How do you fine love?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Quirkybird, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    The word love seems to mean different things to different people. My view of it is liking someone very much. I couldn't love someone I didn't like. However other people seem to love members of their family for, instance, whom they don't like. There are certain members of my family, now deceased, whom I grew to dislike and no longer loved.
    How do others respond to the word 'love'?
     
  2. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    Sorry the title should be 'How do you define love'.
     
  3. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    I think that there are too many different kinds of love to lump them all together under a single definition.

    There's the love one feels for one's spouse. The love one feels for their children. The love of friends and dare I say it.... the love of God. Each just as intense as the other, yet completely different.

    There are associative words that are often used to define love like, affection, kindness, caring, compassion, etc, etc, etc, but none clearly define the word itself.

    I think the term 'love' in many ways is more difficult to define than the term 'God'. As like God, love means something different to each individual that feels it.
     
  4. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    In English we use the word 'love' to define any and all types of love. Which is sad. There are so many meanings to the word and we have but one word to describe them all.

    A lot of other languages have multiple words that define different types of love. There are five or six in Spanish for instance. Many more variations when used in a sentence as a noun or a verb (amor and amar respectively).

    So to answer your question it would have to be asked, what form of love are you talking about?
     
  5. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    Liking very much is a good start for defining love. There are many different kinds of love, as GK points out, each with its own special characteristics. I break them down into four: romantic love, love of one's children, love of one's other relatives, and love of friends.

    In romantic love you like very much but also have the sexual component.

    You don’t always like your children but you still love them. You respond to their helplessness and their dependency on you and you give them a break when they stage a tantrum in the supermarket.

    You usually love your parents because you owe so much to their care for you, and your siblings for your shared history. But love can break down in family relationships. You may lose your love for a philandering spouse, an alcoholic parent, or a bullying sibling.

    Love of friends is rather special because these are the loves you have chosen but you have no obligation to continue. If you do stay close for a long time you have something really special.

    Love is not rational. It comes primarily from the heart, not the head.
     
  6. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    As I said before I couldn't love someone I didn't like, and that includes family.
     
  7. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    That's a very interesting statement and I think there is a lot of truth in it. At the same time though, love is supposed to be unconditional.

    In my case I have a family member that I love dearly and I would do anything in the world for them. However, there are certain aspects of their personality that I really dislike. Despise actually. I hate that about them, but not the actual person.

    As it says in the scripture, hate the sin not the sinner.
     
  8. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    I couldn't love unconditionally.
     
  9. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    I know what you mean. That's something much easier said than done.
     
  10. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    Thinking about it, I have wanted to love, but not love too much, so if the worst happened to someone I loved I wouldn't be too devastated.
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: How do you define love?

    If we're talking 'religion, faith and theology', and theology as a means of understanding what it is we believe, then it's worth noting that the Christian scribes 'resurrected' a term and its philosophical ideal of love that had largely fallen out of the contemporary lexicon. It was used only rarely, and in high philosophical circles, but had little currency in general language until the appearance of the New Testament, and that term was agape.

    Without going into etymological detail, it might be useful not simply to determine how we think of love, but how the Christian community thought of it. What kind of love were they talking about?

    From that viewpoint, what distinguishes agape from terms such as storge which simply means 'affection' and philia, a 'friendship' that went went beyond storge and implied a deeper, familial sentiment, such as the love of a parent for a child, and generally philia implies the ideal of love within a familial relationship. So friends might have an affection storge for each other, but philia runs deeper, and usually implied an ideal of inter-familial love, such as a parent for a child, or between brothers and sisters, relatives, etc. Thus to express one's deep affection for a friend,one might use the term philia rather than storge, to imply 'I love him like a brother' or, by extension, 'I love him like my own flesh and blood'.

    The fourth and most common term, eros, always implies a sense of love that overwhelms the will, as if one can't help it, a sense of being 'carried away', so this term was commonly used to describe anything from raw lust at its most carnal, to the kind of ecstatic 'transports' of being caught up and carried away as was pursued in the Mystery Cults of the ancient world.

    The term the Christians used, agape, was seen philosophically as superior to both storge and philia, and in a significant way opposite to eros, in that it implied a love that was self-willed, and furthermore that order of love was 'unconditional' or 'selfless' in the sense of the complete gift of self — the 'opening' of the self, or the 'unveiling of the heart' — to the other, regardless of circumstance.

