July 09, 2007
Have you ever fallen in love? Many people of different ages would say they have.
The word "love" is one of the most broad terms used in today's vocabulary. Scientists
and psychologists have literally broken up the "love" into many various meanings. Yet
the question still lies. What is love?
Webster's Dictionary describes love as "a deep affection or fondness." Most
favored definitions include selflessness, friendship, union, family, and bonding. The
majority of people like to associate love with sex or other physical acts (which,
heartbreakingly, is not always the case.) Debate is always up in the air, seeing if love
even exists! Some reject the "emotion" as if it is false or meaningless. Others believe
love is a recently-invented abstraction to Europe during or after Middle Ages. Yet, many
believe love really exists, and must, to keep the world going 'round.
The Bible breaks from the "emotional attachment" definition and depicts love as
an active behavior. Love is something to be acted out. This definition is described in 1
Corinthians 13:4-8: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is
not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record
of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects,
always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." The Bible as an entity
in itself is about love being the energy behind life. According to John 4:8, God IS love.
The Bible backs this up with many stories. God was the first to love mankind. He
searched and created the "relationship." Need not to mention the sacrifice, his only son,
so that our sins would be forgiven. This has been able to manifest its way into how we
fuction as humans today. This is shown by the love of a mother to her baby. Many
mothers would do anything for their children. All in all, the Bible shows us that love is a
Since we have so many different perspectives on love, there is no option but to
have many different sections. Even during Greek times, scientists and psychologists had
trouble breaking up love into their own meanings. They decided to match up love with
how one another acts towards them. Certain behavior may be stronger or weaker,
depending on the type of love they feel.
Eros is the most risque of loves. It is sexual or physical love because the physical
attraction between to people provokes the sexual behavior. Ludis is the teasing or flirting
love. This love is hand in hand with teenagers. Many people between thirteen to their
early twenties refer to this love as "The Game." It resembles a cat and mouse chase, one
is always trying to catch the interest of another. Ludis love is urging, but not always
intended to "quench the thirst" of one's desire. This love most likely leads to Eros. Philo
love is brotherly love. Many sport teams are banded together by this love. The
characters are unified by working toward a common goal, such as, winning the big game.
Storage equals the friendship sort of love. This love is grows along with respect and
concern for the other's interest. Much more excitement and companionship is in this
love. The logical love is called Pragma. It is the kind of love that comes during an actual
relationship; it makes one person worry if the other partner would be a good parent.
Since this love is built from current relationships, it is also based on interests and
common backgrounds that the two people share. It is most commonly paired up with
Philo, because it deals with love forming due to common goals. Mania is smothering,
possessive, dependent, or jealous love. Also known as "The Drama Love," due to the
variety of emotions one goes through during this love. This love can also be considered
as an obsession or a craving. Like many obsessions, Mania only leads to exaggerated
feelings and/or excessiveness. Agape is the self-sacrificing love. It is experience by
many others, people who are willing to sacrifice anything with no exceptions. Many
synonyms for Agape love include precious, beloved, and esteemed love, due to the
intensity or how deep one feels about another.
Now that we are in the present, many intellectuals have figured out how to name
and describe the "loves" that we still experience today. The different sciences have the
same principal of love, yet it is not exactly the same between biology and psychology.
In the biology definition, models show love being shown as a drive, a lot like
hunger or thirst. It is divided up into three (overlapping) stages: lust, attraction, and
attachment. Lust, the initiation, is the sexual desire that promotes mating. Lust is the
reason people go to clubs or bars; it gets the "victim" out of the house to meet people!
Duration for lust rarely exceeds a couple weeks. Attraction develops after lust, out of
commitment to an individual. This second stage more individualized and romantic than
lust. Research has proven that this stage lasts for one and a half to about three years. The
temporary stages are now over with; this third stage is accounted for long-term
relationships. The bonding and last stage, attachment, lasts for many, many years, maybe
decades. The generic bonds that attachment forms over are commitments such as
marriage and children. The psychology of love is somewhat similar, yet has it's
Psychologists have developed the "Triangle Theory of Love" and have argued
that love can be separated into three different sections: Intimacy, Commitment, and
Passion. (Citation) Intimacy can be built when two people are able to share secrets or
details of their personal lives. Intimacy can be found in friendships and romantic love
affairs. Commitment is different by being the exception that the relationship may last
forever. The most common and last form of love is sexual attraction and passion.
