Physiology of Love

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Love n.: A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.

That's it? That's all it is, eh? Love, I mean. It's supposed to be this powerful, wonderful heart and soul encompassing emotion. I guess. Yet, it seems, to me at least, that if such a meaningful word can be summed up so easily into a single paragraph, that perhaps, it's just slightly overrated.

And anyway, how can anyone just sum it up so curtly? For as complex as the emotion itself is, it seems slightly out-of-character that it should have such a simple definition. After all, there's several types of love; millions of varying degrees. It's something no two people experience exactly alike; chances are if you've experienced love more than once yourself, those two times won't even be alike for the same individual. So, how can it possibly be summed up simply into a single organic sentence?

As far as I know, there is no definition to love. At least not a real, gratifying one. For something to even be defined in a dictionary, or at all, for that matter, it has to be a clear, concise, known fact, substance or otherwise. And, quite frankly, I'm not so sure love is.

Think about it: Who can really say they know what love is? What it constitutes? When it's actually love? It's so different to everyone, and so different with every new experience, that it's impossible to come to a concise conclusion.

I mean, the first time you fell in love — you know, the warm feeling you got; the 'butterflies in the stomach' feeling. Most times, people see using terms like that as synonymous with love. But then, the second time you 'loved', it feels completely different. Like say, on a whole new level. You know, from the 'butterflies' to the 'soul mates' stage. Well, you obviously thought that it was love first time around, but the second time around it's completely different. Here's the cincher: You thought it was love the second go 'round as well.

So, what is love really?

And, it's not only something that can be felt by degrees of varying emotion — like warm affection to flaring passion — as the definition seems to clearly dictate. Oh, no. There's more, like say the person.

It's obvious that this day and age, the only 'sacred' form of love is considered to be that shared between man and woman, but it really isn't operative. Do you know why it isn't? Because you have absolutely no say in whom you decide to fall in love with. Nope, none at all. It's your heart's choice. And, whether it decrees you to love a person of the same or opposite sex, it doesn't matter. It's all the same; it's all love.

Now, the Church might not see it that way, and society largely won't either, but it doesn't matter. Love knows naught of discrimination. What's meant to be, will be, and no amount of moral bashing will change the fact. So, my advice to you ignorant morons who discriminate people just based on their sexual preferences, is this: Go throw yourselves off a bridge or into traffic. It's people like you who unsanctify the true meaning that is love, and you've no right to ruin it for us.

But even then, whether homo- or heterosexual, what is love? How do you tell one 'love' from the next? What makes it true love? Merely feeling "a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection toward a person…" Is that all there is to it? I'd beg to differ considering that I've felt that way toward a few people in my day, and in the end I equate none of it even closely to love.

Now, of course, feeling that way can, truthfully, be love. Of that I have no doubt, and therefore I cannot completely dispute the dictionary's meaning, because, in essence, there is a partial truth to it. But, it cannot possibly be that simple.

Love may, in part, be a feeling of contentment with another person, but it's more than that. It's a sense of belonging, a sense of security and comfort. Of course, it's also ups and downs and all the in-betweens. It's fighting, it's tears; it's pain in general. Love, by nature alone, is not a harmless thing. It is truly a double-edged sword. It can make you into the most reasonable, compromising person and at the self-same time can turn you into one of the most stubborn, reckless people in the world. It is true when they say that love makes you do foolish things.

I don't suppose it's fair to brood on the 'relationship' aspect of love alone. Because as much as love stands for being between two people, it is as much a one-sided act as it is two. For you see, in order to truly know love for another being, you must have a half-decent self-respect for yourself. You cannot love someone and hate yourself. The act of love alone signifies loving all of a person, and if it truly is love, then the "two as one" philosophy dictates that you must love yourself to truly love another.

But philosophy is not love. Nor was love based in such a science. The two interweave, yes. But, they are wholly separate, and you'd do well to remember it. Philosophy is a science, after all. Love is instinctual, in a sense. It's not something to be learned; you can't study it; I'm pretty sure schools don't offer anything reminiscent of Love 101 in their curriculums.

And, words are a science. That is, there is a science to them. You are not born with the ability to scintillate. You learn words. You do not learn to love. So, I find it highly ironic that they expect learned words spewed by dictionaries to mean something concerning an instinctual behavior.

It makes no sense. And what's worse, by far, than anything, is that these self-proclaimed gurus (the geniuses responsible for keying the dictionaries) are attempting to tell us what love is. When half of the human race, if not all of it, isn't even clear on the true meaning of the word, what makes them think that a few select book-smart nerds are going to tell us? It's a disgrace to the collective intelligence of the human race, I think.

All I'm asking is this: Please, please don't sum love up into a meager sentence when encyclopedia sets could be filled to the brim with information on the subject and not even come close to touching on what it really is. One sentence in nowhere near enough. And it's sad to think that people actually believe that can even try to explain love.

I myself, as I wrote this, have never said, "I know what love is". I don't. I say this now. I just know that no dictionary is going to know what it is when a sentient being doesn't. It's impossible. I touch on aspects of love; we all know them, so it's a safe topic, but I am not about to preach what love is and isn't, when I myself, don't rightfully know.

In truth, Damned be the person who really does know its' meaning, for that matter. For, as much as we as a race try to determine what love truly is, sad is the man who figures it out.

I know naught what love is, if nothing more than a thing not of the mind but of the heart. A feeling. Only felt. And no amount of words in a dictionary can dictate otherwise.

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L. Kantenseter
5-19-06