives and make life richer or better in some way to those few who achieve this. That we can buy these experiences and even tailor them to our needs disguises the fact that, like pragmatic/romantic love, their real qualitative value lies in how we are able to connect with the universe on a deeper level. These experiences, too, can be “a major form of suffering for those who don’t experience it or who experience it and lose it or have a bad time with it leaving the person worse off”.

    I think the main contributor to this ‘suffering’ or feeling ‘worse off’ is the unrealistic expectation that this ‘magical’ experience will somehow be free from associated experiences of pain, loss or humility, or will be some kind of antidote to counteract these ‘negative’ experiences.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.2k
    I think the main contributor to this ‘suffering’ or feeling ‘worse off’ is the unrealistic expectation that this ‘magical’ experience will somehow be free from associated experiences of pain, loss or humility, or will be some kind of antidote to counteract these ‘negative’ experiences.Possibility

    But do you see that you are not really countering my argument but strengthening it here? Overall, love is a bitch, if you will. Not only is love not obtained by billions of people, but this time around, you mention that it is associated with pain, loss, and humility. This is very Nietzschean of you. Strength through pain. No pain, no gain. I'm an antinatalist for the most part. That is to say, I don't see the need to procreate more people into the world who will suffer. I don't see the need for people to pump their fist in the air and try to defy the gods by suffering through life experiences as if life is one's own work of art that one embraces through the catharsis of one's own suffering. Rather, I see no need to make anyone suffer through life in the first place.

    But anyways, I still think it is a telling thing about life that this seemingly basic need of the human- to at least connect with one human in a meaningful way, is so difficult in the first place. It is precisely this elusive nature of this basic need that I am examining here, and that you are also inadvertently explaining (even if you think you are actually differing with my view in some way). I actually agree with much of what you say, but the implications are perhaps different- where I am going with it regarding what it means for life itself, that is.

    Also, just to add, I see romantic/pragmatic love as more basic than traveling the world or other cultural forms of entertainment. I see it as more fundamental in our psyche (on a species/animal level) as a social animal that craves deep connection with at least one other person in ways that are different than other loves that might be obtained in life (philial, agape, etc.).
  • Terrapin Station
    11.6k
    I often like to focus on asides, so that's what this is, but it struck me as very odd re this:

    I see it as a shared goal that you and your partner are constantly striving to work towards.Gord

    That you'd see goals and striving as having nothing to do with emotions.
  • Possibility
    412

    But do you see that you are not really countering my argument but strengthening it here? Overall, love is a bitch, if you will.... I don't see the need for people to pump their fist in the air and try to defy the gods by suffering through life experiences as if life is one's own work of art that one embraces through the catharsis of one's own suffering. Rather, I see no need to make anyone suffer through life in the first place.schopenhauer1

    I never claimed to counter your argument as such. I recognise that we’re approaching this concept of romantic/pragmatic love from very different perspectives, although we’ve discovered that we agree on many things. We can either turn this into a political debate and achieve nothing, or I can attempt to see it from your perspective, and perhaps we may both get something useful out of the discussion. I refer to the term ‘romantic/pragmatic love’ not because I recognise it as ‘a type of love that exists’, but because you do, and I think I understand what you mean by it. We won’t get very far if I reject your terms and you reject mine, and I’ve been enjoying the discussion so far...

    Overall (and if you’re going to look at it this way), I would say that life is a bitch. But, okay, we’re in it now, so what are we going to do about it? Stop living? We may recognise that ‘life is pain’ (‘The Princess Bride’) and it’s also loss and humility among other experiences, but when did we decide that these experiences are so terrible?

    Pain, after all, is simply awareness that energy/effort/attention is required to adjust to change. Loss or lack is awareness that everything is a process and nothing lasts - that we are dissipative structures who must continually assimilate from the universe and let go of elements of ourselves in order to perpetuate our existence. And humility is awareness that in isolation we are fragile creatures, utterly dependent on our relationships with the universe in order to have any power in it at all.

