I've been thinking about love and relationships a lot these days. A close friend of mine has broken her spell of bad relationships, and has found a really good and decent guy who respects and loves her to death. I just found out a second friend of mine is engaged. Another friend of mine "has a boyfriend" after a long string of unsuccessful attempts. And after three tumultuous months I find myself getting closure and ready to turn the page on a long seven year chapter of my life. I've always been a hopeless romantic. From when I was a small child and The Princess Bride was my favorite movie, to when I left my first flower on a girl's bag in middle-school, to when I snuck into the window of a high-school girlfriend, to when I sent a singing telegram for a year anniversary in college. Love has scarred me, love has healed me, but above all love has fascinated me. It's something that is as ageless as man, yet as unknown as the heavens. Unfortunately they never taught the philosophy of love in my college, so I was never able to study it; but regardless I consider myself a life-ling student. So in the next few posts I think I'll wax philosophic on love and relationships, and everything else involved in such matters.
To begin with I will first break down the meanings of love. Clearly there are many ways we use the word love in our daily vernacular. Consider:
1. I love ice cream
2. I love to ski
3. I love the outdoors
4. I love my cat
5. I love my Dad
6. I love my friends
7. I love my girlfriend
There are two types of love being expressed here. One could say 1 through 3 is a different type of love than that expressed in 4 through 7. 1 expresses a strong liking, the thorough enjoyment of eating ice cream. 2 expresses the same thing, yet towards an activity. This type of joy or "love" comes not from the enjoyment of flavor, but the athletic endeavor of skiing. Whether this be for exercise, adrenaline, or relaxation can all vary depending on the "lover" of skiing. 3 also discusses a great enjoyment of something, but it is more associated with an abstract concept. While ice cream or skiing can be linked directly to a sensation(s), the feeling of being in nature cannot be simplified down to a single concrete object or activity. Similar statements could be made about freedom, my country, God, etc... These types of love I will refer to as "love as a value". For these types of love speak of an appreciation towards an object, activity, or abstract idea. While these topics are interesting to study, I am more interested in the type of love encapsulated in items 4-7, what I will call "love as a union".
"Love as a Union" clearly implies that the word 'love' acts as a bond between beings. While this seems simple enough, consider the vast difference between the relationships in 4-7. 4 discusses my pet, 5 speaks of my family, and 7 my lover. Were I to say these four statements to someone I could certainly mean four different types of love: familial, platonic, true, and emotional. Or could I? And if I could what are the differences between these? And what does it mean to be "in love?" Over the next few posts/discussions/inquiries I hope to address some of these questions and more. And while I know this geometric introduction makes no sense when what I am trying to discover in something tied in emotions, something that doesn't heed to the laws of logic. So I will stop that; my only point here being that what I want to discuss is "love as a union".
In closing let me quote my dear friend's post, one that makes much more sense of love than the above list, and will probably make more sense than my posts to come.
"Four letters? That's all we can muster? All we can muster for a thing that transcends and defies reason or convention, or contention; that both burrows deep and loftily soars; that weakens the strongest's will or may make the meek go brave; like an oasis and final drink for a man who has wandered in the desert, reunited at last with the thing he's been long denied. Love? It is a hasty word."