Is it weird that as a society, we don’t really have an end-all-be-all definition of love? We always preach that we must practice it, and yet when one of my friends asks me “Francisco, why can’t anyone just love me?”, it makes me think that we’ve covered the most pure thing in the world with a blurring cloud of fairy tales and expected despair.
But, hey, let’s see if a naive 19 year old college student, who doesn’t even have his own life together, can grasp an idea which has a universal hold on humanity.
Though the despair in the voiced opinion of some might attempt to suggest that love is non-existent, and rather it is simply an idealized lust, I would argue that those who would take such a dismissive view believe so because they have not experienced their desired experience they idealize. This is how an individual may begin to misunderstand how love is attainable, as they begin to infatuate themselves with an idealistic perception of love; their hearts are captured and tossed around as their unrealistic ideals overshadow the realness of the desire.
How could a thing which everyone has desire for, though, not be existent? The desire of love is not a desire in which we are taught as good, but rather the meaning of the desire we have sensed the presence for our entire existence. Being a desire which is engrained within our very being, as something we sense we must have, must mean it is a good desire, for its innate existence within ourselves means it is a natural desire, and that which is natural must be understood as good.
We are born with the desire to love, and a danger can emerge as life may influence the desire by gradually pulling us away from the truth it presents. “We do not characterize all men as ‘lovers’. We reserve that word for a small subset of them; for those who strive for the permanent possession of the good through begetting in the beautiful— by means of body or of soul” (F.C. White)— the purpose I aim to drive home by presenting this quote, is that, though love is attainable by all, as the desire exists within each person, it will not be acquired by each person, for only the devotee to the purpose will achieve the state of love.
The good is not always wanted by individuals when in blind search of love, as simple and small bits of love are easier to hold on to than to chase the entity as a whole. Maintaining a state of love, however, I would argue, is the most important part of experiencing love for it shows an authenticity—- for many things, in the beginning, may appear as love, for infatuation wears a veil to cover it’s fallacies, as it dresses to appear as authentic love. Distractions are manifested in these situations, where lust and infatuation are mistaken for love, as a person’s natural inclination is to seek the physicality in things, it being the most tangible thing.
A great truth within saying that “beauty of soul is of greater worth than beauty of body” (F.C. White) is drowned in the carnal desires, as it is easier for us to succumb to primordial desires than to exert virtue in ordering those desires when appropriate. This is simpler than self-governing ourselves with the more abstract truth— the less visible truth. We allow base desires to control our lives, and yet we still sense the pain of emptiness within our hearts, knowing our constant hurt can only be healed by an honest love. It is important that the “lover…must wait until he has been strengthened and grows by contemplating the vast sea of beautiful instances” (Ludwig C.H. Chen) because it would provide the attempting-lover with the prudence to evaluate the best method to achieve a state of love.
However, since we have already succumbed to letting the distraction of pleasures govern us, we have grown accustomed to things coming almost immediately to us, which makes us want to force the progress of love— in doing so, we pose the danger of shattering our chance to experience love. The distractions which we have allowed to pollute our mind create a thick fog within ourselves, allowing us to only see a few feet ahead, as we remain oblivious of the mile meant for us to journey upon.
Finding your perfect partner is like two jagged edges fitting perfectly together. By themselves, the flaws and dents in the edges are left exposed, but when the jagged edges come together the pattern of the flaws complement each other and transform what was once an imperfect pattern into a perfect pattern. These edges have been damaged from relationships past, they have been hurt by experiences; each dent in the edge is representative of a piece of the edge that once was there but has been destroyed by the pains of experience.
When two jagged edges come together, and miraculously connect in unity, it’s demonstrative of how much of a role our experiences play in our love; those experiences, which still strike your heart with the pain of emptiness and want, have formed you into the person you are. The experiences of the other person complement yours and can relate to certain experiences of yours, they create a love with a whole connection.
However, one cannot force edges which have not formed to fit each other, or are not meant to pair, to come together in a perfect unity— the result of doing that will cause both edges to be chipped even more, so much chipped that the two edges could never be re-molded to come together in a unity.
The importance of maintaining the desire for the constant possession of beauty and good when on is in a state of love, has now been illustrated, however my mind yearns for a definition of love— the want to know exactly what it is that one must maintain. Love could be defined as the feeling and decision to care for a person more than one cares about oneself. How can love be both a feeling and a decision? How can one even decide to love someone?Where does the emotion of love come from?
The feeling of love seems to be an intrinsic part of ones humanity, a part which makes one feel whole in our heart and soul. Love, as a purely romantic emotion, seems to have the uncanny ability to sneak up on a person and hit oneself like a train at any given moment; as a purely charitable emotion, love seems to develop from an extremely tight bond with another person. The concept of deciding to love someone seems, at first, superficial and ridiculous, yet, when one truly contemplates this idea, one comes to the realization that this concept is almost more important than the pure emotion of love.
The decision to love comes after the feelings of love towards someone develop, as the conscious effort to love someone is the glue of a love which develops from this emotion. The emotion of love, no matter how strong and genuine, can waver, as it is subject to the risk of being hurt, suffering enormous amounts of pain, and becoming angered. When one’s emotions are tested, it is the choice to love which can allow for an individual to move past, or endure, the pains, or annoyances, presented to oneself because the decision to continue loving said person makes that love unwavering and true.
One decides to love someone because, using emotional and rational thinking, it is obvious to someone that said person is the right person for that someone, the person who makes one feel like God put an angel in ones life for the sole purpose of making one happy. Deciding to fully love the person one loves is the most beautiful thing in this corrupted world we live in. It is the total self-giving of oneself to another person; one makes the decision to trust totally, and care for totally, no matter how hard it may be.
It is important to remember that the decision to love cannot possibly come to fruition without the emotion of love, a feeling which seems to have no true origin, except for, perhaps, one's innate desire to be with someone who cares for one as much as one cares for the person they are closest to. There are two kinds of love: romantic and charitable.
Romantic love pertains to an intimate relationship between two people, and charity pertains to the human care one shows towards a friend or stranger. One cannot carry out either of these types of love, in a truly pure form, without possessing the emotion, and choosing to love actively. In a romantic love, the emotion provides the passion which sets fire to, and motivates a love, while the choice to love provides the strength to endure hardships in a relationship and allows one to keep a good love alive when the emotions waver.
Together, the two types make a true love. In a charitable love, the emotion of loves is what provides the desire, and motivation, to help others and be kind to others, and the choice to love is what makes it possible to one’s own needs as a secondary priority to the needs of others.
But why listen to me? I am nobody. You don’t know me, why trust me? I’ve never even been in love, or even been close to being in love— what the hell would I know? Maybe nothing. I don't know. What I do know is that my whole life I have felt an emptiness in my heart and soul, as if there’s a piece of myself missing; it feels like a part of me was ripped from my soul.
Yes, I’ve never had the fortune to know what it feels like to have another person in my life who’s mere presence can make me whole with a sense of happiness. I still feel the desire of love though, so perhaps my knowledge of what I have never had in my life is what allows me to write this article, attempting to illustrate the things my life is lacking. Love exists, and don’t tell me otherwise, because if it doesn’t exist, than there is no true purpose to living.