What is Love?

I can cover that in 500 words, right? Um, I don’t think so, but I can tell you some of my thinking about what love is, a subject that has been on my mind for a very long time. I’d like to thank Maria (ishaiyafreshlysqueezed.wordpress.com) for inspiring this post. She mentioned to me in a comment that my love for my brother (who is autistic, nonverbal and low functioning) comes through in my writing about him in this blog. Others have told me the same thing about my photographs.

How is this possible?

I have thought long and hard about my brother, trying to figure him out. That process involved writing, photography, drawing, reading and anything else I could do to enhance my understanding. Some people have said that my quest to understand him obsesses me. So, is love equivalent to obsessive compulsiveness? How does that come across in my writing; in my photographs?

It’s gonna be bad

In the movie, Moonstruck, Loretta Castorini is going to marry Johnny Cammareri. When her mother asks her if she is in love with him, she says, “No.” Her mother says, “Good. When you love them they drive you crazy because they know they can.”  Ronnie Cammareri professes his love for Loretta saying, “I love you. Not like they told you love is… love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything.”

Some endorsement! I feel like the grandfather in the movie, when he says, “I’m so confused.”

Different kinds of love

I’m not naïve enough to think there is only one kind of love, My scientific mind notes a similarity between different kinds of love and different species in the animal kingdom: 1) love between friends; 2) romantic love; 3) love of one’s parents; 4) love of one’s siblings; 5) love of ice cream.

Is there a taxonomy of love that includes the above categories and more?  Is there a spectrum of love, ranging from ambivalence to ‘like’ to love.  If this is true, why do people say things like, “I love my sister but I don’t like her.”? I really don’t get that one.

How does one know one is in love?

Is it like an LSD trip, where one sees stars and rockets going off (so I’ve heard). What are the feelings? A tightening in the chest? That could be the precursor to a heart attack. Is love like that? Is it like a phantom limb in the sense that if the object of love is not there, one still feels a presence? Is it a sad feeling, a happy feeling, a calm feeling, an agitated feeling? Is love wishful thinking? Is love feeling good about one’s self when one is with another person? Is love feeling the need better one’s self for the sake of the other person?

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