Love Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, as an attraction based on sexual desires: affection and tenderness felt by lovers and as an affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interest. Do you know what word this is the definition for? Love. Love has several different meanings in the English language, from something that gives little pleasure to something that one would die for. It can describe an intense feeling of affection, an emotion, or an emotional state. Just as there are many types of lovers, there are many types of love.
Love is inherent in all human cultures. It is precisely these cultural differences that make any universal definition of love difficult to establish. Expressions of love may include the love for a soul or mind, love of laws, love for a body, love for nature, love of food, love of money, love for learning, love of power and fame, love for respect, and many more. Different cultures and people place varying degrees of importance on the kinds of love they receive.
Love is essentially an abstract concept, easier to experience than to explain. In this paper I will talk about the many different forms and beliefs of love through different scientific, cultural, and religious beliefs. There have been many different scientific views taken up for love. Each views represents solid aspects of love and none can be written off. All biological models of love seem to see love as an animal drive, just like hunger and thirst. Psychology sees love as more of social and cultural creation.
There are elements of truth in each view, as love is certainly influenced by hormones, pheromones, and how people think and behave in love is influenced by the conceptions of love. The conventional view of biology, attraction and attachment, says that there are two major drives in love, sexual attraction and attachment. The traditional view of psychology see love as being a combination of compassionate love and passionate love. It describes passionate love as intense longing, and it is often accompanied by physiological arousal.
These physiological arousals would include, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, sweaty palms, and more. This theory describes compassionate love as an affection and a feeling of intimacy not accompanied by the physiological arousals. The next theory, designed by Robert Sternberg characterizes love in an interpersonal relationship on three different scales: intimacy, passion, and commitment. This theory shows different stages and types of love, explained as different combinations of the three elements. Some examples of different types of love and how they fit into his theory are; Liking, including only one element of love - intimacy, infatuated love, consisting of only passion, and empty love, commitment lacking intimacy and passion.
Sternberg's theory also speaks of the combinations of these elements. Companionate love is a form of love that combines friendship and commitment. This love is generally a personal relation built with someone you share your life with, but with no physical or sexually desire. This is love that is shared by family members and deep friends. Consummate love is Sternberg's most complete love, containing all three elements: intimacy, passion, and commitment.
Though popular other beliefs and theories of love have been created. Susan Hendrick developed a Love Attitude Scale which she called Love Styles. She identified six basic theories that people use in their interpersonal relationships: Eros, passionate physical love; Lupus, playful love; Storge, affectionate love developed slowly; Pragma, pragmatic love; Mania, highly emotional love; and Agape, selfless, spiritual love. She found that men tend to be more ludic and manic, where as women more stor gic and pragmatic.
She also found that relationships based on similar love styles were found to last longer. The final scientific approach to love that will be discussed is the main phases of love. Helen Fisher found that there are three main phases of love: lust, attraction, and attachment. Her theory stated that a relationship will generally start in lust, strong in passion but weak in the other elements. The relationship will then enter the attraction stage, where the person will concentrate their affection on a single person and fidelity will become important.
She then found that at about 30 months this attraction with transition into attachment. At this stage, passions will fade, changing from consummate to companionate love. These are some scientific approaches to love, unbound by border, culture, or religion. Though there are many different cultures and many different beliefs of love. There are four major theory or beliefs of love from the Chinese, Japanese, the Ancient Greeks, and the Ancient Romans. In the modern Chinese language and culture, several terms are used for the concept of love.
Ai, used as a verb means, "I love you" and as a noun, it has come to mean lover. Qing, referring to a feeling or emotion, often indicates love in several terms. Lian, not generally used alone, but instead as part of "being in love". Confucianism saw Lian as a virtuous benevolent love that should be pursued by all humans.
The Chinese have many terms that describe love in very different terms. In Japenese Buddhism, Ai is a passionate caring love. They believe that it can develop into either selfishness or selflessness and enlightenment. The Ancient Greeks distinguished several different senses in the uses of the word love, most famously; philia, eros, agape, storge and xenia. Agape, means love in modern day Greek, refers to a pure, ideal type of love rather than the physical attraction suggested by eros.
Eros is described as a passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. Modern Greek defines philia as friendship, a dispassionate virtuous love. This love includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and it is said to require virtue, equality, and familiarity. Storge means affection in modern Greek, like that felt by parents for offspring. Greeks are known for their warm hospitality, and that has spawned from Ancient Greek's xenia, which means hospitality. The Ancient Latins and the Latin language has severally different verbs to the English word, love.
Amare is the basic word for love and it is still in Italian today. Dili gere has the notion to be affectionate for, but rarely is used for romantic love. Caritas is used in Latin translations of the Christian Bible to me charitable love. This meaning is not found in classical pagan Roman literature. Unlike cultural beliefs, religious beliefs have become more called upon and are followed by more around the world. There are many religious views on love, but most commonly there are six major origins of belief.
The Christian religion bears a resemblance to the belief of the Greeks, with common terms such as Agape, Philo, Eros, and Storge. An influential Christian theologian, C.S. Lweis, followed these terms and wrote a book called The Four Loves. Christians believe that to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself are the two most important things in life. The Christians also believe that God felt so much agape for man that he sacrificed his son for them. In Buddhism, maitr i is benevolent love, unconditional and requires considerable self acceptance. This ideal is very different from the ordinary love, which consists of attachment and sex, which rarely occurs without self interest.
In Hinduism, kama is known as pleasurable, sexual love, personified by the god Kama. In contrast to kama, prema refers to elevated love. In Islam, Is hq is divine love. In Hebrew, ahava is the most common term for both interpersonal love and love of God. Judaism uses a wide definition of love, both between people and between man and the Deity. Many different cultures have deified love, typically in male and female form.
Irish mythology has; Aine, the goddess of passionate love and Aonghus, the god of beauty and sensual love. Roman mythology consists of; Cupid, god of passionate love and Venus, goddess of beauty and passionate love. Some other major deities are: Aphrodite, goddess of passionate love in Greek mythology; Inanna, goddess of love and war in Sumerian mythology; Ishtar, goddess of love and war in Babylonian mythology; and Xochipilli, god of love in Aztec mythology. These are just some of all the different beliefs and theories of love. Though I have discussed the major beliefs and theories of love, there are many more that I have not been able to discuss. All of these different cultures, religions, and theories seem to share common threads in and out of their beliefs.
Though all the different meanings of the word love, we experience it everyday in many different forms. From friendship, to family, to relationships, to our relationship with our God, we are all loved in different ways. No matter your beliefs, culture, or religion, we can all say that we give and receive love.