Philosophical meaning of “LOVE”

Love is the most powerful emotion a human being can experience. The strange thing is, almost nobody knows what love is. Why is it so difficult to find love? That is easy to understand, if you know that the word “love” is not the same as one’s feeling of love.

“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard,but must be felt with the heart” – Hellen Keller

What great Philosophers say about Love?

Aristotle : Of the classic ideas on love, for Aristotle , none of this love and friendship is attainable without first achieving self-love. The good person must be a self-lover, for he himself will profit from doing fine things, and he will benefit the others.

Sadhguru :
When you talk about love, it has to be unconditional. There is really no such thing as conditional love and unconditional love. It is just that there are conditions and there is love. The moment there is a condition, it just amounts to a transaction. Maybe a convenient transaction, maybe a good arrangement – maybe many people made excellent arrangements in life – but that will not fulfill you; that will not transport you to another dimension. It is just convenient.
When you say “love,” it need not necessarily be convenient; most of the time it is not. It takes life. Love is not a great thing to do, because it eats you up. If you have to be in love, you should not be. You as a person must be willing to fall, only then it can happen. If your personality is kept strong in the process, it is just a convenient situation, that’s all. We need to recognize what is a transaction and what is truly a love affair. A love affair need not be with any particular person; you could be having a great love affair, not with anybody in particular, but with life.

Simpne de Beauvoir : “The reciprocal recognition of two freedoms” Beauvoir’s thought on love is between authentic and inauthentic love. For her, loving inauthentically is an existential threat. When we believe that love will complete us, or when we lose ourselves in our beloved, we erase ourselves as independent beings. This is what de Beauvoir called loving in bad faith. In her society, men were encouraged much more than women to have interests and ambitions outside of their relationships, with the result that women were especially vulnerable to the dangers of inauthentic love.
Authentic love, on the other hand, involves partnerships in which both parties recognize each others’ independence, and pursue aims and interests outside of their relationship. Authentic love must be based on “reciprocal recognition of two freedoms”. This means that neither partner is subordinate to the other, nor takes all of their meaning from their love for that partner. Instead, each is an independent whole who freely chooses the other anew with every day without trying to possess them entirely.

Bell Hooks :
In All About Love: New Visions (2000) , she argues that our modern definition of love is too watered down by overuse of the word. Working from the idea that love is a verb, she then suggests ways to improve our modern concept of love and prevent what hinders it. She notes with a fervor that power discrepancies and the differences in how men and women are expected to approach love are a particular problem.

“The fear of being alone, or of being unloved, had caused women of all races to passively accept sexism and sexist oppression.” — Ain’t I a Woman? (1981)

Jean – Paul Sartre :
Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir had, quite possibly, the most famous open relationship of all time. Sartre first proposed the idea in a letter: “What we have is an essential love; but it is a good idea for us also to experience contingent love affairs.”
Sartre wrote extensively on love, especially in terms of the tension between freedom and objectivity, and seemed to struggle with the idea throughout his entire relationship. True love, Sartre felt, can come to fruition when both partners have a deep, mutual respect for the other’s freedom and resist the desire to “possess” each other as objects. For him, if all romantic relationships centered on the idea of ownership, there would be little room for introspection. Wrapped up in the pursuit of love is the idea that we are not only seeking a partner, but deeper insight into ourselves. Put more plainly: We’re looking for the “other half,” the “being” to our “nothingness.” Either way, Sartre got a whole lot of insight, especially for a guy with an oddly shaped head and a lazy eye.

Love asks me no questions, and gives me endless support – William Shakespeare