Monday, August 30, 2010

TLS - Chapter One: What is Love?


This is NOT conclusive and NOT absolute. Once again, I clarify that I do not know all there is to know on love. I am also learning on the way. But I hope that this helps you view love through a different perspective.

I am getting very frustrated as I type this out because, there aren't many English words that can be used to fully explain what I want to say! It's not just my vocab, it's because language is limited. So I advise you to look beyond the words. Look beyond the theory. Don't let your mind stop you from trying to grasp the meaning of love.

Once again, these are all inspired by and based on Christian values. But, I think we can afford a few lessons on love, considering how deprived of it we all are, right? =)

I took a sip of my iced plain water, taking in all the conversations going around me. There was a lot of chatter on who had got hitched recently, who broke up and what not. I listened silently, trying to digest as much as I could from my chatty ex-schoolmates.

I was out on a gathering with my ex-schoolmates. 7 of them. 7 girls to be exact. I was the only guy, and they were sorta updating me, and the others as they pored upon each other's love life.

I turned to A and we started talking. Since we were all on the topic of hook ups and recent hitching, I asked her whether anyone was vying for her attention. She immediately started blushing and I knew something was up. B who was sitting next to A answered for her almost immediately saying that not only was someone after her, but she had accepted the guy's request to be his girlfriend.

I was stunned for a few minutes, trying to allow this new information to sink into my numbskull. After it had, obviously, I started bombarding her with questions, trying to get every single detail.

After I was persuaded that I knew more than enough, I now realized why A had had this kind of glow when I first saw her sitting there. She was in a relationship, happy and somewhat satisfied.

She was in love.

We often wonder, what actually is love? Yes, we feel it. The effects it has on us are obvious. But what is it actually? Why does love make us feel the way it does?

I don't think there is anyone on this earth who can define love to its fullest detail. It is too diverse, too sacred and too overwhelming for complete understanding. In other words, we cannot harness love to a single definition.

So, in our quest of finding out what love really is, let us first establish what are some of the things that are often mistaken for love.

1. Love is not just emotions.

Love is definitely more then just an emotion. Emotion in simple terms is defined as a response that your mind sends our as neural signals to your situations or surroundings. For example, if you are in a fight, your mind takes in the situation and responds with rage. The depth of the emotion depends on the intensity of the situation. The more intense the situation, the more intense the emotion. That's why the nervousness you feel when you have your blood taken and the nervousness you feel before a major surgery differs greatly.

Since this applies for our emotions,if love were merely an emotion, that would mean that when situations change, so does the depth, the height and the quality of love. If this were true, that makes love even more unstable than Uranium or Francium. As situations around us change all the time, does that mean that the definition and the value of love changes with?

NO! This immediately makes it impossible for love to exist merely as an emotion. In actual fact, love is much, much, much deeper than an emotion you feel. Yes, it is a factor of emotion, but love is not essentially an emotion in itself. If it were merely an emotion, than all the above applies to it, and that would make love the most frail and the weakest value that mankind possesses.

The reason why we always assume that love is just an emotion is because it is often confused with affection and infatuation which are both emotions. Our affections for people change daily, our crushes and infatuations change continually, but our love doesn't.


Here is an analogy. Let's say you have a little sister. When she is a good girl, it is very easy to be affectionate towards her. But when she is naughty, you won't be as affectionate towards her at that point of time. Why? Because the situation has changed. Therefore, we respond differently. The level of our affection decreases. We are harsher.

But does that mean your love for her has gone away? No. It hasn't.

Here is another example. Parents who beat their kids when their kids do wrong. Does this mean the parents stopped loving the kids when they picked up the cane?

Note that I said "when their kids do wrong", NOT "abusive parents". I think naughty kids should be beaten! (but that's for another post XD)

These parents still feel love for their children. But their affections for their kids change at that point of time because of the circumstance of the situation. But the affections come back in a little while.

Same with infatuation. Infatuation in plain English is crush la. When you feel good feelings for someone, that is the point of time when you are infatuated. When you are infatuated, certain things in the opposite sex turn you off. These things are not necessarily bad habits, but there are things that turn you off. And infatuation can go away just as it comes. This is clearly an emotion, existing as it is because of the situation you are in at that time.

So, by this, we can conclude that love is not just emotion.

2. Love is not just words.

Today, we use "I love you" for almost everyone. We throw that term around as if it were a "hello" or "goodbye".

Seriously, ask yourself. How many people outside your family have you said "I love you" to this week. If you're like me, having many pet sisters (yes, I am guilty as charged =( ), you'd have probably used it more than 5times this week.