    In the discussions above, what is evident is each of us loves conditionally, whereas the Christian message is one of a God who loves unconditionally, and who demands we love each other as He loves us.

    Such a love is then utterly different from eros and far transcends storge and philia.

    Cut to the chase:
    Two things Christ was unable to convince His audience. The first is just how much God loves His creation, and to what lengths He will go to preserve it, and the second is that the world would be a paradise — heaven on earth — if we would only share that love — His love, for He is Love — between each other, without judgement and without condition. Agape, not storge, not philia, not eros.

    There is a trinity of terms the describe Christian conversion: Agape, Metanoia, Kenosis.

    From the human perspective, the Love of God is 'tough love'. I should qualify that statement by saying in the UK, the idea is similar to the concept of "authoritative" parenting, whereas in the US the same can be considered as a negative, "authoritarian" parenting, which tends to highlight negative outcomes rather than positive ones.

    Personally, I think the 'gentle Jesus meek and mild' owes more to a maudlin sentimentality than the actuality. He most certainly was gentle, meek and mild, but this came from strength, not from weakness — the strength to reach out, selflessly, to those who actively oppressed Him.

    "Greater love (agape) than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
    This does not mean getting killed saving another, nor even the mother who rushes into a burning house to save her child, but simply that one put oneself to one side for the sake of the other, be it God, or one's neighbour — it is an ascetic love, and it is the path the Christian is called to follow.

    "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matthew 16:24, 19:21, Mark 8:34, 10:21, Luke 9:23).

    Agape then is not easy. It requires self-denial, self-discipline, selfless service. It's greatest virtue is humility. It is kenosis, the 'emptying' of the self from the heart, and thereby the opening of the heart to another — metanoia — and this 'change of heart' is always tied in with repentance. (Cf Mark 1:4, Matthew 4:17, Mark 6:12 and Acts 17:30).

    That is the love the Christian is called to live in the world, and with the world the way it is, it is a cross to be borne.

    Eros is the gratification, at best the consolation of the senses. Agape is the consolation of the soul.
     
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  12. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Well done, Thomas
    +1
     
  13. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    Re: How do you define love?

    None of that computes with me, but if it does it for you, fine.
     
  14. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Re: How do you define love?

    My late Mom use to put it this way.

    "I only asked for the time. I didn't want to know how to build a watch!" :D
     
  15. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    Re: How do you define love?

    Nice one!:D
     
  16. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    From my personal point of view, that is such a sad statement Q. Not that I am suggesting what you are saying is wrong. You are using a self preservation concept. If the devastation of loss is greater than the bliss of the deepest love, you are doing what is right for you.

    Because one of the guarantees of great love is the inevitable devastation. At least in the mortal realm of love, which is what I believe your comment is based upon.

    The reason I said it was sad is that the deepest mortal loves are some of the most profoundly enriching experiences we can achieve. I'm not sure there is anything greater. The heart crushing devastation, when it comes, can shatter your soul. Souls can mend though, given time and the proper mind set.

    I have loved great love, and I have suffered that crushing devastation of loss. The love is greater than the loss for me. There are no regrets.
     
  17. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    Each to our own of course.:) I like to keep myself on a reasonably even keel. I would not like to experience the extremes of emotion if it could be prevented.
     
  18. DeiGratia

    DeiGratia New Member

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    The reason I said it was sad is that the deepest mortal loves are some of the most profoundly enriching experiences we can achieve. I'm not sure there is anything greater. The heart crushing devastation, when it comes, can shatter your soul. Souls can mend though, given time and the proper mind set.

    I have loved great love, and I have suffered that crushing devastation of loss. The love is greater than the loss for me. There are no regrets.
    ______

    Gordian Knot, this is a beautiful statement.

    "Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality." — Emily Dickinson
     
  19. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Thank you, Dei. It took me quite a few runs around the sun for me to come to understand this wisdom.

    Quirky, I understand your position. Matter of fact when I was younger my feelings were similar to yours. As a younger man I was more terrified of the devastation. Now, as a ummm, less younger man, my opinion has changed. I don't look forward to the devastation. No masochist me! But if eventual devastation is the price to be paid for great love, it is a price I am willing to pay.

    Extremes aren't for everyone.
     
  20. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    I am 64 and have no wish for any sort of devastation in my life if I can prevent it. The worst happened as far as I am concerned when half my husband's brain was trashed after a subarachnoid haemorrhage. Nothing could be much worse than that, imo.
     

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