Philosophy of Love

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  • #1
Kerrie
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Is there such a thing as true love at first sight, or does true love take time? I personally feel that love is something that grows and is not instant, although others would disagree because of their own experiences...love is on my mind as I have officially become engaged to the love of my life this past week
 

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  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Kerrie
I have officially become engaged to the love of my life this past week

:smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile:

CONGRATULATIONS!

:smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile:
 
  • #3
Another God
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Congrats to you.
I always thought of love as something whic occurs over a long time etc. It makes most sense. How can you be expected to love something which you don't even know?

But I have recently changed my philosophy somewhat. I now believe that there is 'Recognition of Love at first sight.' As in, you can tell straight away whether you would be able to fall in love with someone or not. Of course, you can't BE in love with someone at first sight...you don't even know what you are in love with, but after several moments of conversation, you quickyl get that feeling which says to you "Yep...this person is awesome" or not... And from there, its only a matter of time.
 
  • #4
quantumcarl
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Originally posted by Kerrie
Is there such a thing as true love at first sight, or does true love take time? I personally feel that love is something that grows and is not instant, although others would disagree because of their own experiences...love is on my mind as I have officially become engaged to the love of my life this past week

I think what happens is learning. Learning must happen first. One must learn what they love before they can love something or someone.

Over time one becomes experienced in what turns their crank. Say its dark hair or blonde or curly red hair. Next say its a high forehead or shiney skin or low cheekbones with a stone imbedded in the lip.

Now say those preferences have deep seated roots in the person who is looking for love or willing to experience it.

They look for those features... but they also look for the attributes that come with a person who fulfills their physical ideas of something to love.

Say those attributes are social engagement or introvertedness or a good hearty laugh... etc... these will play a part in the first moments of meeting a person to love.

Say you love the Yang Se river. Say the mountains and the mist really turn you on. Say you go there because you intitially fell in love with the documentary you saw about the river. Say you go there to continue exploring your love for the place and the draw it has on you. Now say you get there and there are 18 trillion mosquitos, SARS victims and a flood because of non-stop rain.

Do you still love the Yang Se river? Or do you love the documentary you saw of it?

Some one who really commited to loving the Yang Se would take all the adversities with it and love it and continue to explore it to make sure this was their love.

They'd go up the river and a wind would blow and the sun would come out and it would get better. Then it might get dark and spooky, bandits might rob you or worse... all on the Yang Se river. Would you still love the river?

(edit)PS: I'm not too sure but I think what happens is that we love the experience of love... probably more than the stimulus that evokes the "love" response.

Kerry, please define "love" as it is used in your opening post. Thanks.
 
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  • #5
Sourire
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Originally posted by Another God
Congrats to you.
I always thought of love as something whic occurs over a long time etc. It makes most sense. How can you be expected to love something which you don't even know?

But I have recently changed my philosophy somewhat. I now believe that there is 'Recognition of Love at first sight.' As in, you can tell straight away whether you would be able to fall in love with someone or not. Of course, you can't BE in love with someone at first sight...you don't even know what you are in love with, but after several moments of conversation, you quickyl get that feeling which says to you "Yep...this person is awesome" or not... And from there, its only a matter of time.

FIRST OFF...............congrats!!!!! That is just awesome!!!!

I have to agree in that there may not be such a thing where you know the first time you lock eyes on the person but I do believe that within a short amount of time.... a couple of minutes or a couple of days you have either subconsciously made up your mind as to weather this is someone that has potential or someone who does not have a snowballs chance..... I think that men sometimes take longer to admit then woman but I really hate to generalize.
 
  • #6
Zantra
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Love at first sight? cmon people

There is LUST at first sight not love. You can be attracted to someone, but without actually talking to them, it's all physical, and that's called lust.

I'm currently engaged, and I can say for sure that it wasn't love at first sight. I mean maybe it was lust:wink: But definitely not love. That's something that happens gradually over time.
 
  • #7
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as i have said before, i don't "believe" in love. i recognize that it exist, of course, but i find it can be described in different terms. i would catogorize all feelings of love to being ways of getting that which we all need as biological entities: sex (primarily this), social acceptance, and freedom from loneliness.
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by maximus
as i have said before, i don't "believe" in love. i recognize that it exist, of course, but i find it can be described in different terms. i would catogorize all feelings of love to being ways of getting that which we all need as biological entities: sex (primarily this), social acceptance, and freedom from loneliness.

Do you believe in pain?
 
