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Why love ?


nonmerci
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To be clear I am not only talking about romantic love, but love in general.
Why is love seen as this pure thing that makes us nice and kind, or humans ? Why did our ancestors look at love and say "hello you, you will be the feeling that I will elevate above all qualities and declare the most important thing in the world ?"

If you say that you are unable to love, people will look at you as some kind of monster, even if you are a nice person. Som will say that you need to be cured, or will pity you. Or they will insist that you are in fact able of love even if you are supposed to know your feelings better than they do. Or they will try to convince you that love is in good thing that exists, in the same way some people do with God.
Same way if you say that someone else's love hurt you, people will either say you have to forgive cause they meant no harm, either that it was not really love cause if they did they would not hurt you. As if love was immune from doing bad things.
In some people mind, love even have the power to turn negative into positive. Like the people who insists that sex is bad except if you do it with the person you love, which makes no sense at all.

I know of course that media have responsibility in that. We all watch these movies or read these books that explain to us that the difference between good and evil is love, or that love has some magical power that can defeat evil. Latest I saw was the School of Good and Evil, and Disenchanted, not mentioning all the Christmas movies I saw, and all the movies that use love or its absence to humanize or deshumanize characters. So yeah I know that the idea is so persistant because we are taught from a very young age that love makes us good and the absent of love makes us evil, that love will defeat all the bad thingss thrown in our way and justifies everything, and that we need to be happy... even if none of that is true.

But my question is more : why do we come to this point, where the idea is everywhere in media and irl, and that everybody believes it ? Why love was chosen for that and not, I don't know, respect, or empathy, or politeness ? Not saying you need these things to be a good person or that they should have been chosen instead (nothing should have been chosen at all), I'm just wondering what people see in love that they don't see in other things, to idealize it like that  ?

To sum it up : why love ?

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Great question…

When I ask my allo friends what being in love feels like, they give me a description that makes me think they have been doing some sort of drugs. They are quick to tell me that feeling does not last, but turns into something deeper (?) after a while.

So maybe love was chosen because to allo people this feeling of bliss is something they crave (like chocolate?) and seeing it or reading about it makes them remember that feeling.

Maybe that’s why, I don’t know.

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That's a good one... But I have no idea how to answer it, because I don't understand love.

I can however back you up on this. Why did they choose love? And why the society has just accepted it? I refuse to belive that in the past people who weren't capable of it didn't exist. I know that humans have this habbit of sorting, so something had to be choosen, but (just like you've said) why love? Is it because that's a strong feeling? But why assume that everyone feels it? We've already come to realization that we're all different and very complex, so analogously - there is no such feeling that literally everyone feels.

Edited by Keith
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9 hours ago, Nix said:

but turns into something deeper (?) after a while.

I love that question mark.

Nitpick: question wasn't about romantic love, but all kinds of love, including those that don't give you a drug-like high, like platonic love (except for those who feel squishes).

10 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Why is love seen as this pure thing that makes us nice and kind, or humans ? Why did our ancestors look at love and say "hello you, you will be the feeling that I will elevate above all qualities and declare the most important thing in the world ?"

I don't know how old the idea really is. "Ancestors" sounds like paleolithic to me. 🙂

Love is a big thing in Christianity. But other cultures valued honor, wisdom, temperance and courage more.

Cynically, one could argue that love won because it is an extremely vague concept, and in one form or another comes easy to all but a few people.

Also everything horrible is subsumed under "hate" (though perhaps hate is sometimes good... 😄 ok, seriously maybe not against persons but against bad deeds). And "hate" is the antonym of "love".

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I going to be honest. Only someone who has never felt completely bereft of love, or felt the remaining presence of love left in their lives threatened, and has never struggled to love themselves, would ask that question. The early traumas of my life left me with these struggles to overcome. And having overcome them there is no doubt in my mind as to the importance of love in our existence.

Granted media and society in general present a packaged form of "love" that is meant to keep us fearful of losing or lacking love ourselves so we will continue buying product and turning up at the polls a/o church. This is indeed a false love. Real love is found only within, and must be given to yourself first before you can give it to or recieve it from anyone else.

