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JosephM

Love? What is it?

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The questions for all Ages begs to be answered by people. What is Love?

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2 hours ago, JosephM said:

The questions for all Ages begs to be answered by people. What is Love?

An energy potential, evidenced by the willingness to incurr loss so that another party may benefit.

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17 hours ago, JosephM said:

The questions for all Ages begs to be answered by people. What is Love?

My initial reaction is … it is not what it seems. I was asked the other day where does it come from? Well love in its various forms does seem to be an emotion that has come to be because of the evolution of biochemical reactions and genetics and is triggered by the environment. This in turn results in various actions that might be considered loving.

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Posted (edited)

There are different types of love and I distinguish between love and Love with the latter referring to 'Christian' Love and/or the Love discussed and called for in other religions/philosophies.

So I understand that much love is an emotion, such as falling in love (romantic love). I also understand there is love of one's child, one's friends and one's family. What is called for and meant by (Christian) Love is compassionate concern for another. It is not mere emotion, it is not romantic, it is not the same as love of family or friends - although one would hope that when compassionate concern is needed, one shows and lives it toward family and friends.

Religious Love is a decision to act; it is "an act of will." And I allow, it can become our nature to act this way. If we, according to Christian belief, are to be the 'likeness' of God/Love, then our decision to be, to act in this way (Love) can eventually become 'natural' for us: it becomes and is 'our nature' - as it is God's. And here we have the paradox of being: when the many do and are what the One (God) is. There are (or can be) many in the One and in the very doing of Love, there is and always has been 'only' One.

 

Edited by thormas

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To me, Love is a non-judgmental acceptance of the other. It is not an emotion or particular action in itself  but rather an awareness of the connectiveness and interrelationship  of all things. It seems to me, any actions that take place in Love  flow from the expression of the that awareness and for the most part are unpredictable to the thinking mind in advance.

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15 hours ago, JosephM said:

To me, Love is a non-judgmental acceptance of the other. It is not an emotion or particular action in itself  but rather an awareness of the connectiveness and interrelationship  of all things. It seems to me, any actions that take place in Love  flow from the expression of the that awareness and for the most part are unpredictable to the thinking mind in advance.

I like what you said but what do you mean or how do you envision this part: "any actions........... for the most part are unpredictable to the thinking mind in advance"?

If Love is 'an awareness' how can any action that flows from that awareness not be predictable to one's mind? Is it because it has become natural or almost 'instinctual"?

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23 hours ago, JosephM said:

To me, Love is a non-judgmental acceptance of the other. It is not an emotion or particular action in itself  but rather an awareness of the connectiveness and interrelationship  of all things.

OK I get this acceptance thingy … for me it an understanding, but that is OK. For example I might "accept" a behaviour [I don't like] in someone else, but I generally have a superficial understanding of that behaviour (and if I am lucky my aversion to that behaviour).

On 5/26/2019 at 7:00 PM, JosephM said:

It seems to me, any actions that take place in Love  flow from the expression of the that awareness and for the most part are unpredictable to the thinking mind in advance.

I am not sure I understand this?

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9 hours ago, thormas said:

I like what you said but what do you mean or how do you envision this part: "any actions........... for the most part are unpredictable to the thinking mind in advance"?

If Love is 'an awareness' how can any action that flows from that awareness not be predictable to one's mind? Is it because it has become natural or almost 'instinctual"?

It seems to me that we do not know the action to be taken in advance and any action in itself cannot be construed in itself as Love. Therefore it is in a sense unpredictable (the action) in advance of the awareness that initiated its flow. Perhaps one could say it is more "instinctual" than thought out but that would not be my assessment as it is not a fixed pattern as instinct implies. In my experience, one time Love may call for a particular action and in another seemingly similar situation inaction or a different action.

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43 minutes ago, romansh said:

OK I get this acceptance thingy … for me it an understanding, but that is OK. For example I might "accept" a behaviour [I don't like] in someone else, but I generally have a superficial understanding of that behaviour (and if I am lucky my aversion to that behaviour).

I am not sure I understand this?

I guess i am trying to say that Love is accompanied by unconditional acceptance of the 'other'. 

Love is not the action itself but rather the  action or inaction is a product of Love that flows from that acceptance and awareness of the connection. In similar words,  Love to me is not a thought process nor is it the action taken  itself. Therefor, It is unpredictable to the mind. That is the best i can do at present in words.

I understand, this is not the way most would define Love but this is what i have come to see  as Love.

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9 hours ago, JosephM said:

I guess i am trying to say that Love is accompanied by unconditional acceptance of the 'other'. 

Love is not the action itself but rather the  action or inaction is a product of Love that flows from that acceptance and awareness of the connection. In similar words,  Love to me is not a thought process nor is it the action taken  itself. Therefor, It is unpredictable to the mind. That is the best i can do at present in words.

