The Word Love and How We View it
Love is a term that is present in everyday conversation. The name is usually associated with romantic love, a passionate relationship between two people with a significant influence on their interpersonal and sexual relationships.
However, the term also applies to other different relationships, such as spiritual love or family love, and also, in a broader sense, it speaks of love towards God, nature, humanity as a whole (which is usually associated with empathy), and others.
In most cases, it means a great affection for something that causes pleasure or happiness to those who perform the action of love. In this post, we will review what love and its different interpretations.
1. The definition of love
Love is considered as a set of behaviors and attitudes, unconditional and selfless, that manifest between beings capable of developing emotional intelligence or emotionality.
Love is not only limited to the human race but also to all those beings that can develop emotional ties with others, for example, dolphins, dogs, horses, etc.
Philosophically, one usually thinks that love is the only feeling that does not have a feeling of polarity, as is the case with other feelings (for example, peace – war ).
Popularly it is usually contrasted, avoided, or counteracted with hatred, contempt, or selfishness. In religious culture, love is usually mentioned and supported by its God, as is the case of Islam, Judaism, and even Christianity, since in the Bible a definition of love is presented, according to its culture of the time:
“Love is suffered, it is benign; love is not envious, love is not boastful, it does not puff up; it does not do anything wrong, it does not seek its own, it does not get irritated, it does not hold grudges; it does not enjoy injustice, but he enjoys the truth. He suffers everything, he believes everything, he expects everything, he endures everything “. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
There is currently another stream of thought about what love is. According to some studies conducted by American neurologists and scientists, “love is not registered as a feeling as hate or joy does if not as a necessity, that is, it is presented very similarly in the brain as hunger does. Then returning to the old definition that love is a human need like any other, even more important.
2. Human love
In the human being, love is a real feeling. In the most common cases, it is the result of emotion based on the attraction and admiration of one subject towards another, which may or may not be reciprocated.
This intensifies the interpersonal relationships between a subject and another who, starting from his own insufficiency, wants the encounter and union with the one who has judged his complement for his existence.
On the other hand, love can be the result of hard work, effort, and expertise, to build and develop a goal, feeling true fullness and happiness to see what has been desired and worked for so long.
This type of love is what a father feels towards a son when he sees him already grown up and able to face life with full maturity, imitating the father in those things that he has transmitted through practical wisdom.
In this case, love is directed towards the principles that have based the work and guided the effort. It is the corroboration that the beliefs for which one has fought have had their reward: The expected has been obtained.
On the other hand, there are extreme polarizations of the mind, manifesting an excessive love without thinking about the limits of oneself, and may even endanger their existence or even that of the other person because they are experiencing a polarized state of obsession.
In this case, he who loves, desires, and longs for the good and happiness of the loved one, does it above all things. Giving without receiving in return, to sacrifice and put the needs of the loved one above those of oneself, without one considering it as a sacrifice but as an opportunity to lavish the feeling; It is usually considered a prelude to emotional imbalance, because the person who is the object of our obsession does not have to respond as we had premeditated his response, not to thank our effort and demand even more.
While some confuse this extreme polarization with “true” or “healthy” love and demand the same behavior from the other person, being able to manifest extreme frustration and as a way out of such violent frustration.
For the obvious results in the news daily, we observe an increasing tendency to violence gender, which today psychologists point to this pathology obsession polarized as the primary trigger of these conflicts.
For Erich Fromm, love is an art and, as such, a voluntary action that is undertaken and learned, not a passion that is imposed against the will of the one who lives it.
Love is, thus, decision, choice, and attitude. Love is an organic state of mind that grows or decreases depending on how that feeling is fed back in the relationship of those who make up the love core.
The feedback depends on factors such as the behavior of the beloved, his involuntary attributes or particular needs of the person who loves (unconscious sexual desire, need for companionship, desire for social ascent, constant aspiration of completeness, etc.).
3. Types of love
On the other hand, in man’s relationships with his environment, love can mean one or more of one of the following manifestations of love, all of them related to a greater or lesser degree. For example:
Filial love: between parents and children (by extension between ancestors and descendants).
