Saturday, February 6, 2016

What Is Love?

As Valentine's Day approaches lots of people are talking about love.

I've mentioned in the past that one of my college Psychology professors gave us this definition of love: "When the happiness and well-being of another is essential to one's own happiness and well-being a state of love exists."

In some respects that is correct. Physical attraction or social status are often mistaken for love in our culture and there's a lot more to it than that.

But the more I think about the professor's definition the more I notice the big flaw in it.

If a certain boss is unhappy or unwell he might be unpleasant to the employees or even fire them, so his happiness and well-being is essential to theirs, but they probably don't love him.

And just think of all the kids who kiss in with bullies and act like their friends just for self protection.

Or abusive spouses and parents who hurt others deliberately if they aren't given what makes them happy. Do their victims really love them?

Obviously real love involves caring about the person's welfare, but it also includes some sort of pleasure in the company and/or communication with the other person.

It means wanting their happiness and well-being for their benefit, not just for our own.

How would you define love?

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