Love Defined


By: Ryan Pettigrew

            “Love” is one of the most over used words in modern society and that has watered down the meaning to such an extent that it’s meaningless. It has become interchangeable with “like” in many cases, or at best, the next step up. But do we really want to put the affection we have for an object or strangers at the same level as how we use to describe our affection for family and lovers? How disrespectful is that? All that really says is that one doesn’t understand love and it means nothing when that word falls out of his/her mouth. Even dictionaries have fallen into this bad habit, defining it as affection, lust or sexual intercourse. What’s needed is an in depth breakdown of love so that our words matter.

Despite what society has pushed down our throats throughout the decades, anyone who truly says they love everyone equally is either a liar or someone who loves no one. Love is a valuation at its core, meaning that you value something or someone way above the value you give to other things or people. The human mind automatically compares things to assess value in relation to what’s being compared, where love is the highest rating on the valuation scale: hate, dislike, indifferent, like, love.

Once we find something or someone that we value so much that we love it, we are in essence, setting it or him/her apart from things or people we don’t love, but it doesn’t stop there. We also have emotional and mental responses to something that we love that are actually part of the love equation. The emotional response is intense emotion but must not be mistaken for anything sexual in nature. Love can increase sexual pleasure but to have sex doesn’t require love unless you choose to reserve sex for only someone you love. However, the two aren’t interchangeable in any situation or else the act of loving would automatically mean that sexual intercourse is involved and that’s not the case unless one is into bestiality, incest AND objectum sexuality since love can be applied towards family, pets and objects.

The mental component to the act of loving is the extent of which we choose to give ourselves to someone or something we to love. Intense loyalty is required for love as that is someone or something we value to such a high extent that we would do almost anything for it or him/her. You would not give the same amount of loyalty to strangers that you would to your kids or spouse, would you? Not unless you were completely immoral and irrational. And this difference in loyalty goes hand in hand with the valuation and emotional aspects of love, as “love” is a combination of the three components.

It’s said that love of self is a prerequisite of the ability to love but after analyzing this in depth; I have come to the conclusion that isn’t being said correctly. One can love someone or something even with low self-esteem BUT such a love will be applied in a manner that will result in an unhealthy relationship due to insecurities and psychological issues. A self-loather brings little value to the relationship as he/she doesn’t even value him/herself, and since attitude is contagious, the negative mentality will bring down the one they claim to love. Thus, love of self is required for healthy relationships but not the act of loving itself.

Simplification of an issue is vital when bringing the concept to others, so “love” simplified, is the highest valuation we are able to give that results in deep affection and absolute loyalty. All three components are required for the term “love” to be properly applied and this trio walks alone. To add them to another concept only means that one is applying love to the concept rather than them being synonymous. The good news is that now that you truly understand love, you are worthy to let it fall out of your mouth.

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Posted in Philosophy

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