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Simon Didn’t Say Love Was Easy, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1082

Essay

Introduction

Nothing matters more to human beings than love, and nothing is less easy to define than love.  It is an emotion that creates the most intense happiness people may experience, as it is the feeling that can bring the most intense suffering.  Love defies definition, in fact, because it may take a virtually limitless number of forms.  It is nonetheless irrefutable that love has been a guiding force in human history, and has also been the central concern of most people since recorded time.  As untold numbers of poets, artists, and scholars have examined the subject and probed its many meanings, the following may only offer a brief idea of the essence of love.  This reveals, however, that love, and in any of its forms, influences human thinking and behavior as no other force known can.

Discussion

There can be no real understanding of love without some sense of the different ways in which it is manifested, and romantic love first commands attention.  When people speak of love, they usually refer to the romantic kind, in which two people are drawn to another with so strong an attraction, their existences are altered by it.  In romantic love, and when it is reciprocal, intense affection typically combines with physical attraction and deep respect to create a powerful bond.  The classic state of “falling in love” is often seen as mysterious, but certain conditions are identified as enhancing its possibility.  For example, those involved in a healthy process of falling in love usually have the abilities or willingness to express gratitude and disclose their most intimate personal information, and also have solid senses of self-esteem (Knox, Schacht 90).  All of this in fact goes to an idealized state of love; two people come together because their individual natures, and the emotional and physical connections uniquely in place by virtue of these natures, enables the love to exist.  This is as well the love most celebrate in art and literature, and a very critical aspiration of men and women in general. This is the love that is supremely fulfilling, and which of itself adds inestimable value to living.  This being the case, both love and the desire for romantic love are the primary ambitions of men and women, so love’s presence as influencing human behavior is reinforced.

Non-romantic types of love, however, may be equally powerful, if different in essential character.  Close friends, for example, share bonds that often go to love, in that they feel mutual levels of affection and caring which exist on visceral levels.  This is a love more easily defined than the romantic, and basically because, the depth of affection notwithstanding, it is usually centered on known qualities.  Close friends actively support one another and are connected by histories and/or fully shared experiences and identities. There is a similarity with romantic love here, in that the love is generated because there is the awareness that the other is contributing significantly to the well-being of the beloved (Thomas 52).  It translates to the innate belief that, without this other person, life would be less meaningful, and the individual life would be less recognized as valuable.  The difference lies in that this friendship love is based on as full a knowledge of another person’s being as may be known to another, and romantic love does not require this element.  Similarly, familial love is subject to more exact definition even as, as with all types, the emotion itself defies categorization.  Parental love, for instance, is usually marked by sustained altruism; as the parent consistently devotes the self to caring for the child, the love bond is created and/or reinforced.  It is a matter of commitment, and the child’s sense of this commitment triggers the reciprocal love (Thomas 53).  At the same time, it is important to note that parents are often guided to commit in these ways by a love that must be called primal; there is a reflexive and urgent need to love the child, so the reality of love as a paramount influence on thinking and behavior is affirmed.

Less definable are those forms of love which do not neatly fall into the romantic, familial, or friendship models.  More exactly, the nature of love is inevitably complex, which translates to its existing through unlikely means, or through how other emotions actually create it.  There is, for example, the legendary story of the Princess Ulele.  In the early 16th century, the Tocobaga tribe of what is today Florida captured three Spaniards, and were determined to execute them as retribution for the abuses of other Spanish explorers.  When the young captive Juan Ortiz was about to be burned alive, Ulele threw her body over his: “Her father then agreed to spare the boy’s life” (Guzzo).  It is unknown whether any sort of relationship existed between Ortiz and Ulele, although it seems likely that they could only have at most seen one another.  If this likelihood was indeed the case, there is then the extraordinary reality of a powerful love generated by compassion, and perhaps a sense of recognition; that is, Ulele may have understood Ortiz to be her love based on nothing but a visceral knowledge of this.  Then, if compassion was the motivation, there remains ample reason to view the act as one of true love, if of a “non-personal” kind.  In other words, Ulele’s sense of the boy’s right to live triggered in her an intense need to protect his life, and such a sacrifice may only be prompted by love.  Once again, then, it is seen how vastly influential love is on human beings.

Conclusion

Any discussion of love invariably leads to multiple issues because, in a sense, it is always an attempt to define the undefinable.  It exists for people as they individually feel it and no two forms can ever be identical. Nonetheless, there are aspects to love, and in all its forms, that may be identified.  Perhaps the most important of these goes to effect, rather than substance.  It is what love generates that gives it meaning, so love can be known by virtue of what it actually does.  Ultimately, then, love is defined in that it influences human thinking and behavior as no other force known can.

Works Cited

Guzzo, Paul.  “Princess Ulele is local history mystery.”  The Tampa Tribune.  31 May 2014.<http://tbo.com/news/politics/princess-ulele-is-local-history-mystery-20140531/>

Knox, David, & Schacht, Catherine.  Choices in Relationships: An Introduction to Marriage and the Family. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning, 2012.

Thomas, Laurence.  Living Morally: A Psychology of Moral Character. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1989.

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