Fraternal love: in its strict sense it is the affection between brothers although it extends to other relatives except for parents and adults, fraternal love is born from a deep feeling of gratitude and recognition to the family, for emotions that point to coexistence, collaboration and the identification of each subject within a kinship structure, as well as filial love, the fraternal is sublimated since it is founded on the interdiction of incest.
Brotherly love for friends: born of man’s need to socialize.
Romantic love: born in the expectation that a close human being will fill one with existential satisfaction and happiness. This feeling idealizes to some degree the person who is the object of this expectation, defined in the psyche.
Sexual love (desire)
Love of neighbor: born from the use of the faculty of the mind to empathize and tolerate.
Love of animals: born in the need to feel protective of animals.
Love towards something abstract or inanimate: an idea, a goal, to the country (patriotism) or to the place of birth, to honor and independence(integrity).
Love of principles: it depends on the application of a norm or rule that is “loved.” For example, love at the beginning of helping the weak, the norm of yes / no doing with others what we do/don’t want them to do to us, and so on.
Love towards a god or a deity (devotion): It is usually born in education received since childhood. He considers God as the source of all love and is based on Faith. In most cases, it is considered that after death God would reward in some way the people that the corresponding religion considers virtuous.
Universal Love: that which all people can feel for the natural environment and that the great mystics experience as Nirvana.
What seems to unite all these types of love is the conscious or unconscious desire towards someone or something or the realization of their goals. Some languages, such as ancient Greek, distinguish between different senses of love better than Spanish. For example, in ancient Greek, there are the words filia, eros , agape, and storge, which means love between friends, romantic or sexual love, unconditional love, and affective or family love respectively, or in Latin, cupiditas corresponding to the Greek eros (sexual desire ) and Caritas as corresponding to the Greekagape (empathy, altruism).
However, both in Greek and in many other languages, historically it has been very difficult to separate the meanings of these words completely, so it is possible to find the word agape (unconditional love) being used with the same meaning as eros (sexual love or Romantic). However, some vulgar terminologies in Spanish such as filito , originated from “filia”, generate hierarchies of seriousness or duration of the couple.
4. Perspectives on love
4.1 Biological perspective: The concept of love is not a technical notion in biology but a concept of ordinary language that is polysemic (has many meanings), so it is difficult to explain it in biological terms. However, from the point of view of biology, what is sometimes called love seems to be a means for the survival of individuals and the species. If survival is the most important biological purpose, it is logical that the human species gives love a very high and transcendent meaning (which contributes to survival).
However, in most animal species there seem to be expressions of what is called “love” that are not directly related to survival. Sexual relations with individuals of the same gender (equivalent to homosexuality in humans) and sexual relations for pleasure, for example, they are not exclusive to the human species; altruistic behaviors are observed from individuals of one species to those of other species (the millenary relationships between human beings and dogs are an example).
Some biologists try to explain these behaviors in terms of cooperation for survival or exceptional behaviors that are not significant. Since the 1990s psychiatrists, anthropologists and biologists (such as Donatella Marazziti or Helen Fisher) have found important correlations between hormone levels such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin
and love states (sexual attraction, crush, and stable love).
4.2 Psychological perspective:
After the research carried out on love, Robert J. Sternberg proposed 3 components:
Intimacy understood as those feelings within a relationship that promote rapprochement, bonding, and connection.
Passion, as a state of intense desire for union with the other, as an expression of desires and needs.
The decision or commitment, the decision to love another person and the commitment to maintain that love.
These three components can be related to each other forming different forms of love: intimacy + passion, passion + commitment, intimacy + commitment, etc.
On the other hand, analyzing the preeminence of one or the other of these different priorities that motivate love relationships, some authors such as John Lee propose a series of love archetypes.
4.3 Historical and cultural perspective:
Although love is founded on biological capacities and needs such as sexual pleasure and the instinct for reproduction, it also has a cultural history.
Sometimes his invention is attributed to some particular tradition (the Sufis, the troubadours, (Christianity, the romantic movement, etc.), but the archaeological remains of all civilizations confirm the existence of affection for family members, the couple, the children, the countrymen, among others, for which the interpretations that postulate that love, in general, is a specific cultural construction do not seem founded.
From a cultural point of view, sexual love has historically manifested towards people of the opposite sex as towards those of the same sex.
