The Magic of Love.
Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection ("I love my mother"
) to pleasure ("I loved that meal")
. It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment. It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection, the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one's self or animals.
Ancient Greeks identified four forms of love: kinship or familiarity (in Greek, storge), friendship (philia), sexual and/or romantic desire (eros), and self-emptying or divine love (agape). Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of romantic love. Non-Western traditions have also distinguished variants or symbioses of these states. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.
Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts.
Love may be understood as a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.
Although the nature or essence of love is a subject of frequent debate, different aspects of the word can be clarified by determining what isn't love (antonyms of "love"). Love as a general expression of positive sentiment (a stronger form of like) is commonly contrasted with hate (or neutral apathy); as a less sexual and more emotionally intimate form of romantic attachment, love is commonly contrasted with lust; and as an interpersonal relationship with romantic overtones, love is sometimes contrasted with friendship, although the word love is often applied to close friendships. (Further possible ambiguities come with usages "girlfriend", "boyfriend", "just good friends").
Abstractly discussed love usually refers to an experience one person feels for another. Love often involves caring for or identifying with a person or thing ( vulnerability and care theory of love), including oneself (narcissism). In addition to cross-cultural differences in understanding love, ideas about love have also changed greatly over time. Some historians date modern conceptions of romantic love to courtly Europe during or after the Middle Ages, although the prior existence of romantic attachments is attested by ancient love poetry.
The complex and abstract nature of love often reduces discourse of love to a thought-terminating cliché. Several common proverbs regard love, from Virgil's "Love conquers all" to The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love". St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, defines love as "to will the good of another." describes love as a condition of "absolute value," as opposed to relative value. Philosopher Gottfried Leibniz said that love is "to be delighted by the happiness of another." Biologist Jeremy Griffith defines love as "unconditional selflessness".
Love is sometimes referred to as an "international language" that overrides cultural and linguistic divisions.Impersonal Love
A person can be said to love an object, principle, or goal to which they are deeply committed and greatly value. For example, compassionate outreach and volunteer workers' "love" of their cause may sometimes be born not of interpersonal love but impersonal love, altruism, and strong spiritual or political convictions.People can also "love" material objects, animals, or activities if they invest themselves in bonding or otherwise identifying with those things. If sexual passion is also involved, then this feeling is called paraphilia.Interpersonal Love
Interpersonal love refers to love between human beings. It is a much more potent sentiment than a simple liking for another. Unrequited love refers to those feelings of love that are not reciprocated. Interpersonal love is most closely associated with interpersonal relationships. Such love might exist between family members, friends, and couples. There are also a number of psychological disorders related to love, such as erotomania.
Throughout history, philosophy and religion have done the most speculation on the phenomenon of love. In the 20th century, the science of psychology has written a great deal on the subject. In recent years, the sciences of psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, and biology have added to the understanding of the nature and function of love.Psychological basis
Psychology depicts love as a cognitive and social phenomenon. Psychologist Robert Sternberg formulated a triangular theory of love and argued that love has three different components: intimacy, commitment, and passion. Intimacy
is a form in which two people share confidences and various details of their personal lives, and is usually shown in friendships and romantic love affairs. Commitment
, on the other hand, is the expectation that the relationship is permanent. The last and most common form of love is sexual attraction and passion. Passionate love
is shown in infatuation as well as romantic love. All forms of love are viewed as varying combinations of these three components.Non-love
does not include any of these components. Liking
only includes intimacy. Infatuated love
only includes passion. Empty love
only includes commitment. Romantic love
includes both intimacy and passion. Companionate love
includes intimacy and commitment. Fatuous love
includes passion and commitment.
Lastly, consummate love
includes all three.
American psychologist Zick Rubin sought to define love by psychometrics in the 1970s. His work states that three factors constitute love: attachment, caring, and intimacy. .
Psychologist Erich Fromm maintained in his book The Art of Loving
that love is not merely a feeling but is also actions, and that in fact, the "feeling" of love is superficial in comparison to one's commitment to love via a series of loving actions over time. In this sense, Fromm held that love is ultimately not a feeling at all, but rather is a commitment to, and adherence to, loving actions towards another over a sustained duration. Fromm also described love as a conscious choice that in its early stages might originate as an involuntary feeling, but which then later no longer depends on those feelings, but rather depends only on conscious commitment.[/color]