  • #9
maximus
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
Do you believe in pain?

do i believe in pain? what is that supposed to mean? of course i do, it can be observed in the brain and is felt daily. what are you trying to get out of this? pain is not as abstract idea as love.

note to my previous post: i maily covered romantic love, but as for brotherly love, or love of parents, i'd say it is evolutionarily favorable that we develope bonds between our parents, and also socially favorable if we are able to make freinds from aquantainces.
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by maximus
is felt daily

So is love.
 
  • #11
maximus
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
So is love.


as i said before, i don't disbelieve that the emotion of love exists, but that it is merely biological and pschological, and not the mystical experience we have made it out to be.
 
  • #12
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by maximus
as i said before, i don't disbelieve that the emotion of love exists, but that it is merely biological and pschological, and not the mystical experience we have made it out to be.

Love is just as real as pain.
 
  • #13
maximus
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
Love is just as real as pain.

okay. that's not being disputed here. can you deny that my points in my earlier posts are invalid? pain is physical and tangible, and so is love.
 
  • #14
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by maximus
okay. that's not being disputed here. can you deny that my points in my earlier posts are invalid? pain is physical and tangible, and so is love.

I don't think that evolution can account for the scope of the concept. Can you prove how I feel when I'm in pain, or are your observations limited to certain measurable quantities that hardly represent the scope of the experience?
 
  • #15
maximus
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
I don't think that evolution can account for the scope of the concept.

evolution is but one factor that can explain some factors of the "love" experience. as i have said before, there are also pschological reasons, along with sexual reasons. (most of which are subconcious)

Can you prove how I feel when I'm in pain?

to a degree, yes. observation of the brain can show whether you are actually experiencing pain. along with other biological factors, such as histamine levels.

or are your observations limited to certain measurable quantities that hardly represent the scope of the experience?

they are limited, but that is primarily technological limitations. theoretically, upon observing the brain we could know all feelings, and also their severity. but we're getting off topic.

----------

i shall repeat my previous post and claim that love is a physical and tangible emotion. can you disagree?
 
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  • #16
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by maximus
theoretically

So you have proposed a new theory to support your hypothesis? :wink:

Edit for poetry
 
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  • #17
hypnagogue
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I'm not sure I follow arguments that run along this line: 'I don't believe in love (or emotion X) because it is simply reducible to the product of evolutionary/societal/etc pressures.'
Certainly, love fulfills a function in the ongoing survival of our species. But does that degrade the personal, subjective experience of love?
Birds have developed the capability of flight 'merely' as a means of survival, whereas we humans have invented hang gliders just for the hell of it. Is our flight any better than the birds'?
The way I look at it is that natural selection works to keep a species alive. In our case, evolution has just happened to stumble upon this wonderful emotion called love and has harnessed it as a means for directing behavior in a manner beneficial for the species. But there is no philosophically necessary link between the subjective experience and the way nature has happened to associate it with certain behaviors. Maybe for people in Bizzaro World, sitting down and looking at the sky a certain way activates the same chemical/neural triggers that are correlated with the subjective experience of love, even though it serves no real purpose toward survival of the species. Nonetheless, the people of Bizzaro World sit down and look at the sky a lot because it just feels so nice. To them, the evolutionary causes and effects are irrelevant before the actual FEELING of being in love.
Analagously, it's just silly to say that the inquisitive mind that looks at nature in awe or the sympathetic mind that sees a piece of itself in a poem is nothing special just because these functions of the brain have developed for so-and-so reason, or just because these emotions are reducible to chemical reactions. It's missing the point. Science tells us that if we want to describe the objective world well, then the subjective is taboo; the inverse also holds.
 
  • #18
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
I'm not sure I follow arguments that run along this line:

I want to respond more later, but for now... I was really just trying to argue that one cannot reduce life to chemistry and equations based on logic. This requires a leap of faith as do all philosophies of such things.
 
  • #19
hypnagogue
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I agree... I was responding to maximus's posts. Sorry for the confusion.
 
  • #20
maximus
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
I'm not sure I follow arguments that run along this line: 'I don't believe in love (or emotion X) because it is simply reducible to the product of evolutionary/societal/etc pressures.'
Certainly, love fulfills a function in the ongoing survival of our species. But does that degrade the personal, subjective experience of love?

you, also, have mistaken my point. i am simply stating that there is no reason to reduce love to a mysical experience that is beyond the reach of science or logic. there is no magic,and love is no exception. it is highly purposeful (and beautiful) but it is simply, imo, very rational.
 
