The study of love is a relatively recent topic. It began with Freud’s assertion that love should be studied scientifically, and not merely be a subject for creative writing and artistic treatment. However, early explorations of love were fraught with controversy. One U.S. Senator, William Proxmire, blasted it as a waste of taxpayer dollars. Today, however, scientists are finding more evidence that demonstrates that love is an essential part of human nature.
In reality, love is a powerful experience that can change your life. During times of pain, it can bring about profound change. It is an experience that cannot be faked. Love is the state of being wholly present and not concerned with yourself or anything else. It encompasses a host of feelings, attitudes, and experiences. There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ relationship. To find it, you must experience it.
The Ancient Greeks defined love as ‘agape’, a selfless concern for the welfare of another. Unlike other forms of love, agape is universal. It never fails and is unconditioned. In fact, the Greeks described it as ‘divine love.’ The Greeks believed that love is the highest quality of human existence. As a result, love is a fundamental human need and therefore, is a fundamental feature of our beings.
Despite its widespread usage, love is a complicated concept. A dictionary definition cannot truly describe the concept. Those looking for a simple definition of love should be aware that the concept of love is constantly evolving and cannot be easily defined. It is a complex concept, and a true love cannot be defined in one definition. In fact, the concept of love encompasses many concepts, from tolerance to open-mindedness. Love is a universal emotion, encompassing many aspects of human life.
Research into romantic love has shown that people who are in love experience increased activation of brain regions related to reward. Interestingly, these regions are the same ones that are activated during drug use, such as cocaine. Despite these differences, the effects of intense love are similar to those of addictive substances. In other words, love is a universal human need that transcends culture and language. It’s a necessary human need. The question, however, remains – how does it work?
The bestowal view of love does have a kernel of truth, but it fails to account for the creative nature of love. Love is a response to value, not an antecedent. For this reason, accounts of love that approach evaluation through appraisal miss a fundamental feature of love. The most common way in which people justify their love is by appealing to the value of the object of their affection. This results in two interrelated concerns about the object of their love:
According to Velleman, love is a response to the person who is loved. Love involves valuing the particular person, and respecting the autonomy of the beloved. However, the expression of love is not a mere feeling, but rather a mental or emotional process. This means that the object of one’s love must be viewed as an individual, and the actions of the lover should be seen as an expression of this value. If these issues are not resolved, the relationship will remain strained or deteriorate, resulting in a more distorted view of love.