Why do we love?
Ah, romantic love beautiful, heartwarming and soul-crushing and often all at the same time. So the Question is why we do it?
I mean seriously, why do we choose to put ourselves through its emotional ringer?
What don’t look at me, I am asking you. Does love give meaning to our lives or it’s just an escape from our loneliness and suffering?
Or It’s just a trick of Biology and nature to make us procreate?
Is it all we need? Do we need it at all?
No, I didn’t have a fight with my girlfriend, and I am also not going all sentimental because I am super drunk. I am just having one of those Thought provoking sleepless nights.
So, let’s begin, if romantic love has a purpose, neither Science or Psychology has discovered it yet. But over the course of history, some of our respected philosophers have put forward some intriguing theories. Note: some of these theories will sell T-shirts well.
“Love makes us whole, again.”
Ancient Greek Philosopher Plato, yes, the same guy who claimed Atlantis was a real thing. So, he believed that we love to become complete. In his symposium, he wrote about a dinner party, where a comic playwright entertains the guest with the following story:
“Humans were once creatures with four arms, four legs, and two faces. One day they angered the gods so Zeus sliced them all into two. Since then. Every person has been missing half of him or herself. Love is the longing to find a soulmate, who will make us feel Whole again”
Or at least, that’s what Plato believed a drunken comedian would say in a party.
“Love Tricks Us into having babies.”
German Philosopher, Author Schopenhauer maintained that love based on sexual desire was a voluptuous illusion. He suggested that we love because our desires lead us to believe that another person will make us happy, but we are sorely mistaken. Nature is tricking us into procreation and the loving fusion we seek is concluded in our children. When our sexual desires are satisfied we are thrown back into our tormented existences, in the end only succeeding in maintaining our species and continuing the cycle of human labor.
Yea I know he sounded someone in a very happy relationship.
“Love is escaping from our loneliness”
According to Bertrand Russell, he once got a Nobel prize for philosophy. So, he believed we love in order to quench our Physical and psychological desires. Humans are designed to procreate, but without the ecstasy (not the drug) of passionate love, Sex in not fulfilling. Our fear of the cold cruel world tempts us to build a hard shell, to protect and isolate ourselves. Love’s delight, intimacy, and warmth help us overcoming our fears of the world, escape our lonely shell and engage more into life. Love becomes the best thing in our life.
“Love is a misleading affliction”
This one is from Buddha, yup the one and only enlighten one. Buddha proposed that we love because we are trying to satisfy our base desires. Yet, our passionate cravings are defects, and attachments, even romantic love, are a great source of suffering. Luckily Buddha discovered the eight-fold path, a sort of a program for extinguishing our desires and so that we can reach Nirvana (Not the Band).
Well, not all Buddhist thought about romantic and erotic love this way, but they all agree on one thing that such attachments spell tragedy and should be avoided. Or in short “Love breeds sacrifice… which in turn breeds hatred.”
“Love lets us reach beyond Ourselves”
Ok, let’s end this in a slightly Positive note. The French philosopher Simone Fe Beauvoir proposed that love is the desire to integrate with another and it infuses our lives with meaning. So, if you feel like absorbing your lover, then you are doing it right. Just kidding folks. However, she was less concerned with why we love and more interested in how to love better.
She saw that the problem with traditional romantic love is that it can be so captivating that we are tempted to make it our only reason being. Yet, dependence on another to justify our existence easily leads to boredom and power games. To avoid this trap, Beauvoir advised loving authentically, which is more like a great friendship.
Lovers support each other in discovering themselves, reaching beyond themselves, enriching their lives and the world together. I think my Girlfriend will connect with this one for sure.
Though we might never know what we fall in love, is it because of gravity or who knows we can be certain that it will be an emotional roller-coaster. It will be scary and exhilarating. It makes us suffer and makes us soar. We might lose ourselves or find ourselves. It might be heartbreaking or it might be the best thing in your life.
Will You dare to find out?