Tuesday, July 26, 2011

30 Days of Detail - Definition of Love

People seem to think the definition of love is highly complicated.

I would disagree. My definition of love is quite simple:

I simply don't believe in it.

I know, I know, I'm too young to be so bitter and cynical and without hope.

Nope, not it.

I suppose I should clarify - I don't believe in the oogly googly, true love, marriage, spend your life full of passion for one person kind of love.

I think the Greeks had it right. They split the idea of love into 3 distinct pieces. Somewhere along the way, we decided to mesh them all into one thing, and I think THAT is where we went wrong. Because all "love" is not created equal. At all.

The first type of love is Eros. It is based on physical passion, intense desire, and lust. This I believe in, I just don't believe it can last. We've all felt that feeling. You know, the "I just have to have that". The problem, I think, is that many, many, many people believe that somehow this kind of love is enough to see you through 50 years of marriage, 3 kids, losing jobs, life crisis, and whatever else comes your way. Sorry, but I don't think so. Attraction is good, but it ends. I wouldn't base my life on that if I were you.

The second type of love is Philia. This is friendship, or brotherly, love. It encompasses fondness, appreciation, and loyalty. All good things. All important things. But again, not enough to sustain a lifelong commitment. I mean, I'm fond of Panera's Mozzarella Panini. I really, really appreciate it. And I'm loyal to it - I never get anything else when I go there. But that doesn't mean that I can eat nothing but Mozzarella Paninis for the rest of my life. I enjoy variety.

The third type of love is Agape. It's supposedly the perfect love that includes selflessness and self-sacrifice. It's loving someone without requiring anything of them or expecting them to love you back. This is a fabulous idea. It would be great if someone loved me completely and selflessly and without expecting anything back from me. But really, how many people do you know that could, and would, do that? I don't know any. The closest I've seen anyone come in between parents and children, but even then it could be argued there is definitely given and take, and plenty of failure. As far as a romantic relationship goes, I don't think this would even be plausible. I couldn't do it. I don't know anyone else who could either. People are naturally selfish. So therefore, by extension this wouldn't work. People love people expecting them to eventually return their affection. Otherwise, they give up. Or get committed to a mental institution or prison. Just sayin' - none of those sound like they work out.

So basically, what I'm saying is that I believe 2 people can be sexually attracted to one another, either for one night or for a while. People can care about their friends, be loyal to them, and care about their interests. For a little while, people can even love someone without getting anything in return.

But none of these add up to something I'd be willing to commit my entire life to. None of these convince me that there is a person in this world that I can't live without. None of them make me believe there is someone out there who can complete me and be my soul mate and whatever else the movies spew at us these days.

If you care about someone, great. If you want someone around on a daily basis, okay. If you feel like you can commit to that one person for the rest of your life, good for you. But lots of people make that commitment everyday, and over half of them break it. And even the ones that don't actually get divorced often end up having affairs, living in the spare bedroom, or being miserable for the "kids sake". Again, that doesn't interest me.

For love to really be love, it can't end. And it does, always. So therefore, it's not love.

I'm not saying I wouldn't love to be proven wrong. It would be amazing if I could say that I was wrong and that love, in all its beauty and passion and commitment and strength, really does exist. But I'm not holding my breath. And I'm okay with that. Because I have enough of the other things to keep me content.

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