The daily prompt prompted me to think about love, it’s kinds and it’s meaning to each one. For me, Love is an emotion in action. It is one of the most powerful emotions any being can experience. It is also one of the most sought after, used, abused, propagated, forbidden and admired things in the world. The strange thing is nobody can define love. And if there is one definition for love, like the one the Bard felt and I used in the title, does it really resonate with what one feels when they are in love? Let’s look at it from a few different points of view.
Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent. We talk about love being blind or unconditional, in the sense that we have no control over it. But then, that is not so surprising since love is basically chemistry. In true love, or attachment and bonding, the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin. However, from an evolutionary perspective, love can be viewed as a
survival tool – a mechanism we have evolved to promote long-term relationships, mutual defence and parental support of children and to promote feelings of safety and security.
Psychotherapy says that love has many guises. If people try to define love, the definitions differ on various degrees. For some love is the emotion experienced when they have feelings towards the opposite sex. Which, I guess is the most common, most used and abused type of love in the world. Also, a large part of the greeting-card companies and wedding industry relies on this type of love for their daily bread. Let’s digress.
For some others, love is what they feel for their children, parents, siblings, pets or friends. The ancient Greeks have 7 different words to define the various kinds of love experienced by people.
Storge: natural affection, the love you share with your family.
Philia: the love that you have for friends.
Eros: sexual and erotic desire kind of love (positive or negative)
Agape: this is the unconditional love, or divine love
Ludus: this is playful love, like childish love or flirting.
Pragma: long standing love. The love in a married couple.
Philautia: the love of the self (negative or positive)
And all of the above make up the word Love. So does this mean that every kind of love is the same? If we sit down and come up with one definition of love will it be applicable to each kind? I love pastries. I really do love pastries. But I love my husband, too. I also love my mom. I love my friends and siblings. Does this mean that there is some common trait in all these ‘loves’? Then what about my love for my pet, who is not amongst us anymore?? Does love return to zero once your object of
affection ceases to exist?
Well, for me, the answer is that no two kinds of love are the same. Rather it is most unfortunate to categorise love into all the different types. It is like categorizing honey into different types of tastes based on who actually tastes it. Which is ridiculous. Honey will taste the same no matter who tastes it – Sweet! I don’t think that categorizing love into all the different types is appropriate. Since I think that love is not the same for everyone. I think each one experiences a different kind of love when they do experience it. One’s emotional intensity, level of excitement, happiness quotient may not be the same as the other. Love is not quantifiable. And there is no limit in how much love you can feel or experience.
In conclusion, I think love is a way of life. Love is a practice that you either feel to take it up or not. It is not something that you can find or not find. You can practise love for however long you feel the need. You may not express that love after some time even if you feel it inside yourself. There may not be any common trait in all the kinds of love. But one fact starkly remains – that there is love inside everybody. Everyone has the ability to feel, express and practice love. And this is irrespective of anatomy, biology, physiology, psychotherapy, philosophy, geography or any other science.
Just as, a rose by any other will still smell the same, love in any language will still evoke the strongest feelings and emotions….of love.
Catalan L’ amor
Javanese Kulo tresno