Love has been a debated topic since the beginning of time. What is love? Where does it come from? How do you know what true love is? Is love a feeling or a choice? Is love real?
Love is simply a human virtue that is based on compassion, affection, and kindness. Love is an emotion in action: you get what you put in. The word love is used and abused for the expression of different sets of feelings, for example, “I love chocolate” (pleasure), or “I love my wife” (affection). But, there are many different types of love. In the Greek language, there are seven different words for seven different types of love:
- Storge: family affection, natural affection
- Philia: love for friends
- Eros: sexual or erotic love (positive or negative)
- Agape: unconditional divine love
- Ludus: playful, childish love, like flirting
- Pragma: long standing love, marriage
- Philautia: love of self (positive or negative)
So, where does it come from? Love is one of three basic brain systems that evolved for mating and reproduction:
- Sexuality-evolved for humans to seek potential mating partners.
- Romantic love and attraction-evolved for humans to have one mating partner.
- Attachment-evolved in order to stay with a mate long enough to rear a child.
Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in the States has proposed 3 stages of love – lust, attraction and attachment.
- Lust is driven by testosterone and estrogen
- Attraction is driven by adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin
- Attachment is driven by oxytocin and vasopressin
What you feel is controlled by the right side of the brain, and language is controlled by the left. So saying I love you can activate only half the brain if you don’t feel it.
Love is a choice and a feeling. You feel love, but you choose to say “I love you” to a person that you love. You choose to be with that person, based on your feelings. Those feelings are very real, they are chemical and biological. And these feelings are different for different types of love. In cultures that believe in the reality of true love, and how it affects our state of being, there are different words to describe the different types of love. So I ask, how do you define love?Tags: Love Relationships