Infatuation and romantic love are from two completely different ends of the spectrum, yet
they share one bond: passion. This caused researchers to delve into passion and break it
into two independent groups: Erotic Passion and Romantic Passion. Some Western
researchers divide love into two simpler parts: the Altruistic and the Narcissistic. These
researchers still maintain that love is a combination of the concern for all growth of
others, and simply loving yourself. In this set, love is an activity, not just a feeling.
As one does love, bonds are formed. These bonds can also be categorized in their
own groups. Any type of bond named will be either a physical bond or a neurological
bond. (Citation) Physical bonds are typically in a sexual nature. Another type of a
physical bond would be how close you are to another person (i.e. if you are neighbors or
by blood through siblings.) Neurological bonds deal more with mental attachment and
the psychological aspect of bondage.
The most common bond a person is believed to act in is a pair bond. This bond
type refers to every connection one has with another person. Research has shown that
bonds such as these that last a long time shared food with each other. The maternal bond
is one of the first bonds to develop. It begins during and following pregnancy.
Breastfeeding has played an important part in the maternal bond a mother shares with her
baby. Since breastfeeding problems can occur, this effect is not universal. The paternal
bond connects the baby to their father. In some families, this bond does not even exist,
due to many children growing up in fatherless lifetimes. Paternal bonds, often or not, are
more noticeable later in a child's life, after a language develops. The affectionate bond or
emotional bond, is based on humans looking for attachment to another person and to feel
safe around that person when they are around. This bond is also present in many now
domesticated animals. Scientists proposed that babies have the need from birth to
connect with other humans is built into their brains. This increases the chance of
survival, because the infant will get the care it needs. Limerent bonds are the bonds for
people going through a limerent reaction. The meaning behind limerent is when one or
both people in the relationship experience passion mixed with a variety of emotions,
including fear of rejection, deeper thinking, and hope. All relationships can either be
affectional (when no one is limerent), limerent-nonlimerent (when only one person is
limerent), or limerent-limerent (when both are limerent.) None of the bond categories
would be complete with the Erotic bond. Scientists have may found the brain develops a
"love map," a section of the brain that may be "coded" with positive and negative factors.
These factors may attract or repel another person with other erotic tastes. With this love
map, people unconsciously check what kind of person is most compatible with their
The brain perceives love in many different ways. The reason behind this being
that there are so many different chemicals released into the brain as one "falls in love."
These chemicals are processed, other levels rise, and these make us feel certain ways.
Oxytocin is the most prominent bonding molecule in love. It is sometimes called
the "cuddle chemical." These levels rise during kissing and foreplay, and peak during
orgasm. Vasopressin is responsible for making loving memories during passionate
situations. The chemical also causes clarity and alertness during sexual pleasures.
Endorphin (also known as the chocolate hormone) is the calming pain killer in one's
system. When there is a surplus of endorphins, there is a sensitivity of touch and visual
stimulations. This chemical also has a lasting impression on long term relationships by
maintaining positive thoughts and attachment. Dopamine is the desire molecule. As
dopamine levels increase, so do passion levels. These elevated levels can be associated
with romantic love. Prolactin is a motherly hormone. Scientists and researchers call this
the mom hormone because this stops the female and male sex drive. Men snakes have
been reported to carry squalene, a repellent that stops male courtship within the species.
Cortisol is another primary hormone associated with love. It helps restore homeostasis
after a long moment of stress. High levels of cortisol are found in those with a new
partner and with the objective of establishing a new relationship. There are also
chemicals that only occur in one sex. Estrogen is the feminization hormone, where as,
testosterone is the masculinization hormone. Women high in estrogen are more likely to
bond with men who have high testosterone levels.
Love, whether you have stumbled or "fallen" into it, is a mystery that has been
puzzling mankind for many, many centuries. Portions of people do not want the secrets
of love to be discovered, for the magic of this emotion may be lost forever. Between all
the debates of it existing, to the chemicals it releases, there is certainly a force among us
as human beings and even as animals. This force causes us great pleasure, and when lost,
could also, in turn, cause us great pain.