    None of this is so terrible in itself - it is what it is. It’s only ‘suffering’ when we refuse to accept it, when we misunderstand or are led to believe that life should exist without pain, loss or humility. Or that life shouldn’t exist because of the pain, loss and humility that inevitably comes with it. We’ve been led to believe that some things should last forever, that who or what we are essentially shouldn’t change, and that we should strive to be the most independent, most powerful and most loved.

    Whenever we deny that pain, loss and humility are a necessary part of life, we perceive the experience as ‘suffering’. And we hide from it. This is what we’ve done with our self-awareness - we have run for cover. And we’ve wasted almost the entire history of humanity so far ‘suffering’ from fear and misunderstanding, striving to avoid pain, loss and humiliation by pushing it onto others - which contributes to more ‘suffering’, and so the vicious cycle continues to escalate and radiate outwards.

    We were led to believe that life can be perfect if we do it right and that romantic ‘love’ is some amazing cure-all that makes life all sunshine and rainbows til death do us part, but that’s actually a load of crap. This appears to be where you are now in your awareness. And it probably feels like ‘suffering’ occurs everywhere you look. Why would anyone choose this? What good can possibly come from it?

    I think the problem is we’ve inherited a worldview that is built on misinformation. It tells us that ‘suffering’ IS pain, loss and humiliation, and that it shouldn’t happen - it’s bad, wrong, unfair or evil. Everything we do, then, is geared towards eliminating this evil from the world (prioritising our own experiences, of course). And some of us eventually recognise the futility of this task. Because what we have come to see as ‘evil’ (pain, loss and humiliation) is in fact the very process of life.

    So does that mean life itself is the ‘evil’ we need to eradicate? Or does it mean that there’s something wrong with our concept of ‘evil’ - that we should be doing something other than trying to eliminate pain, loss and humility from the world?

    I don’t think it’s a matter of finding purpose in ‘suffering’, either. I think we should still be trying to reduce ‘suffering’ - just not by trying to eradicate pain, loss and humiliation. I think it’s a matter of recognising ‘suffering’ as an internal, misinformed response to pain, loss or humility - one that can only be eliminated from the inside. It’s a matter of reassessing how I respond to pain, loss and humility, and how or why that response then contributes to or reduces experiences of pain, loss and humility around me, and so on.

    I can’t eliminate your experience of ‘suffering’, but I could pity you, perpetuating the illusion that your experience makes you different to me because you suffer, whereas apparently I have a life without pain, loss or humility (at least by comparison), OR I can interact with you in a way that demonstrates how much I also recognise pain, loss and humility as fundamental to my own experience as a human being. This is compassion, literally translated as ‘suffering with’. And I think it’s the first step towards discovering what ‘love’ is, at its core.


    But anyways, I still think it is a telling thing about life that this seemingly basic need of the human- to at least connect with one human in a meaningful way, is so difficult in the first place. It is precisely this elusive nature of this basic need that I am examining here...schopenhauer1

    I think maybe what makes it so difficult is that most people don’t really understand what this ‘basic need’ is. It isn’t ‘romantic/pragmatic love’ that we need - that’s just how we’d prefer to have this need met as human beings. We prefer romantic/pragmatic love because it’s always been the easiest form of love to legitimise - I can accumulate proof that I am loved by a real person in a visible way, and this love promises to last. I have a ring on my finger, a signed legal document and witnesses to our solemn vows. I also have two children who can be genetically traced back to a physical ‘union’, and a real person to stand beside me as a physical comfort, support and witness to key moments in my life. Romantic/pragmatic love not only satisfies a deep, spiritual connection, but it also provides objective, material evidence of its existence - evidence that cannot be produced in such ‘lasting’ abundance by any other form of love.

    The more our modern lives are built around digital and wireless connection, the less we connect with people physically. It’s no wonder the elusiveness of romantic/pragmatic love is felt as a source of ‘suffering’. But I think it is more the physical, material proof of love that eludes us, and causes us to doubt its existence. Because as much as my love is legitimised for outside observers in all the physical evidence described above, it is only the subjective experience of deep, spiritual connection that constitutes love. Everything else is an imperfect and transient expression. If I lose my ring or the signed document, if death comes to these witnesses or to my children, if this person loses their life or their ability to witness or provide physical comfort or support in my life, then have I ‘lost’ that love? I would say no - but when these things do happen it can certainly feel like it, because we will have lost a key material proof of that love, even as the connection continues to exist.