I understand, this is not the way most would define Love but this is what i have come to see  as Love.

Unconditional acceptance is not always a part of love, nor is the existence of an other.

The word 'love'applies to many different semantic domains.  Koine Greek famously uses three words, and that was before moden idea of romantic love.

I suggest you specify the purpose of your definition, and that we start contrasting different uses of the word.  Rom thinks love is an elicited emotional state, you seem to see it as a cognitive inclusion.  I prefer a functional definition.  

Love is a vague and slippery word.

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9 hours ago, JosephM said:

It seems to me that we do not know the action to be taken in advance and any action in itself cannot be construed in itself as Love. Therefore it is in a sense unpredictable (the action) in advance of the awareness that initiated its flow. Perhaps one could say it is more "instinctual" than thought out but that would not be my assessment as it is not a fixed pattern as instinct implies. In my experience, one time Love may call for a particular action and in another seemingly similar situation inaction or a different action.

I hadn't thought this specifically about it before but there seems to be a oneness (for me) to the awareness and the action. Without action, the awareness wouldn't have an impact on the world or people. Love is both presented and revealed in action. 

I agree with your comment on instinctual but meant it more as 'natural.' For the man/woman who has 'awareness' it becomes 'natural' to act, to love.

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3 hours ago, thormas said:

I hadn't thought this specifically about it before but there seems to be a oneness (for me) to the awareness and the action. Without action, the awareness wouldn't have an impact on the world or people. Love is both presented and revealed in action. 

I agree with your comment on instinctual but meant it more as 'natural.' For the man/woman who has 'awareness' it becomes 'natural' to act, to love.

Kinda my point as love being evidenced by the willingness to sacrifice to benefit the object.  Includes interpersonal love, love of art, pets, celebrities, love of music etc.  

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

Kinda my point as love being evidenced by the willingness to sacrifice to benefit the object.  Includes interpersonal love, love of art, pets, celebrities, love of music etc.  

But is person ever an object?

Do you distinguish among they 'types' of love? I'll have to check above.

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3 minutes ago, thormas said:

But is person ever an object?

Do you distinguish among they 'types' of love? I'll have to check above.

Of course.  Subject might be a slightly better term.  Probably a better question to ask Rom, who has a completely different definition.

The OP is very broad, but I think my definition holds in all applications of the word 'love' which is a requirement.  The willingness to sacrifice successfully excludes neighboring terms like affection, dependence, attraction, hunger, lust, affiliation etc.

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9 hours ago, Burl said:

The OP is very broad, but I think my definition holds in all applications of the word 'love' which is a requirement.  The willingness to sacrifice successfully excludes neighboring terms like affection, dependence, attraction, hunger, lust, affiliation etc.

I'll have to think on whether or not one's definition of love has to hold and is a requirement in all applications. Although there are similarities, it seems that, for example, romantic love is different in kind that 'Christian Love.'

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I think love is simply the word we use to try and describe several different types of emotion.

Traditional Greek actually utilised 7 different words to try and describe the different types of love:

Storage: natural affection
Philia: friendship
Eros: sexual and erotica
Agape: unconditional, divine love
Ludus: flirting
Pragma: committed, married love
Philautia: self love

Other uses for the word love have developed along with culture and we now consider 'love at first sight' to be a 'type' of love and Thormas mentions above 'Christian Love', but I think both of these, and others, are just the words we use to describe the different emotions/desires we experience.

The experience itself of love, of any of the above definitions, sits alongside all of the other emotions we experience such as anger, hate, jealousy, etc.  The emotions themselves are generated by cultural exposure and chemical reactions.  Obviously I don't see anything mystical in love or any of these other emotions so to speak.

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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think love is simply the word we use to try and describe several different types of emotion.

Traditional Greek actually utilised 7 different words to try and describe the different types of love: Agape: unconditional, divine love

.....but I think both of these, and others, are just the words we use to describe the different emotions/desires we experience.

The experience itself of love, of any of the above definitions, sits alongside all of the other emotions we experience such as anger, hate, jealousy, etc.  The emotions themselves are generated by cultural exposure and chemical reactions.  Obviously I don't see anything mystical in love or any of these other emotions so to speak.

Seems the Greeks were pretty comprehensive on love. The 'other uses' still fall under the 7 listed: love at first sight is eros and Christian Love is agape. 

As previously mentioned, agape is more an act of will that an emotion we experience. It is not mere chemical reactions - some don't buy this explanation. But we have been down that road before.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, thormas said:

As previously mentioned, agape is more an act of will that an emotion we experience. It is not mere chemical reactions - some don't buy this explanation. But we have been down that road before.

Where is the evidence that it is not "chemical reactions"? Just stating it is not is not an argument.  It is an opinion.

Can one be a Christian without being agape? Can one be agape without having the other six forms of love?