For the Greeks and during the Renaissance, beauty ideals were embodied in particular by women and by male adolescents. In some languages, the word “love” does not exist.
5. Mythological review about love
5.1 The androgynous myth: In Greek mythology, there were three sexes: the masculine was initially descended from the sun; the feminine, of the earth; and what participated in both, of the moon. And precisely, like the moon, they were circular themselves and their way forward.
They were, therefore, terrible for their strength and vigor and had great arrogance, to the point that they attacked the gods. Then Zeus and the other gods deliberated and faced a dilemma, since they could neither kill them nor make their race disappear, glaring at them like the giants – because then the honors and sacrifices that men paid them would disappear – nor allow That they remain arrogant.
After much thought, Zeus finally had an idea and said: “It seems to me that I have a ploy to continue having men and stop being insolent, by becoming weaker. Right now, in effect,” he continued, “I will cut them in two to each one, and thus they will be at the same time weaker and more useful for us, having increased their number.
So, once the nature of this being was cut in two, each part missed its half, and met with her, they surrounded themselves with their arms, hugged each other, longing to be one by nature.
For so long, then, love for one another is innate in men and binder of ancient nature, and try to make only one individual of two. Thus, when they stumble upon that true half of themselves, they feel a wonderful impact of friendship, affinity, and love, so that they are not willing to separate.
6. The crush
Falling in love is an emotional state furrowed by the joy and satisfaction of finding another person who is able to understand and share as many things as life brings. From the biochemical point it is a process that begins in the cerebral cortex, passes into the endocrine system and is transformed into physiological responses.
6.1 Elements of falling in love
Attraction: by meeting someone and feeling attracted, a series of chemical and psychological changes take place in our body. A series of seduction mechanisms then arise, among which body language plays a fundamental role. How we dress, stand, look and talk to the person we are interested in reveals that we feel something special for her. We conjugate our animal instinct, unconscious, with the strategic capacity, which all human beings have.
Chemistry: psychologists point out that love, at least in its early stages, is primarily supplied with chemistry. A substance in our brain called phenylethylamine forces the secretion of dopamine or norepinephrine, which by its effects resemble ” amphetamines “, which produce a state of natural euphoria when we are with our partner.
Genetics: Like the rest of animals, humans carry in our genes the instinct of “procreation”, although individuals belonging to homo sapiens and many other species are sexually related to show their love or to satisfy their sexual impulse, no necessarily to procreate.
Scientists reveal that brain chemicals trigger in the early stages of love, generating attraction and the desire to be together.
6.2 Theories of falling in love
Couple image: they affirm that our psychic apparatus has saved the image of the couple we are looking for and that it awakens as an alarm when we encounter the person who fits with these features.
Correspondence: we look for a person of similar physical, social, cultural, intellectual, etc … with our own imaginary family …
Mirror: we fall in love with who we long to be or what the other has, that is, they serve as a mirror and that is why we fall in love.
Perpetuate the species: some biologists defend it by stating that we are looking for the right partner to perpetuate the species and this is done after an “instinct” evaluation and we are looking for the best person with whom our genes mix in the best way.
This hypothesis takes into account the animal reality of the human person, which, although only the body part, is real.
Trust: It is when two people, usually friends, have a lot of confidence and are very close, this love usually lasts a long time.
Studies state that human beings are biologically programmed to feel passionate between 18 and 30 months.
6.4 Difference between falling in love and love
Love really begins when the crush ends. In love, defects are seen and accepted, and attempts are made to help the other person overcome them. True love is based on reality and has a longer and more stable projection than falling in love.
6.5 Symptoms of falling in love
In the most sensitive to the loved one react with sweating, rapid pulse, the pressure increases pressure, laughter, tachycardia.
Idealization of the person.
Admiration of the person
Attribution of positive qualities avoiding criticism.
Disorder attention : life becomes magical.
Obsession of reuniting with this person.
Time acquires a different rhythm depending on whether you are with the loved one or not.
Pleasing the loved one becomes the greatest illusion.
In life everything is important, but love is not the most important thing. The most important thing is to live and let live.
If the most explicit definition of love is desired, it should not be framed only in a loving context, but should be seen in all its forms, from the most rudimentary to the most explicit.
Do not confuse falling in love with love, love really begins at the end of the stage of falling in love.