I have no idea what ‘love’ is, and I don’t think I can ever get anywhere close to knowing it, for it’s difficult to comprehend anything that means so many different things to so many different people. All that one can do is speculate about what it can possibly be.
When does an intense liking for something become capable of being described as ‘love’ is completely beyond me. How is ‘love’ different from an intense liking for someone combined with an addiction-like longing for the person? The nagging desire to have the person around all the time is considered ‘love’, and then comes a time when one doesn’t want his or her ‘love’ around as much as before. The other party complains of neglect, the fights start and the lovers start liking each other less and less progressively. This kind of getting-used-to spoils the broth that love is. So, does love last only as long as the freshness lasts, after which one starts looking for something else to love? Is love just about the novelty?
Most of the lovers of ‘love’ would denounce such crass ideas about something as ‘great’ and ‘divine’ as ‘love’. But in the real world that’s precisely what happens and it’s called ‘love’. Yes, one can always say it’s not ‘love’ or is not ‘true love’, in which case there have to be two kinds of ‘love’ — ‘true love’ and ‘worldly/untrue love’. Or, may be, ‘divine love’ and ‘physical love’ are the two kinds of distinct ‘loves’. But that doesn’t solve anything for to say that ‘physical love’ is different from ‘divine love’ might mean that there is nothing divine about physical love, in which case one might be implying that nothing reproductive is divine. So, how does divine sanction of marriages work? Marriages are considered God-endorsed by all such religions that believe in God. And if there is something divine about ‘physical love’, how can it be excluded from the category of ‘divine love’ or ‘spiritual love’ unless one wishes to say that ‘spiritual love’ refers to the love between the spirits presupposing that spirits are capable of such a thing.
Therefore, if ‘love’ is a completely human thing it has to be something like other such things within the same range of things. So, if ‘love’ is a feeling, it must have something in common with other feelings like jealousy, hatred, disgust and so on. If it’s a relationship, it has to be, in some respect, similar to other human relationships such as marriage, brother-sister, mother-daughter, father-son relationships. If it is found in all relationships, all relationships must have at least one thing common. What is such a thing? If love is that thing, how and in what does it manifest itself? Is ‘mutual care’ essential aspect of all relationships? What happens when two brothers become sworn enemies? There is no ‘care’ and there is no ‘love’, but there is still a relationship because nothing changes the fact that they are brothers, for the relationship stands independent of their inter-personal equation.
Does ‘love’, on its own, give rise to a relationship that is capable of existing independent of ‘care’ itself? Can one say that two people do not care about each other, but they are still in ‘love’? No, that cannot be said. So, ‘love’ does not give rise to any such relationship, let alone being such a relationship all by itself.
Is it a relationship like marriage? But marriages can and have been known to go on without love or care. So, ‘love’ does not bring about a relationship in the nature of marriage either.
It’s reasonable to conclude that it is unlike any relationship, and for that reason it is not a ‘relationship’ because all such things that fall in the same category have something in common. In absence of commonality it cannot be said that two things fall in the same category. So, ‘love’ is not a relationship. And if one insists that it is a relationship, the term ‘relationship’ and the concept that it encapsulates has to be remodeled so as to make ‘love’ fit into it. But then again, love would not be a ‘relationship’ in the general sense of the term and the term itself acquires a new unique meaning unknown before, which also means that it becomes a term in need of a fresh definition for the purpose of its application to ‘love’. So, to put it more simply, if love is to be defined in terms of relationship, the term ‘relationship’ has to be redefined. Love changes everything it touches, literally. Not always for the better though.
Originally published on Ezine Articles on April 13, 2013.