    Also, just to add, I see romantic/pragmatic love as more basic than traveling the world or other cultural forms of entertainment. I see it as more fundamental in our psyche (on a species/animal level) as a social animal that craves deep connection with at least one other person in ways that are different than other loves that might be obtained in life (philial, agape, etc.).schopenhauer1

    To reduce travelling the world to ‘a cultural form of entertainment’ is to miss the value of the experience, but that’s another discussion.

    What you see as fundamental on a species/animal level in romantic/pragmatic love I see partly as the urge to procreate - and I realise that you don’t recognise it as such right now, but our physiological responses are nevertheless informed by the systematic assimilation from the universe and letting go of elements of ourselves in order to perpetuate our existence. For you, it may be more associated with forming relationships with the universe for the purpose of functionality. It feels so fundamental because it links basic physiological responses on the surface not only with this systematic awareness but with an even deeper connection at a sub-atomic level. I often refer to this as a ‘spiritual’ connection, although I’m conscious of the connotations this term may bring. And this connection exists whether or not we’re aware of it. It informs all ‘other loves’ that might be experienced (not obtained), as well as our sense of wonder about the universe, our courage to experience more from life and our reverence for the overwhelming potential of our interactions with the universe.

    I believe that we’re connected to the entire universe in a deeper and more fundamental way than we may ever fully realise, but we’re often hampered from recognising this by fear and misinformation about pain, loss and humility - and about love.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.2k
    Pain, after all, is simply awareness that energy/effort/attention is required to adjust to change. Loss or lack is awareness that everything is a process and nothing lasts - that we are dissipative structures who must continually assimilate from the universe and let go of elements of ourselves in order to perpetuate our existence. And humility is awareness that in isolation we are fragile creatures, utterly dependent on our relationships with the universe in order to have any power in it at all.Possibility

    All reasons for my antinatalism. We shouldn't put more people in this situation. Just because we can recognize our situation and adjust sometimes to conditions, doesn't mean we should expose others to the situation in the first place.

    None of this is so terrible in itself - it is what it is. It’s only ‘suffering’ when we refuse to accept it, when we misunderstand or are led to believe that life should exist without pain, loss or humility. Or that life shouldn’t exist because of the pain, loss and humility that inevitably comes with it. We’ve been led to believe that some things should last forever, that who or what we are essentially shouldn’t change, and that we should strive to be the most independent, most powerful and most loved.Possibility

    This is just identifying with the tormentor. More of the same. You're not the only one. Society tries to get us to not be antinatlaists by sayings "it's not that bad..it's only your perception" thus perpetuating the conspiracy.

    Whenever we deny that pain, loss and humility are a necessary part of life, we perceive the experience as ‘suffering’. And we hide from it. This is what we’ve done with our self-awareness - we have run for cover. And we’ve wasted almost the entire history of humanity so far ‘suffering’ from fear and misunderstanding, striving to avoid pain, loss and humiliation by pushing it onto others - which contributes to more ‘suffering’, and so the vicious cycle continues to escalate and radiate outwards.Possibility

    We push it to others by procreating.

    So does that mean life itself is the ‘evil’ we need to eradicate? Or does it mean that there’s something wrong with our concept of ‘evil’ - that we should be doing something other than trying to eliminate pain, loss and humility from the world?Possibility

    More identifying with the tormentor.

    I can’t eliminate your experience of ‘suffering’, but I could pity you, perpetuating the illusion that your experience makes you different to me because you suffer, whereas apparently I have a life without pain, loss or humility (at least by comparison), OR I can interact with you in a way that demonstrates how much I also recognise pain, loss and humility as fundamental to my own experience as a human being. This is compassion, literally translated as ‘suffering with’. And I think it’s the first step towards discovering what ‘love’ is, at its core.Possibility

    That's fine.. doesn't negate the fact that some have stuff that others don't- that's just a fact, with or without compassion. I'm not saying to not be compassionate, it just doesn't negate the facts on the ground.

