What is Love?
To Nietzsche, Love is Envy
The person you love is the person you envy
You strive to be a better person out of love; the person you love has the qualities and traits you admire.
Envy, in the context of love, is meant to bring an aspirational ideal and foster a relationship of striving. You make each other better. You want to become a better person for the sake of your lover.
But envy and jealously can bring on issues such as obsession or resentment, to the point where love turns destructive. Instead, the desire to become a better person transforms into an ugly desire to destroy the other person, bringing them down to one’s own level, or placing them on an unreachable pedestal as you fawn over them.
To Aristophanes, Love completes you
Before humans looked like the way we look now, we were instead these round blobs with two heads, four arms, four legs. We rolled around the Earth and, through our pride, sought power, and sought to overtake the Gods.
Zeus saw the humans’ lack of humility and struck us with his lightning, separating every human blob in half.
A single head. Two arms. Two legs.
Love is seeking, quite literally, your other half. I suppose the ancient Greek philosophers knew about this cliche far before modern rom-com writers.
Yet, this mentality of finding a lover to “complete” you make us fall into a disastrous trap of dependability.
IF YOU ARE SINGLE YOU ARE NOT WHOLE. IF YOU ARE ALONE YOUR LIFE IS NOT FULFILLED. IF YOU ARE NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP, YOU ARE INCOMPLETE.
When finding a Lover becomes your sole responsibility and goal in life, you start to lose sight of other things that are valuable that make life fulfilling. Most importantly, you forget the most powerful love, which is self-love. How can you expect love from someone else if you do not love yourself?
If you do not love yourself, and you seek this lack of self-love from someone else to complete you, you will fall into a cycle of lacking.
There is power in independence. There is humility in being single.
A relationship will not necessarily “complete” you. Succumbing to this ideal not only disrespects your individuality but also creates a mentality of dependability.
A true, powerful and sustainable relationship, are two independently complex individuals (as all individuals are equally uniquely complex) coming together to form a stronger bond that is greater than the sum of its parts. A Lover should not make you “whole”. A lover should embellish who you already are as an individual.
To Diotima, Love is Spiritual
Love is a ladder – different steps we must take before reaching true Love.
We start with the physical, the weakest form of love yet a very necessary step of the ladder. We must first appreciate the beauty of the physical before we move on to the beauty of the soul and appreciate the emotional aspect of beauty. Here we fall in love with a personality, with virtue, with ideals. Eventually, we move to spirit, and essence, and the very idea of beauty itself. Love becomes much more complex and more abstract. We love one’s essence. We love beauty itself and we see this true form of beauty in those we love. The purest form of love is the love of all beauty, humanity, and God.
As we move up the steps of the ladder, the forms of love at the lower steps become less valuable. When you fall in love with one’s personality, the physical becomes less important. Yet, to move up the ladder means we must move through a sequential guide, but love knows no bounds and should not be restrained by some ladder of steps.
What is Love?
I believe Love continues to elude us because there are no true criteria.
Love knows no bounds.
Love is patient. Love is kind
Love is unconditional. But, perhaps it should be conditional.
Love is Envy. Love completes us. And love is spiritual.
To Love is to Live.