The Definition of Love
In terms of scientific understanding, love can be considered a complex emotion. The American Psychological Association, however, has argued that love is not a single emotion, but rather an expression of multiple feelings. Moreover, the different parts of the brain involved in the experience of love have different physiological effects. Thus, there are many researchers who disagree about the exact definition of love. It may be difficult to come to an agreement on what makes love so complex.
It has many definitions. It can be defined as an intense feeling of affection and attraction towards someone. Other definitions include being sexually attracted to another person. Still others define love as liking another adult very much. And finally, some people define love as liking a friend or family member very much. Whatever the definition of love is, one thing is certain: love is never selfish. It must be real and based on mutual respect and acceptance. Love is present in the smallest things in life, and it is always based on an understanding of the other person.
In addition to these three types of love, there are some people who have a combination of these styles. People who have a high level of emotional attraction are categorized as egoistic, while others are characterized by a lower level of emotion. These individuals may also be categorized as erotic. For example, those who are more concerned with physical attraction may endorse a partner who is high on ego and self-conscious. The opposite is true for those who are more aloof or are uncomfortable with intimacy.
Though philosophical theories have largely emphasized the individual aspects of love, modern philosophers have focused on a more general account of love. Frankfurt (1999) provides a general account of love. Jaworska and Wonderly also provide a general account. Love is defined by an individual’s appraisal of the other. These are mutual, but often contradict each other. Therefore, defining love in terms of these three aspects will help in identifying what it is.
A more complex view of love focuses on a person’s emotional interdependence. This theory emphasizes the historical patterns of emotional responsiveness and projects them into the future. It also accounts for the “depth” of love that people perceive intuitively. And it avoids the excessive pigeonholing that accompanies reductionist approaches. This view also highlights the importance of a person’s identity. But it has one major flaw: it lacks a formal object.
The Greeks also had a specific definition of love. The Greeks regarded Agape love as the love of gods. It is unconditional and never fades, no matter what a person does. It exists in all things, including one’s children. Unlike asexual love, this form of love is not a selfish feeling. The goal of such a relationship is to help others and yourself grow. This type of love is not self-serving; it is a shared, lifelong bond.