Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Definitions of Love and Love Paradox

News update: I am writing a book collecting and organizing various essays and letters I have written over the years. To be fair, it's been mostly complete for about 3 months now and I am currently just doing the polishing process as well as collecting opinions before I publish it. The project started while I was writing the series on True Love and I realized I would like to make it easier for my children to read what I have written. The result was that many of the letters I have published have been slightly modified versions of letters I have written to my children for this book, including what I'm sharing with you now. 

Dearly Beloved,
I often preach that True Love is an act of the will. The primary definition I use is “Love is to will the good of another.” I like the definition as it covers action, choice, desire, mind above emotion, and selflessness. However, one more definition is “Love is a great admiration of something.” Similarly, love can also mean “a strong like of something.” In addition, another definition some people love the most is “Love is a great desire to be united to something.”
If you study language, you may find what are called homonyms, “words with same spelling and pronunciation, but different meanings.” Some are completely unrelated such as a “bat” being a flying mammal or an object to play baseball with. However, many words are derived from the original word. In fact, when the connotation becomes the definition, it goes through this process. Love is one of these words.
Consider the first and second definitions. If you greatly admire something, it means you are more likely act on behalf of it. Consider a priceless jewel. If you don’t care about jewels, you’ll simply toss it away. If you greatly admire jewels, then you’ll take care of it. Same applies to people. If you greatly admire people, you will even perform some sort of sacrifice for their benefit.
Now consider the second and third definitions. You tend to greatly admire something you strongly like. Then take that “like” is derived from the same word which means “similar.” You like things that are similar to yourself or who you want to be.
Next up is the third and fourth definitions. A synonym for like is “desire” so naturally you can see how they link. When we think of desires, we tend to think of them as uncontrollable passions. And that is how you get the same word meaning an act of the will to meaning an act of passion. Is this believable? Certainly as we do this with language all the time. Words “evolve” as long as there is something to link it to the older meaning, including sarcasm. After all, antonyms can swap meanings just as “awful” and “awesome” did. 
If you look up synonyms for “love,” you will find “passion” among them. This is what I meant by “Love is a great desire to be united to something.” This is the emotional definition of love that many people love. You want something so much that you can’t imagine being without it. This is the explanation for what I consider the Love Paradox. You love someone so much that you want to be with them, but at the same time, you want him/her to be happy, even if that means he/she is not with you.

Now there is nothing wrong with any of these definitions. The biggest point I would like to make is of all of them, the first is the most pure and admirable. That is the one that makes use better people and is the secret to morality. The key here is that it’s the only one that works perfectly with humility, service, and every other virtue. The other definitions open the door to being selfish and therefore conflict and tragedy. As long as they are bounded by the first definition, they are fine. However, you generally cannot have all of them and therefore only the first is essential.
Consider what it means when you have the others, but not the first. Perhaps the best example is a teenage boy who tells a girl he loves her so in order to have sex. He might greatly admire her, but if it’s only her beauty he admires, he’ll dump her when he finds someone else he considers more beautiful. He might hold a lot of things in common with her, but that is very fickle especially for teenagers. Even if they maintain common interests, the importance of them will change as life changes. Lastly, he certainly wants to be united with her, but it’s to satisfy himself.
The boy is speaking the truth, but he doesn’t care for the girl. He doesn’t want what is best for her. He only cares about himself and heartbreak is going to happen. It’s often the case that a couple will have sex only to part that night. The common scenario is the girl is hoping he means the first definition along with the others, but if a guy can’t wait until marriage for sex, it’s most likely he doesn’t mean he cares. If anything, it shows he doesn’t have the willpower to make many sacrifices for her.
My hope is that by showing you this example, you may see that selfishness produces pain, sadness, and ultimately victims. Let the first definition rule your life so that you may become a great hero. When you abide by the pure definition of love, you may recognize when it is lacking and therefore be able to avoid the unnecessary heartache. That is my wish, because I do indeed care for you.

With Love,

N. D. Moharo

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