The Nature of Love

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“Harry couldn’t help it, he was in love”. What does such a statement imply about the nature of love? Write an essay which argues your particular view on the nature of love and the object of that love. Limit your answer to the notion of romantic love and use Robert Ehman as a starting point.

Everybody seems to believe that love is a good thing. However, not all agree on what love is. Is love that warm fuzzy feeling a person has when they are with a familiar person? According to the Bible, love is caring in action. Love is not what we feel, but what we do; however the object of love is not defined. (Bible Gateway, 2012) In this discussion I will describe what the nature of love is based on the idea of love as a verb, as something one does and how the object of that love is affected by nature. I believe love is an event that happens to us, that is out of our control and not an action. As Robert Ehman (1989) suggests to experience true love, it is the qualities of a person and not the person themselves that leads you to feel and act upon your love. Not everyone will experience being in love. The idea that nature affects how one defines love shows how in different cultures love has become socialised and what is normal when referring to love. As stated by Harlow, (1958) love responses begin to form extremely early on in the development of an infant between an infant and the mother. This reflects the idea that love is a verb to love being an emotion.

Robert Ehman, (1989) argues the exclusivity of love is “a mere species of either ethical relationships sexual desire or the dialectical struggle to dominate the other.” (p. 256) To expand further he suggests it is an event, where the event is the act of ‘doing.’ To experience true love is about the personal connection between two individuals and how they are emotionally drawn to one another. The ‘dialectical struggle’ refers to the “truth of opinions” that become important as a person adapts to sharing their personal side with their lover. (Oxford dictionary, 2012) Ehman (1989) continues to state the aim of personal love is to show that powerful emotions of love itself are unique in an individual’s style of life. The feeling of the beloved can be different for different people but only true love exists when the connection is the same. The aim of true love is always to “share the private and intimate dimensions of both your lives.”(p. 256)

The statement “Harry couldn’t help it, he was in love,” reflects the idea of Ehman’s belief that love is a verb, something we do. It suggests that it is something one does without any control. How does one ‘do love’ can be argued from many points of view. Sigmund Freud (2006) describes the basis of doing love is mostly driven by uncontrollable feelings of the “sexual attractiveness of the object.” (p. 34) The object of Harry’s love is who he loves and an example of Harry ‘doing’ love could be sharing his personal side with who he loves as well as putting the relationship with who he loves above all other relationships in his life. This idea is described by Ehman is called true love. True love is when both lovers share a connection with each other where their personal sides are shared. For example both partners share their love for each other. If Harry loved a girl but she did not love him back from Ehman’s view this is not true love. It is merely Harry confusing his emotions of lust with emotions of love. (Ehman, 1989)

Love can be viewed as an emotion and according to Stendhal, Tennov and Proust, (1954) emotions of love can be generated by many other emotions and thoughts. For example what could have been done or what might have happened to cause this emotion and event of love. An emotion can be characterized by a number of things a person does or ways the react in situations that are immediately noticeable before any scientific analysis is carried out. (Elster, 1999) Not all emotions are necessary, good or bad. This draws upon the idea...
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