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3 hours ago, The Gray Warlock said:

I going to be honest. Only someone who has never felt completely bereft of love, or felt the remaining presence of love left in their lives threatened, and has never struggled to love themselves, would ask that question. The early traumas of my life left me with these struggles to overcome. And having overcome them there is no doubt in my mind as to the importance of love in our existence.

Granted media and society in general present a packaged form of "love" that is meant to keep us fearful of losing or lacking love ourselves so we will continue buying product and turning up at the polls a/o church. This is indeed a false love. Real love is found only within, and must be given to yourself first before you can give it to or recieve it from anyone else.

I'm not saying that love is not important for most people (though not for everyone : loveless aro is a real label and I'm sure they were people who were not love, neither by others or by themselves... I, for instance, hated myself for a long time, almost commit suicide because of it and it was a long way to heal from that and stop hating myself... and yet it is not important for me to love myself even now that I am fine; I relate to the concept of liking myself a lot more... And generally speaking, if you may it is a bad idea to assume that people did not go through similar things than just because they disagreed with you about something, you never know).

That being said as I said I'm not saying that love is not saying that love is not important for most people and that people should not feel it or looked for itt if they want or need to.

My question is why it is so much valued compared to other things that can be sern as equally important, like care, empathy, respect... Some people will say that love will encompass all of those things but the thing is, these can exist without live and though they are not valued for themselves, or not as often.

And on the other hand, if people does something bad because of love, it is dismissing as being not real love, or as being necessarily deserving of forgiveness, even when it's not the case.

I'm just wondering why this is this way, that's it. Sorry if that offends you but genuinely don't get it.

 

Edit : to give an example as I get it is not very clear, I'm going to talk about Harry Potter. A lot of people consider that Snape is a good guy because he betrayed Voldemort for the love of Lily. But he never changed his view on muggles (or there is no evidence that he did). And let's say that instead of betraying Voldemort for love, he did it because he realized that he was wrong, that he and the death eaters were racist bastards, and that he needs to change and arrest Voldemort... Would the fandom glorified him as much ? I really don't think so and that's the part that bugs me. Why in such a situation the racist man in love would be glorified more than the not racist man who doesn't love.

Edited by nonmerci
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6 hours ago, nonmerci said:

I'm not saying that love is not important for most people (though not for everyone : loveless aro is a real label and I'm sure they were people who were not love, neither by others or by themselves... I, for instance, hated myself for a long time, almost commit suicide because of it and it was a long way to heal from that and stop hating myself... and yet it is not important for me to love myself even now that I am fine; I relate to the concept of liking myself a lot more... And generally speaking, if you may it is a bad idea to assume that people did not go through similar things than just because they disagreed with you about something, you never know).

That being said as I said I'm not saying that love is not saying that love is not important for most people and that people should not feel it or looked for itt if they want or need to.

My question is why it is so much valued compared to other things that can be sern as equally important, like care, empathy, respect... Some people will say that love will encompass all of those things but the thing is, these can exist without live and though they are not valued for themselves, or not as often.

And on the other hand, if people does something bad because of love, it is dismissing as being not real love, or as being necessarily deserving of forgiveness, even when it's not the case.

I'm just wondering why this is this way, that's it. Sorry if that offends you but genuinely don't get it.

 

Edit : to give an example as I get it is not very clear, I'm going to talk about Harry Potter. A lot of people consider that Snape is a good guy because he betrayed Voldemort for the love of Lily. But he never changed his view on muggles (or there is no evidence that he did). And let's say that instead of betraying Voldemort for love, he did it because he realized that he was wrong, that he and the death eaters were racist bastards, and that he needs to change and arrest Voldemort... Would the fandom glorified him as much ? I really don't think so and that's the part that bugs me. Why in such a situation the racist man in love would be glorified more than the not racist man who doesn't love.

You're right. I judged too rashly and jumped to a conclusion about you, as well as others in this thread. I apologize for that, and for what hurt my words might have caused. I will take better care in the future.