    I think maybe what makes it so difficult is that most people don’t really understand what this ‘basic need’ is. It isn’t ‘romantic/pragmatic love’ that we need - that’s just how we’d prefer to have this need met as human beings. We prefer romantic/pragmatic love because it’s always been the easiest form of love to legitimise - I can accumulate proof that I am loved by a real person in a visible way, and this love promises to last. I have a ring on my finger, a signed legal document and witnesses to our solemn vows. I also have two children who can be genetically traced back to a physical ‘union’, and a real person to stand beside me as a physical comfort, support and witness to key moments in my life. Romantic/pragmatic love not only satisfies a deep, spiritual connection, but it also provides objective, material evidence of its existence - evidence that cannot be produced in such ‘lasting’ abundance by any other form of love.Possibility

    I can agree with this framing.

    The more our modern lives are built around digital and wireless connection, the less we connect with people physically. It’s no wonder the elusiveness of romantic/pragmatic love is felt as a source of ‘suffering’. But I think it is more the physical, material proof of love that eludes us, and causes us to doubt its existence. Because as much as my love is legitimised for outside observers in all the physical evidence described above, it is only the subjective experience of deep, spiritual connection that constitutes love. Everything else is an imperfect and transient expression. If I lose my ring or the signed document, if death comes to these witnesses or to my children, if this person loses their life or their ability to witness or provide physical comfort or support in my life, then have I ‘lost’ that love? I would say no - but when these things do happen it can certainly feel like it, because we will have lost a key material proof of that love, even as the connection continues to exist.Possibility

    Sure, but it's the lack of connection that I am talking about. A connection between at least one other person.. It's not the trappings of love that you describe. Though I agree some may put weight on the outer manifestations and not the connection.. The facts on the ground are that some people have that connection with another person, and some don't.

    What you see as fundamental on a species/animal level in romantic/pragmatic love I see partly as the urge to procreate - and I realise that you don’t recognise it as such right now, but our physiological responses are nevertheless informed by the systematic assimilation from the universe and letting go of elements of ourselves in order to perpetuate our existence. For you, it may be more associated with forming relationships with the universe for the purpose of functionality. It feels so fundamental because it links basic physiological responses on the surface not only with this systematic awareness but with an even deeper connection at a sub-atomic level. I often refer to this as a ‘spiritual’ connection, although I’m conscious of the connotations this term may bring. And this connection exists whether or not we’re aware of it. It informs all ‘other loves’ that might be experienced (not obtained), as well as our sense of wonder about the universe, our courage to experience more from life and our reverence for the overwhelming potential of our interactions with the universe.

    I believe that we’re connected to the entire universe in a deeper and more fundamental way than we may ever fully realise, but we’re often hampered from recognising this by fear and misinformation about pain, loss and humility - and about love.
    Possibility

    Yes, certainly the urge to procreate is part of our species in terms of connecting with others, physical pleasure, and this leading to sex. Culturally, we bolster procreation by instilling the idea of pride in family and creating family bonds, etc. Of course, more people leads to more suffering, and the whole thing continues. As I said before, Society tries to get us to not be antinatlaists by sayings "it's not that bad..it's only your perception" thus perpetuating the more of the same.
  • Possibility
    412
    so are you saying that there’s nothing at all to be achieved by living?
    I wonder if ‘society’ really benefits from procreation - we seem so intent on promoting it, despite overpopulation. In my opinion, bolstering procreation and pride in family bonds are excuses for surrendering to evolutionary instincts...but that’s another discussion...

    Sure, but it's the lack of connection that I am talking about. A connection between at least one other person.. It's not the trappings of love that you describe. Though I agree some may put weight on the outer manifestations and not the connection.. The facts on the ground are that some people have that connection with another person, and some don't.schopenhauer1

    I’ve been there - I spent many years thinking that maybe I was just never going to have that deep connection with someone, despite yearning for it. It’s easy to be convinced in that situation that there are two kinds of people in the world, and I’m one of the ‘have nots’. But it wasn’t that I didn’t have that connection - it was that I didn’t recognise a connection when it was standing right in front of me. I had walls up that I didn’t even know were there - for a long time I was so sure that the problem either had to be with the world or with me, not realising that there was a third option: that it was the way I was interacting with the world.

