Love is a complex feeling that is often described as warm and protective. It is a very broad concept, encompassing non-human animals, principles, and even religious beliefs. Different people have argued about the meaning of love for many centuries. Although most people agree that love is an intense feeling of affection, there is some disagreement as to what constitutes love. We’ll talk about each one separately. Here are some definitions of love:
Intimacy: The bestowal of value is a core feature of love. According to Singer (2017), the process of bestowing value on another involves assessing and valuing the beloved. Love is also about the self-appraisal and fulfillment of the lover. The latter is the primary end of love. Moreover, love also involves giving pleasure to the beloved. We give our lover value by caring about her needs and delighting in her achievements.
Appraisal: Another way to understand love is as a creative act. When someone expresses love for another, it is not a response to an appraisal of the object. This approach makes love a complex experience. It requires a special kind of understanding. Love cannot be reduced to the appraisal of antecedent value. However, it can be interpreted in the context of the antecedent values of the beloved. That’s why it’s important to recognize the antecedent value of love.
An emotion complex view focuses on the interrelations between lovers. It emphasizes the historical patterns of emotional responsiveness and projects them into the future. This view helps account for the intuitive “depth” of love. Hence, love is a complex emotional process that is based on the interdependence of two people. The four major views of love are listed below. The categories may overlap. However, many accounts of love are quasi-reductionistic, meaning that they understand love in terms of notions such as affection, evaluation, and attachment.
A person’s definition of love is subjective. For example, it might be temporary, but to others, it may be permanent. Biological and cultural factors can influence love. Nevertheless, there is no clear definition of love, which has caused numerous debates and contradictory results. Love can be based on biological and evolutionary factors, and can vary from one person to another. It can be culturally determined, but it can also be self-determined.
Despite the many definitions of love, it is still only recently that it has become a subject of scientific study. Psychologist Sigmund Freud argued that love is a subject worthy of scientific study. However, he noted that love has been subject to thousands of years of artistic treatment. However, early explorations of love drew criticism from some quarters. U.S. Senator William Proxmire derided love research as a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Jesus also urged His followers to develop agape, which is a form of concern for another human being. This type of love involves affection, compassion, and self-sacrifice, and has its roots in God’s Triune nature. As the image-bearer of God, we have the unique experience of loving. In the same way, a dog owner may care for a pet, but this is not agape love.