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"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

What is Love?

I think that may be the burning question in so many minds. What is love? How do you recognize it? Can you love multiple people?
Wikipedia defines love:
Love has many meanings in English, from something that gives a little pleasure ("I loved that meal") to something one would die for (patriotism, pairbonding). It can describe an intense feeling of affection, an emotion or an emotional state. In ordinary use, it usually refers to interpersonal love. Probably due to its psychological relevance, love is one of the most common themes in art. The majority of modern movies have a love story and most pop music is about love.

There are many other definitions as well, but it still doesn't define love for me. I can proclaim that I love many people in my life. I know this for a fact, but the definition needs to be explored still. I have noticed that one of the things that indicates love for someone is the ability of that person to hurt you. Love = Pain.
Once again, Wikipedia provides me with a way to analyze this:
Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love
In the triangular theory of love, love is characterized by three elements: intimacy, passion and commitment. Each of these elements can be present in a relationship, producing the following combinations:

Combinations of intimacy, passion, and commitment

Liking or friendship

Intimacy

Infatuation or limerence

Passion

Empty love

Commitment

Romantic love

Intimacy

Passion

Companionate love

Intimacy

Commitment

Fatuous love

Passion

Commitment

Consummate love

Intimacy

Passion

Commitment


  1. Liking includes only one of the love components - intimacy. In this case, liking is not used in a trivial sense. Sternberg says that this intimate liking characterizes true friendships, in which a person feels a bondedness, a warmth, and a closeness with another but not intense passion or long-term commitment.

  2. Infatuated love consists solely of passion and is often what is felt as "love at first sight." But without the intimacy and the commitment components of love, infatuated love may disappear suddenly.

  3. Empty love consists of the commitment component without intimacy or passion. Sometimes, a stronger love deteriorates into empty love, in which the commitment remains, but the intimacy and passion have died. In cultures in which arranged marriages are common, relationships often begin as empty love.

  4. Romantic love is a combination of intimacy and passion. Romantic lovers are bonded emotionally (as in liking) and physically through passionate arousal.

  5. Companionate love consists of intimacy and commitment. This type of love is often found in marriages in which the passion has gone out of the relationship, but a deep affection and commitment remain.

  6. Fatuous love has the passion and the commitment components but not the intimacy component. This type of love can be exemplified by a whirlwind courtship and marriage in which a commitment is motivated largely by passion, without the stabilizing influence of intimacy.

  7. Consummate love is the only type of love that includes all three components--intimacy, passion and commitment. Consummate love is the most complete form of love, and it represents the ideal love relationship for which many people strive but which apparently few achieve. Sternberg cautions that maintaining a consummate love may be even harder than achieving it. He stresses the importance of translating the components of love into action. "Without expression," he warns, "even the greatest of loves can die" (1987, p.341).

So, now I know types... but how does this relate to me? That is a question for next time. My laundry is calling...

[Listening to: Sweetest Goodbye - Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane (04:31)]