What is Love?


Matus1976

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I was surprised to see Michael write about that, but then even at 63, I’m still naïve about such things.

Ivan,

That's old news in listland. Let me make a parentheses to this love thread and plug some of my writing:

Letter to Madalena ... An Homage to the Value of Valuing

This is where I made my former addiction public and paid a debt to a wonderful person in my life. It was originally written on the old SoloHQ. Then I followed with a technical essay on addiction:

Understanding Addiction -- One Objectivist's View

I find it unfortunate that Objectivism has so little literature on this problem. Public discussions on Objectivist forums are usually full of conflicts with some really nasty often people chiming in to mock addicts. So if a person is an Objectivist and an addict, he really has very little available in the Objectivist philosophy or culture to help him understand and treat his problem. His only out is a religious organization or an organized recovery program like the 12 step ones (which are essentially religious). There are a few non-religious ones, but they are few and far between.

On OL there is a section called Addiction. Over time, I hope to write a lot more. At least for now, in this section there is something. That already is a lot more than I had during my recovery and, looking back, I dearly wish some of that stuff had been available.

Back to love.

Michael

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Michael D., this post is a typographical suggestion not a substantive comment. I haven't yet managed to read your post. One reason I haven't (in addition to general time pressure) is because of its appearance on the computer screen. Many of your paragraphs are long; some of them are so long, they fill my whole screen in the vertical dimension. It's overwhelming to the eyes. I think that when posting articles in a webforum, breaking the paragraphs into shorter chunks is user-friendlier.

Just a suggestion.

Ellen

___

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Michael

You need not say any more. I'm very impressed and respectful of those that can kick a bad habit. As I said, I'm very naïve about such things. I grew up in a middle class neighborhood in the suburbs of Detroit in the 50s. My sister, who was 12 years younger, had some experience with drugs, but I did not. I did not even hear about “Reefer Madness” until much later when I was an engineer with a young family far removed from any temptation.

I was surprised to see Michael write about that, but then even at 63, I’m still naïve about such things.

Ivan,

That's old news in listland. Let me make a parentheses to this love thread and plug some of my writing:

Back to love.

Michael

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Mike:

~ I will check out that thread Addiction you referred to. Clearly I missed it (else I'd've commented therein by now :) )

~ The subject is broader than 'drugs' as you no doubt are aware of. I'm afraid it may be too broad for one thread without sub-divisions, but, let ya know when I get there.

~ In the meantime, apart from (sorry I brought that question up!) 'addiction' as well as s-e-x, any one got any other ideas re answering this thread's question:

>>>-- WHAT IS LOVE? (which, to my mind means: When *you* say the word 'love', just what are you referring to?) --<<<

LLAP

J:D

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~ "Love" is a need. But...a 'need' for what?

~ One can have 'needs' that one isn't even aware of. "Love" is something one is aware of, re a 'need.'

~ I'd say that "Love" is a need for the continued existence of its object (be it a person or non-person.) Further, if it's a person, one may, or may not 'need' the 'love' felt to be, as the saying goes, returned (ie: be 'mutual'.) IN THAT CASE, a) If not returned, the love dies; thence it may turn to hatred/resentment (can one say O.J...or Pygmalion in a bad mood?), in which case the 'love' no longer needs the existence of the other. Otherwise, it atrophies away, or gets 'reboundedly' replaced. B) If returned...well, that's 'happily ever after', right? While it lasts. Sometimes it does, no argument; but, we all know that most of the time it doesn't: someone 'changes', in character, or perception of the other's character. Thence "Bye, Bye, Love; Bye, Bye, Hap-pi-ness..." as the song goes.

LLAP

J:D

Obviously I disagree that "Love is need"

From my essay - "To the people that express your deepest values. Love is the emotional price we pay for having values. The great thing about that kind of love, the kind of love that is based on respect and admiration, is that it is not required that it be requited. And if you think about it, should any ideal form of love require that to sustain it? If sex is the physical expression of love, then love can be sustained without it, even when your respective values drive you apart, the love is not diminished because that respect and admiration for the person remains. It does not require physical expression as sustenance, although that is an incredibly great addition"

I have loved someone for some time with no physical expression of our affection for one another. If your love requires physical expression as sustenance, I would argue that it is an unhealthy one.

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Obviously I disagree that "Love is the emotional price we pay for having values."

I can't imagine thinking of love as something I would pay for. Love is balance. A balance between emotion and reason. Between desire and yearning, yada, yada, yada.

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Obviously I disagree that "Love is the emotional price we pay for having values."

I can't imagine thinking of love as something I would pay for. Love is balance. A balance between emotion and reason. Between desire and yearning, yada, yada, yada.

I think you mis interpret what is meant by this statement. You don't 'pay' anything in any sense you are talking about, but as a consequence of having values you must feel sorrow at losing them and joy at gaining them, consider the Buddhist path to 'nirvana' (being free from desires) is a path which absolves ones self of values. Sorrow is the price you pay for having a value and losing it. If you have no values you feel no sorrow. Recognizing values and having an instrinsic appreciation for them will necessarily lead you to liking someone who embraces those values, and loving someone who embraces them wholly. In that sense, Love is the 'price' (as in internal consequence) you 'pay' for having values at all and seeing them manifested in another person.