I stand by the points I made though. And I think there is an interesting discussion to be had. These things you speak of, caring, empathy etc. it is my opinion that these things come from love. Whether or not we realize it, even if it is only momentary. And it doesn't necessarily have to involve full on devotion as in a friendship. It can be a simple gesture of kindness to a stranger. Why can that not be a form of love? Surely there is a place of love that this welling of kindness must have come from. Perhaps not for the individual, but something more universal. What ancients called Agape. A type of love that is often neglected in discussions about types of love. That love we all had as infants, that didn't know discrimination or reserve. But which as we grew and were assailed and developed our little egos in defense of the world's wicked ways, we stowed away to protect that most vulnerable part of us. But we didn't lose it. No. It's still there, deep inside every one of us. But we don't understand that it is still there, so we feel loss for what never went away. So what do we do? Look for it outside ourselves in the form of validation from others. The problem with that is everyone else did exactly the same thing. So here we are a world of the blind leading the blind, oftentimes to disaster and ruin. And the pain of such occurrences causes our egos to double down on our self-defensive tactics, enwrapping further that little light already buried so far down. And those egos that are at once trying to recover that simple innocent love they once knew, while also trying to keep it away a/o under control out of fear of further hurt, clash with other egos doing the same thing, playing the same games, and trying to control one another. All while trying to live in a world that has been built by egos, for egos, trying to control other egos. All for the lack of something that was never truly lost. 

And so, in our desperate search we develop other concepts of love, love that comes from others, love that gives validation to our egos. Because the ego wants to pick and choose you see. But because these are constructs of our egos, that part of us that fears hurt to that part of us that is the house of the only true love there is, these are types of "love" that we can control. But the "love" that our society so glorifies is but a Golden Calf. It is ultimately only useful as a tool of manipulation and deceit. In the end, our trying to keep love under control, only keeps us under control. That real love, Agape, cannot be controlled, and does not need to control. And it does show itself, in genuine love and kindness we may give to each other. Even the romantic kind. 

I hope I have adequately answered your question. Have a nice day and a happy New Year.

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Thank you for such a deep and insightful response @The Gray Warlock. I have to admit, I completely misunderstood the question in the first post, as @DeltaAro pointed out. I thought we were talking about the pedestral romantic love is put on by the media and not love in general. I mean, @nonmerci wrote that in the very first sentence, so yay me for failing at comprehensive reading…

5 hours ago, The Gray Warlock said:

And so, in our desperate search we develop other concepts of love, love that comes from others, love that gives validation to our egos. Because the ego wants to pick and choose you see. But because these are constructs of our egos, that part of us that fears hurt to that part of us that is the house of the only true love there is, these are types of "love" that we can control. But the "love" that our society so glorifies is but a Golden Calf. It is ultimately only useful as a tool of manipulation and deceit. In the end, our trying to keep love under control, only keeps us under control. That real love, Agape, cannot be controlled, and does not need to control. And it does show itself, in genuine love and kindness we may give to each other. Even the romantic kind. 

I guess ‘love’ is just a tricky word to use, because most people I know will use that word only for the glorified Golden Calf you mentioned and not for the various other meanings. I remember a muy thai class in which kru asked us for the definition of ‘respect’. We all struggled to come up with a clear definition but he would dismiss them all as to general. Untill one girl said ‘This might sound cheesy, but… is it love?’ And she was right. Because if you do not love and thus respect yourself, you cannot show that to others. And therefore you cannot truly respect them. Also, by referring to her answer as ‘cheesy’ the girl confirmed that the default thought about love is of something silly and fleeting instead of something genuine.

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18 hours ago, The Gray Warlock said:

I going to be honest. Only someone who has never felt completely bereft of love, or felt the remaining presence of love left in their lives threatened, and has never struggled to love themselves, would ask that question. The early traumas of my life left me with these struggles to overcome. And having overcome them there is no doubt in my mind as to the importance of love in our existence.

Looked at it this way, love is like wealth. We assume it's good to have it. Few people do not desire it. Losing your wealth is an existential threat. People cry themselves to sleep over it. Yet strangely, the correlation wealth-happiness is not clear-cut.

The only difference is: being wealthy is not associated with being a good person.