Edited by romansh

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32 minutes ago, romansh said:

Where is the evidence that it is not "chemical reactions"? Just stating it is not is not an argument.  It is an opinion.

Can one be a Christian without being agape? Can one be agape without having the other six forms of love?

Exactly, it is opinion either way.

Well a child, brought up as a Christian, might be said to still be leaning the Way and is, to some degree, without agape. Then again, even as a child, there are varying degrees of agape among children. One would assume that even adults are still learning, still struggling with always choosing/being agape. However, one probably cannot be in Christ (i.e. Christian) unless one continually tries to be the likeness of God/Love (agape). 

I have no idea if there can be agape without at least some of the other 6 but without them, for most of us, it seems it would be an undesirable life.

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22 minutes ago, romansh said:

Where is the evidence that it is not "chemical reactions"? Just stating it is not is not an argument.  It is an opinion.

 

The burden of proof is yours, Rom.  You provided no evidence for your opinion that love is a chemical reaction, or that it is elicited by external stimuli.

There is a kernel of truth there, but you are far from a definition or an argument.     

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4 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think love is simply the word we use to try and describe several different types of emotion.

Traditional Greek actually utilised 7 different words to try and describe the different types of love:

Storage: natural affection
Philia: friendship
Eros: sexual and erotica
Agape: unconditional, divine love
Ludus: flirting
Pragma: committed, married love
Philautia: self love

Other uses for the word love have developed along with culture and we now consider 'love at first sight' to be a 'type' of love and Thormas mentions above 'Christian Love', but I think both of these, and others, are just the words we use to describe the different emotions/desires we experience.

The experience itself of love, of any of the above definitions, sits alongside all of the other emotions we experience such as anger, hate, jealousy, etc.  The emotions themselves are generated by cultural exposure and chemical reactions.  Obviously I don't see anything mystical in love or any of these other emotions so to speak.

I cannot agree that love is an emotion or drive state, nor an elicited reaction.  Love, of all subtypes, endures far beyond mere emotional responses (often for lifetimes as an integral part of personality) and is not satiated as are drive states.  Objectively, the key that all types of love hold in common seems to be a willingness to suffer personal loss.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  (John 15:13)

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2 hours ago, Burl said:

.... the key that all types of love hold in common seems to be a willingness to suffer personal loss.

Yet, that is neither the motivation or the grace bestowed by love on another. Love, perhaps in all its forms or types, is 'for the other.'

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42 minutes ago, thormas said:

Yet, that is neither the motivation or the grace bestowed by love on another. Love, perhaps in all its forms or types, is 'for the other.'

I'll read that as a tentative agreement.  The beauty of the OP is in the simple "Love: What is it?"  Nothing about motivations, bestowals or subtypes.  Any answer should be "Love is ___________." or the respondent is obfuscating.

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11 hours ago, thormas said:

Seems the Greeks were pretty comprehensive on love. The 'other uses' still fall under the 7 listed: love at first sight is eros and Christian Love is agape. 

As previously mentioned, agape is more an act of will that an emotion we experience. It is not mere chemical reactions - some don't buy this explanation. But we have been down that road before.

 

Greek comprehensiveness for emotions isn't restricted to love.  Anger for instance has several words also for it's different types, as it does in English.

I don't see Christian Love as Agape - i.e. unconditional.  That may be an elusive goal, but I certainly don't see it as a regular practice.  I'm sure even you would acknowledge that your Christian Love does have some boundaries and if there are any boundaries at all, then it is not unconditional, not agape.

When people say 'mere' chemical reactions, I don't think there is anything 'mere' actually about that.  In fact, I think it is pretty amazing that the human species has evolved to this degree.  With evolution our concept and understanding and use for love has also evolved.  Because our love seems to be different to that displayed by 'lower' creatures we see ourselves as holding some sort of 'superior' love, but in reality, what they are, we once were, we have simply evolved further along (at this point).

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8 hours ago, Burl said:

I cannot agree that love is an emotion or drive state, nor an elicited reaction.  Love, of all subtypes, endures far beyond mere emotional responses (often for lifetimes as an integral part of personality) and is not satiated as are drive states.  Objectively, the key that all types of love hold in common seems to be a willingness to suffer personal loss.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  (John 15:13)

Endurance of love is simply a prolonging of the emotional response.  Sometimes that response changes through time (a marriage couple may experience a deepening of their love whilst another couple may experience a lessening of their love for one another, all based on their experiences and chemical reactions throughout the period).  Love can certainly be satiated at points in time, including eros where sexual desire immediately diminishes following sex, but is often soon restored.

I think your quote from John points to precisely how love can be satiated or can diminish over time.  I may be prepared to lay down my life for you today, but I might not be prepared to do so in 10 years time based on our experiences between now and then.  

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