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~ I'm definitely having a prob in understanding a view of "Love" as being a 'price' or 'cost', in and of itself.

If all one's concerned about is if and when one loses it (rather, one loses the 'love-from-another'), then fear-of-loss-of-the-other (implying that requited/mutual 'love' exists therein) is what's meant here; if not, such is applicable to many things one is intensely attracted to, ie: "Loves."

~ Re sex being regarded as necessarily-associated to "Love", I would say it's 'unhealthy' ONLY for supposedly 'mature' peoples; for immature ones...it's totally expectable. Unfortunately to discuss THIS angle practically requires that we discuss 'average' ages, which I have an anathema about. (Ntl, if one wishes, please start off with the idea of Romeo and Juliet :devil: )

LLAP

J:D

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Just thought I'd weigh in here quickly. John, since when is age an excuse? For that matter, since when is immaturity an excuse? If you're immature, then you should take it upon yourself to be more mature. If you don't then it's your fault. I only recently chose to make sure that my first sexual experience was a meaningful one. This is not because of Christian dogma I've been fed my whole life, this is because it makes sense to me. Meanwhile the rest of the people my age are just trying to get laid.

Then again maybe I missed your point. You might be saying that emotionless sex can't hurt someone who is immature because they don't know any better. In this case I think you're wrong because it would hurt them once they figure it out.

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I think you mis interpret what is meant by this statement. You don't 'pay' anything in any sense you are talking about, but as a consequence of having values you must feel sorrow at losing them and joy at gaining them, consider the Buddhist path to 'nirvana' (being free from desires) is a path which absolves ones self of values. Sorrow is the price you pay for having a value and losing it. If you have no values you feel no sorrow. Recognizing values and having an instrinsic appreciation for them will necessarily lead you to liking someone who embraces those values, and loving someone who embraces them wholly. In that sense, Love is the 'price' (as in internal consequence) you 'pay' for having values at all and seeing them manifested in another person.

Matus

I think you are correct that I'm missing something and I'm smiling now. It is so easy for things like this to happen on the web. Please read your second sentance again and then remember who said "Love is the price you pay" On one hand I think that both of us are very limited in our ability to write something that transmits our real feelings. On the other I think about "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." So let's face the fact that we can write about love all we want but we will not be called The Bard.

Hell, we ain't even as good as Eric Segal. :console:

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Matus

I think you are correct that I'm missing something and I'm smiling now. It is so easy for things like this to happen on the web. Please read your second sentance again and then remember who said "Love is the price you pay" On one hand I think that both of us are very limited in our ability to write something that transmits our real feelings. On the other I think about "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." So let's face the fact that we can write about love all we want but we will not be called The Bard.

Hell, we ain't even as good as Eric Segal. :console:

Ivan thanks for your comments. I just want to add that nothing I said in this essay contradicts "better to have loved and lsot than never to have loved at all" one of the paragraphs was specifically on the fact that when love is based on proper and healthy things, your feelings do not depend on the feelings being requited (or even if your love has passed on) As long as they are that person you admired and cherished and their characther did not fundamentally change they always remains omeone you admire and cherish. It's a hell of a lot nicer when it is requited, thats for sure, but no healthy relationship should be dependant upon the other person returning the same feelings.

I also want to say that what I am talking about in this essay are not 'manifestations' of love, in many forums and groups I posted it people would respond with things like "love is the little things that make you smile" etc etc The purpose of this essay was to examination of the nature of the emotional response that is love. Regardless of your values or the ways you prefer love to be expressed, love is still (again, in a healthy brain) a physiological response to the recognition of your deepest values. That is the nature of the emotion, just as happiness is the response to seeing your values furthered and sadness to seeing them lost, love is (ideally) the response to your highest values seen in another person. We can all have different values and thus love becomes based on different things for us, if you value unhealthy things then you will love unhealthily and probably be in an unhealthy relationship. These euphemisms about love do not negate the point of the essay, they are just examples of the multiple ways love is manifested and expressed, but the nature and core of the emotion remains a response to your deepest values.

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~ Ya know, I think that Donna Summer answered this question in her only noted (but, REALLY noted!) song back in the '70's. --- BOY, did she give one, long, hot, 'disco' answer!

LLAP

J:D

Please tell us if you are talking about "Love to Love Me Baby" or "She Works Hard for the Money"

I liked DS and enjoyed the Disco thing, but I don't see much connection to Love there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ivan:

~ Her 1st popular one, of course, in '75: Love To Love You Baby; especially the l-o-n-g 20-min version. -- Aside: that Georgio Moroder, one of my faves re composers, was directly involved there, I was surprised to find out. Didn't know it 'till re-checking on Wiki.

~ Actually, I forgot about her later I Feel Love. This is almost as...'orgasmic'...in her disco-style as above. Re her much later She Works Hard For The Money, no; too interpretable as a paean for a street-walker.

LLAP

J:D

P.S: You say you don't see its relevence to the thread. I meant it as an on-the-'light'-side-response (after my earlier 'serious' ones) re a musical expression of a bona-fide passionate 'need' of an other. It was blatantly intended as sexually-oriented, but, not necessarily interpretable as only so; 'orgasmic' is not necessarily meant as only physical, is my point here.

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