12 hours ago, The Gray Warlock said:

I stand by the points I made though. And I think there is an interesting discussion to be had. These things you speak of, caring, empathy etc. it is my opinion that these things come from love. Whether or not we realize it, even if it is only momentary. And it doesn't necessarily have to involve full on devotion as in a friendship. It can be a simple gesture of kindness to a stranger. Why can that not be a form of love? Surely there is a place of love that this welling of kindness must have come from.

I'm psychic, I knew you would defend love!

Spoiler

Ok, I actually suspected it because of the importance of love in Thelema.

"There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. Love is the law, love under will."

Anyway, I imagine a wandering sage helping people on the way. Never developing any deeper ties. In a broader sense, this is also love, for all humans. Must be an unequivocally good quality, right?

But in the modern, narrower sense, love is love to a specific person.

It's surprising that arguably the biggest pop culture phenomenon of all times contains the idea that such love may not be so 100% positive:

Spoiler

Star Wars

Jedi are forbidden to have any kind of attachment, romantic or otherwise. Because from such love strong emotions of loss or jealousy may arise, which are the path to the Dark Side of the Force.

A profound insight? Or was it just introduced by Lucas so the Star Wars universe feels more otherworldly to us? 🙂

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The attitudes of people towards "love" in the past can be quite different to the lionisation of romance.

Mania being seen as almost universally negative.

Eros being seen as mixed.

Philia, storge, ludus & pragma positive, but not necessarily obligatory/expected.

Philautia highly positive.

Agape also highly positive. In Christianity, and possibly other religious, associated with God.
(A "nice person" could well be seen as expressing agape.)

 

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On 12/31/2022 at 8:04 AM, nonmerci said:

To sum it up : why love ?

Because humans are complex people. Our subconscious may not be the most developed (see dolphins for further example), but we are incredibly intelligent creatures. So, to harness that intelligence and that capacity, we must do something completely dumb to counterbalance that: love. 

This is not only referenced to romantic love, but also platonic, family love alterous love etc, but any kind of love can be seen as a threat to natural survival. Why do mum's die to save their children? Because they love them. Why in films the love interest dies for the main character? Because they love them. In purest subconscious form, we try to preserve ourselves and stay alive: it's a natural instinct. However, loving someone defies all those natural instincts. 

I'm aroace, and I love someone. I fucking love my best friend/queer platonic partner (we haven't worked out the details yet 😭) but I can feel love. God knows it's not romantic love, nor platonic, but I'd fucking die for her. And why? Because I'm a fucking moron. 

To summarise, anyone who feels any sort of love (whether they can help it or not), is dumb. However, we should take pride in feeling love, no matter how little, or what type, because despite its downsides, it has many upsides too. 

You start to enjoy life more. Before I met my other half, I was a fucking bitter wanker. I used to be envious of other's achievements, I used to aim to be the best, no matter the success, or the upset of others. However, when I met my other half, I started to enjoy the success and happiness of others. Sure, I no longer strived to be the best person, but I smiled everytime I saw my friends get an achievement and I gained so much more happiness in my life. 

So really, love exists everywhere, and it has it's time and place. You love a hobby, you love a human platonically, you love an animal, I suppose there are so many layers to love. But even if you don't love anything, that's fine. Remember, free will exists 👍

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Thanks for your reply @The Gray Warlock.

I suppose at the end of the day it is all about how we how label our feelings and what we value in it. I don't see my feelings in the term of love or not love cause it's not important for me, but I suppose other people will because this is important for them.

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On 12/31/2022 at 3:04 AM, nonmerci said:

why love ?

I don't know for a fact, but I can make an educated guess. I think maybe humanity kind of needed something, some emotion, to bring people together and foster a sense of community. And why "love" instead of "happiness" or "envy" or "eating chocolate"? Imo, it probably has something to do with the fact that it's one of the few positive emotions that you feel that have to involve someone else. You can be happy for someone else, but you can also be happy because of a cool rock, or finding 20$ in the street, or a billion other things that have nothing to do with anyone else. You have to feel envy because of someone, yes, but that's not positive, and that's not going to bring people together. And I really don't need to explain why eating chocolate is not the major shared emotion that brings humanity together.

Also, love is helpful from an evolution standpoint. For most of the world (obviously not for any of us, but still) love -> sex -> babies -> continuing the species, which is a huge part of any species and is probably hardwired into our brains

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