Monday, May 01, 2006

On "love"

Several people have asked me if I would report my thoughts on "love" given how controversial this is. Unfortunately, I cannot locate the last post I wrote on the subject (for an internet forum on Valentine's Day) so here is a brief précis of my views.

The term "love" is frankly overused in society. Sometimes it gets used in ways that seem excessive such as "I love Cadbury's Cream Eggs", perhaps reflecting the language's lack of a single word verb that means "really really like/enjoy". It also gets used a lot to describe states of affairs such as friendships and familial ties where another word would suffice. Again, the English language lets us down. (Translations of the Bible have often been plagued by some words in the original text sharing an English word or the opposite.) There is also the use of the term by some branches of science to refer to what is more accurately lust.

But to use love in its strictest sense, a synergistic connection, on examination it looks like a complete illusion. The idea that two souls can be bound together is fundamentally against the basic concept of the soul's freedom. Moreover, the evidence that people who say they are "in love" actually are, as opposed to thinking that they are, is very absent.

Over the years, many have tried to "prove" that love exists to me. But their arguments have usually fallen into the same areas:

*"I love [some random name, whom I might add they are almost always no longer "loving"] and they love me" - which is just an expression of something they think. I have known many people swear blind that what they are thinking and feeling is fact (I remember one time when a person swore blind they were a famous author!), yet to detached eyes it is clear that they are not.
*"What you feel for your family" - which is basically mutual support and duty.
*"It happens to us all, one day you're going to feel it" - some meaningless jargon which is easy to disprove (one need only look at the large number of relatives of mine who lived long lives completely and fortunately devoid of relationships).
*"The Bible says it" - but this comes down to translation and the words available.

I am also not sold that relationships are A Good Thing either - almost every single relationship I have seen up close has been a very strong argument for wanting to avoid them completely. When I think of the pain, misery, despair, violence and attempted suicides I cannot but feel that I never want to be in such a state of affairs. Quite a few have promised that they can show "good" relationships but with one exception (who I do not think are even aware of my views, at least until they have read this) I have yet to see one. One solitary exception is insufficient to convince me.

A few others have sent me their thoughts on what they think "love" is. One wrote "love for anything is being excited when you wake up in the morning and being able to laugh or cry about it" which seems to be stretching the concept so broadly that it does not really mean anything. Another offered a poem:

Love is light
Love is bright
Love is like a candle with an infinite life
Love is hurtful
Love brings delight
Love is mutual
Love is strong
Love is an invisible connection between two human beings
Love lasts forever even when our time has come.
It again seems to be referring to the "force of love" but does not in anyway prove anything beyond that people think it is there.

Maybe I am wrong - those who have known me for some time know that I have changed my mind on some pretty major stuff in the past when presented with new evidence and circumstances. However, on this to date no one has really offered anything substantial.

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