Philosophers, psychologists, romantics and even biologists have probably spent many moons trying to formulate the perfect definition of love. I am pretty sure no one succeeded in doing so. Love is a bad word because we don’t have a generalised, consistent definition for Love, one of the most important aspects of human experience.
Almost every romantic movie ends with the protagonist thinking aloud somethings along the lines of “Love is taking care of someone”, or “Love is deep friendship”, or “Love is making whale mating sounds together while eating potato chips”. Every other episode of Scrubs ended with ended with JD realising a new meaning for love. Every “Instagram Star” has a new definition of love in her bio. And yes, every one of your hopeless romantic friend, when drunk will come up with a new definition of love.
Even if you go to more traditional sources to find the meaning of love, you are out of luck. Collins dictionary has more than twenty different meanings and uses of the word.
So, why does a simple four-letter word with two consonant and two vowels have a seemingly unlimited definition? I think I know the answer.
We love to generalise things. It helps us explain more stuff with fewer words. It makes our understanding more elegant. Finding the generalised theory of everything has been the holy grail of theoretical physics for a long time.
Even in the most traditional sense of the word, love is used to describe four to five distinct behaviours. Here are some of the behaviours that come under the umbrella of “Love”.
1] The Parental Love: Having a kid is the most expensive thing a couple can do. Yet, Billions of couples choose to have kids. They nurture them, sacrifice careers, opportunities and in some cases health and life for them as well.
2] The social love: The love and affection you feel for your friends, relatives and others.
3] Erotic Love: The bees and butterfly kind of love.
4] Romantic Love: The desire for companionship and romance.
These are not some random behaviours bundled together as Love. All of these behaviours are essential for the survival of a social species such as mankind. You need “to love” your kids and companion to ensure their survival. You need the erotic love to *ahm* make offspring. And it turns out, a more social group is likely to outsurvive a less social one.
My definition of love
Well, I don’t have any new definition of love. I cannot possibly compete with the romance writers, philosophers and psychologists nor do I want to put a twenty first entry in the Collins dictionary. But, I can respond to the question.
What is Love?
Baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me.