"I love you" has become so common, it has lost most of its meaning and value. It has become a cliche. How can love; pure, sacred love be associated with something so cheap as talk. Yes, there is useful and meaningful and knowledgeable talk, but honestly, how often do we say "I love you" after explaining the quantum theory?

You know what is even suck-ier? Nowadays, we often say "I love you" when we want to get things out from people. When we want to exploit others. You disagree? Well, when your dad allows you to go for that party, or that outing, you usually first respond with an "I love you Daddy" don't you? Or when your friend does something for you and you say "Love you bro/babe".

You're a good and filial daughter? A good friend? Fair enough. Accepted.

What about when some of us are asking someone for sex? When we trade an "I love you" for that person's virginity. Does that justify the use of "I love you"?

How can true love be used in such ungrateful and lying talk? Doesn't this show that love is truly not just words?

3. Love is not just action.

Well, since I have knocked down the two main assumptions of love, love's gotta be action right?

Love is not presents. Yes, though we give our loved ones gifts, but you do not love everyone you give gifts to do you?

Love is not to be confused with the showering of gifts. Materialistic parents shower their kids with gifts. Adulterous business men shower their mistresses with gifts too. If you can clearly categorize these 2 as not real love, how can love merely be action? Just because you do something for someone, does that means you love them?

Okay, here comes the punchline. Love is not just emotions, not just words and not just action. But emotions, words and action are love.

Are you more confused now then from whence we began? Haha.

Let me explain. Mere emotions, mere words and mere actions are not love. But love encompasses these 3.

Why did you discredit the 3 elements so quickly? That is what is wrong with our human brain. We are so quick to push things aside. We are a quick fix generation, we want black and white! Indefinite things are viewed as unstable and irrelevant.

The 3 elements above are in actual fact products of love. When we feel love, we express it in these 3 areas. But the 3 on its own do not define love. Love defines these 3. Can you get me?

Love is an application. A practice. A value. A lifestyle. An expression. A belief. Hope. Love is divine.

In its essence, love did not originate from humans. No. Love is not a formula of some scientist. It isn't an idea of a philosopher. Love was given to us. It did not belong to us initially, but yet we have it now. Thus we can only conclude that it was given to us.

One thing that we can clearly confirm is, love is NOT human in nature. Just take a look around you. Does love cause so much pain? So much suffering? For someone to have come up with so intricate, so pure, that "someone" has to be pure in his own nature. In his own being, that "someone" has to be love to create love. To contain love. To maintain love.

Doesn't this just further proves that there IS a God? Not some cosmos holding up the universe. Not some impersonal force that keeps the ying and yang in balance. No! For something so personal as love to exist, the Creator has to be personal, intimate, loving.

If you can think of someone else who fits the description other than God, let me know. I'll eat my shoe. =)

Is that all? Well, no. Love actually has a form. It has an appearance. A physical appearance.

How so? Just as morse code is interpreted into a message, so is love coded out into our lives. The physical appearance of love is how you live you life. In other words, you are the form of love. You are the appearance of love.

This might be very weird, but look beyond the words. Don't get caught up in the phrasing of my sentences. Try to envision yourself as love. When liquid fills a container, it takes the shape of container. Same thing. When there is love in you, it takes the shape of you. How much width is the neck, or how wide is the bottom. Love takes its form IN you. How you express it out can show whether your "container" is big or small. The shape of love is shown our capacity to love.

When we have love in our lives, naturally our perspectives will change. Our hearts are softened. We actually take time to consider and think about things that we usually don't.

The fact is, all of life comes down the love. Why? Because love is the reason why we do things. Why we work, why we have passions, why we love others. Love motivates us. And if this is so, love has to be much more then sentiment, for who can live on sentiment alone?

Here is a biblical perspective of love.

Love is patient and kind;
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have or boast;
It is not proud or rude.
It does not force its own way;
It is not irritable or hold a grudge;
It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love is the greatest paradox of life. Love is not mere action, but it is sacrifice(action). Love is not just an emotion, but it births affection(emotion). Love is not just words, but it affirms and builds us up through words. In love, when you choose to die, you live on. In love, if you try to save what you own, you will lose it.

The bible gave us an ultimatum. There is no greater love than that of a man who lays down his life for his friends. That is the maximum of love. Any higher level of love would be a man laying down his life for his enemies.

Are you still trying to use your brain to figure out what is love? Don't. Use your heart.

Love complements.
Love transcends.
Love transforms.
Love fulfills.
Love commits.
Love endures.
Love loves.

Love never fails. Anything less, isn't love.

Much Love,

3 opinion(s):

Elaine said...

Very very very well written, didi. =) Thanks for sharing. =)

japheth said...

excellent bro,excellent :)

|| anna || said...

:) indeed answered my question i'hv been asking for the past couple of days. thanks fr sharing :)