Soon after we met, my future to be wife said, “I love you”. That moment had all the ideal romantic overtones one could ask for… us out in the forest, a moonlit summer’s night. Being the bubble busting bum of which I’m capable, I replied with something like, “What do you mean love? What’s love?” Frankly, the word had lost its “magic”, after being dumped by my ex-wife the year before (1).
This word has piqued my curiosity again, now that my sons are dating. The word love presents a good example of the iffy nature of words, names, and language over all. There are many words that are more or less synonymous with love.
The most synonymous, in my view, are the simple words need and like. I can say I love, like or need ice cream, sunny days, you, everyone, nothing, etc. The words like, need, and love work equally well. Not surprisingly, my thesaurus doesn’t see it that way. (Go ahead, take a look at yours.)
Generally, more passion (emotion) is associated with love than with like or need. This shows how loose if not outright contradicting language can be. It enables us to rationalize life anyway we wish. Seeing love and need as basically the same thing makes this more difficult to do. It bring the whole issue down to the need (and need’s source spring fear, the bed rock of emotion).
Love, I know, carries a special meaning of which we are all fond. In the “special meaning” we sow the seeds of hypocrisy, however well intentioned we may be. To say love is simply the wolf of need in sheep’s clothing sounds very cynical at first glance. We want to convey a special magical-mystical-spiritual meaning: all the way from we love God and God loves us, down to love of friends and family. And that is where the inconsistencies enter in. It is in a way, to paraphrase chapter one, the love that can be spoken of is not the constant love. A ‘truer’ love must be non-directional, by definition. Thus, without a profound sense of impartiality, love can only refer to some aspect of need.
Consider these correlation pairs(2). The active, or yang, are on top; the passive, or yin, are on the bottom. The word love, as it is often used correlates more to the active side; ‘truer’ love would correlate more to the passive side. These can be read in a clockwise direction. For example, the first set read thus: need rushes love; love waits need. The next set reads: life takes death; death gives life. To make sense of these connections, it will help to have your mind like that of a fool – how blank!… (and so on).
gives <- death
Now, ponder the qualities that the ‘active yang’ words share with each other. Next, compare all this with the qualities that the ‘passive yin’ words share with each other.
Need (active / yang) =rush=life=take=new=stirs=war =bias=something=fill=energy=burn=dream=excite.
Love (passive / yin) =waits=death=give=old=calm=peace =impartial=nothing=empty=time=quench=reality=bore.
(1) I was totally attached, or loyal depending on how you look at it. I doubt I’d have ever left her. Thankfully she had the good sense to know we were not the match made in heaven I’d talked myself into believing we were.
(2) If you’re new to correlations these posts may help: