Love – We Might Disagree
Love – We Might Disagree
This article was written by Chus Álvarez. To join the conversation and see other questions, check out our Aristotle’s Café Facebook Page.
So second week in a row, and love is still in the air, no doubt due to Valentine’s Day:
It is important to have a lover or a spouse in your life? Why?
Twelve people joined the discussion this week, and I bet that none of us regret it.
People start sharing how a spouse or a lover can give you support, how it allows you to share, how good it feels to be loved by one special person.
My mind is wandering, and trying to break the walls of my own beliefs; the support, the sharing, the joy of love, shouldn’t be confined to a romantic relationship.
Love is something that we nurture with many people, that we learn from many people, and we only do learn to love, by practicing as much as possible, i.e. giving love.
Nobody thinks they are incomplete without a partner, and it secretly fills me with joy.
It is just from our self-care and happiness that we can start caring for others.
Love, Everyone has an Opinion
Nevertheless, there is a consensus within us that having a lover or spouse makes us happier.
Here somebody notes that lover and partner could be two different people…
…and I agree!
I think that expecting only one person to fulfill all our expectations is unrealistic and drives us to disappointment.
Also, it is a heavy burden for the other person, the one who has to meet each and every one of our expectations.
Let’s Define Love
So how do we define love… What are the requirements for a relationship to fit in the definition?
Some would say that there are personal rules when it comes to love, but are they actually personal?
How can you create your own rules to love, when society is there leaving breadcrumbs for you to follow in order to reach the dream of what is commonly understood as true love?
Can a young woman love an old man? Does have polyandry or polygamy a place within love? Can we keep loving our ex? Do we have to marry?
Either we like it or not, love is also a social construction, and our understanding of love is highly influenced by the movies we see, the way our society is organised, and the expectations others are putting on us.
Would you agree with this?
Well, during the discussion, we try to break down the notion of love.
Someone came up with the idea that it could be something that includes two different components:
companionship and intimacy.
In general we like companionship. As social animals, we enjoy being with others, and we certainly enjoy that these others keep us company.
And at the same time, not everyone is that happy with intimacy.
Personal space is actually a very personal matter.
So, in order for us to talk about love, should those two things be integrated? or can either of the concepts, by its own, be also called love?
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”
– George Sand
Looking outside for answers
In our search for answers we try to look closer to other animals on Earth, do they love?
Here we get to know how Bonobos engage in sex in order for everyone to calm down when temperature rise, or how some penguins engage in just one and lasting relationship, and how Great Hornbills take care of their chicks until they are grown enough to survive on their own.
Animals in general, including mammals, including human beings, have some set of rules to guide them in surviving.
We must not only find food, but shelter too. Needless to say that along with these lines, we are also thinking about reproduction.
Our own survival instinct is driving us to find the best way to organise in order to satisfy our basic needs.
So, is that love?
If we look back in history we could see how women and men organised themselves to get food, to secure a shelter, and to reproduce and take care of the progeny.
But what happens when the scenario we live in changes, and the roles we used to have are not useful anymore?
What happens when we may not need a partner anymore to satisfy our basic needs, are we still willing to love?
Does love mean for human beings something else than survival?
You Might Disagree
Some more questions arise after that, related to the way animals love and how do they do that, do animals feel jealousy?
Let me insist here the fact that human beings ARE animals too.
Anyway, if we are still not able of answering what we are capable of in love, how can we try to find out what other animals can or cannot do?
Our persistence in positioning ourselves away from animals leads us to another question; If animals are also capable to love, what makes our way of loving different from theirs?
It seems that we don’t have an answer for this question either.
Some could say that more developed animals are capable of more developed ways of loving.
Than animals with smaller brains could have less developed set of feelings that those with bigger ones.
But then again, is love something else than just a way to organise the community, just a kind of social arrangement for survival?
If so, as our world grows more complicated, the ways we keep it working together are also increasingly complicated.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu
We are certainly going home with much more questions on the issue discussed, which makes us happy; it means that our brains are working.
Breaking the whole concept into little pieces, allows us to better understand what we do expect from a spouse or partner, and how or whether having one could make us happier.
There is no unique definition of love, some would say it is something you just feel, while others argue that, in order to feel, you have to nourish it first.
We may agree though, that love should be personal, and no one should appoint herself/himself to judge whether different alternatives when talking about lovers, partners or spouses do or do not deserve to be count as love.