    As I understand it, at any point in time it appears to you as if some people simply ‘have’ that kind of relationship with another person, and some don’t - this is your observation of ‘the facts on the ground’: an objective and consistent reality. I would hazard a guess that you also separate the world into people you have any kind of relationship with at any point in time, and people you don’t, and that each relationship is classified or valued in relation to others. This is not a criticism - it is how most people interact with the world - this is how the world makes sense.

    These relationships change, shift or come and go over time, but you’re not focused on the process of change, let alone any potential for change - only on the reality at any point in time. The change isn’t important - it’s the facts on the ground that matter. This way the world as you see it at any point in time makes sense - it’s solid and predictable...to a certain extent.

    When change happens, it often appears to happen suddenly and without warning - and it hurts. From your point of view, a relationship ends, but the pain or the loss continues to reverberate through your life, and the only way to eradicate the pain is to pretend the relationship was never there to begin with - to sever all connections with that particular relationship - or to somehow ‘manage’ the pain.

    I don’t expect you to fully understand the way I see the world - It probably sounds like I’ve been trying to ignore the ‘reality’ that you see so clearly. I would describe the difference in terms of particles and waves: you look at the world and see the particle, whereas I see the wave. I’ve learned that neither is more correct than the other, and that the trick is to recognise both/and.

    As far as I can see, the entire universe is already interconnected. When we interact with the universe, we develop awareness of this deeper existing connection through our ‘relationships’ - in our physical or emotional interaction with another person, for instance. The relationship is evidence of our awareness of this connection, but it is not the connection itself, anymore than electricity or heat is the energy itself.

    Relationships change (because all of life is a process), and with that awareness of change we experience pain, loss or humility. And even though the deeper connection itself remains unchanged, it is the relationship - the facts on the ground - that we tend to focus on. When a relationship changes dramatically, it feels like that deeper connection is lost, but we have only lost our awareness of it. We find it again by accepting the pain of change, the continual loss and lack of an open system and the humility of interdependence. And we find it by giving love instead of looking for it.

    Or, you could continue to do battle against life as if it’s the enemy, but to me that seems a waste...
  • schopenhauer1
    3.2k
    As far as I can see, the entire universe is already interconnected. When we interact with the universe, we develop awareness of this deeper existing connection through our ‘relationships’ - in our physical or emotional interaction with another person, for instance. The relationship is evidence of our awareness of this connection, but it is not the connection itself, anymore than electricity or heat is the energy itself.Possibility

    Well, yes we are having a "meta" conversation, because well, this is a philosophy forum and almost everything is discussed at the abstract "removed" level. That's just the nature of philosophy in general. So I can't help but talk about it in this sort of way given the forum we are in and the topics at hand. Anyways, I don't think relationship connections with other people (specifically romantic/pragmatic connections) can be compared analogously to other interactions. Just because it is a form of interaction, does not mean it gets generalized and loses its unique characteristics. No, rather romantic/pragmatic relationships have certain characteristics that stand out.. I mentioned earlier that loneliness is part of the human condition.. actually it is one step away from the barest of all human emotions (in my opinion anyways) which is boredom...That is to say, I see loneliness as a flavor of boredom manifested in a social species like our own, but I am aware that is arguable. Anyways, the point is loneliness is a real thing.. You can have friends- even good ones, and it still is not the same. I've said this one before. There is something deeply fulfilling with having a "mate" that you "go home to" and "share your day with" and "deal with life together" and "physically connect together with". That is just a type of relationship that has occurred since as far back as we know and happens in every society (though some polygamous I understand..still same principle). It is handled differently in different cultures, but the principle is the same. I am simply not going to let you get away with making this unique type of connection into a generalized idea of "connections" and use it as a type of therapy, and then say that the matter is dissolved or resolved.

    @Bitter Crank any thoughts? Do you get what I am trying to say in terms of @Possibility trying to generalize this kind of love to dissolve it away as a real problem- which is to say some people will be a part of these kind of relationships and some won't? That the lack of these experiences for billions of people in the world is a real thing?
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