  • #21
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by maximus
you, also, have mistaken my point. i am simply stating that there is no reason to reduce love to a mysical experience that is beyond the reach of science or logic. there is no magic,and love is no exception. it is highly purposeful (and beautiful) but it is simply, imo, very rational.

I understand this point, but do you argue that you arrive at this conclusion through logic, or by a leap of faith? My point is that just as are more romantic or mystical explanations, your position is a faith argument; not one of pure logic.
 
  • #22
maximus
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
I understand this point, but do you argue that you arrive at this conclusion through logic, or by a leap of faith? My point is that just as are more romantic or mystical explanations, your position is a faith argument; not one of pure logic.


your point is well taken,but i think "leap of faith" is a little strong. i have formulated a theory, and it is, imo, more scientifically sound of an idea than mytical magic. it is also a logical process (perhaps rational is a better word). it makes sense that evolutionary and psychological (along with a strong influence from a society) events could produce a misinterpretted feeling of love.
 
  • #23
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by maximus
your point is well taken,but i think "leap of faith" is a little strong.

Perhaps, but this could easily be a matter of perspective also.
You know, the old observer dependence problem.

i have formulated a theory, and it is, imo, more scientifically sound of an idea than mytical magic.

Magic is sometimes just a word used to describe that which we don't understand. And of course, nothing mystical would be scientific by nature. But, perhaps one day what is now mystical will be understood as physical.

it is also a logical process (perhaps rational is a better word). it makes sense that evolutionary and psychological (along with a strong influence from a society) events could produce a misinterpretted feeling of love.

Well, now that I have all of that off of my chest, I am interested in hearing more.
 
  • #24
Zantra
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Only here could something like love be reduced to an equation (I fully expect one to be put forth shortly). Love is not an equation, it is not logical, and it's not meant to make sense. You can no more understand love fully than you can predict the weather. It's not meant to be analyzed like that. to say that it's nothing but a chemical process is like saying chocolate fudge is just nourishment, or that beer is just an intoxicant. And I suspect those who are trying to reduce it to an equation have never been in love. You cannot and should not trivialize it as such. It's like saying God is just "some guy" (if you believe in him).
 
  • #25
maximus
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Originally posted by Zantra
Only here could something like love be reduced to an equation (I fully expect one to be put forth shortly). Love is not an equation, it is not logical, and it's not meant to make sense. You can no more understand love fully than you can predict the weather. It's not meant to be analyzed like that. to say that it's nothing but a chemical process is like saying chocolate fudge is just nourishment, or that beer is just an intoxicant. And I suspect those who are trying to reduce it to an equation have never been in love. You cannot and should not trivialize it as such. It's like saying God is just "some guy" (if you believe in him).

and i completely, 100%, disageee with everything you said (:wink:). i believe it is this sentiment that makes it impossible to understand. we can (and do) predict the weather. and we can explain the reasons behind our love for fudge or beer. you are correct however, in your assumtion that i have never been in "romantic love", but it takes an outside obsever to accurately describe something, does it not? i haven't been corrupted by it!
 
  • #26
Zantra
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Originally posted by maximus
and i completely, 100%, disageee with everything you said (:wink:). i believe it is this sentiment that makes it impossible to understand. we can (and do) predict the weather. and we can explain the reasons behind our love for fudge or beer. you are correct however, in your assumtion that i have never been in "romantic love", but it takes an outside obsever to accurately describe something, does it not? i haven't been corrupted by it!

Ok you can reduce it to those simple terms, but to do so is self-defeating. The experience of it is something a lot more profound than biochemical response. Just like chocolate and beer, we CAN reduce it to simplest terms, but we DON'T because then it looses it's emphasis. Do we say "oh I had a feew too many beers the other day and this raise my blood alcohol content and decrased my oxygenation levels? No we say "I got F*****D up the other night." Same applies to love.
 
  • #27
maximus
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Originally posted by Zantra
Ok you can reduce it to those simple terms, but to do so is self-defeating. The experience of it is something a lot more profound than biochemical response. Just like chocolate and beer, we CAN reduce it to simplest terms, but we DON'T because then it looses it's emphasis. Do we say "oh I had a feew too many beers the other day and this raise my blood alcohol content and decrased my oxygenation levels? No we say "I got F*****D up the other night." Same applies to love.

then what's the point of all of physics? did the thing fall because of a warping of spacetime (yes, by the way) (and yes to all your above similar quotes) or did it just hurt like hell when it hit you? what you are saying is nonsense to me. of course you got "F****D up" becuase you BAC increased and oxygen levels decreased! the feeling and emotion of being "F****D up" can be reduced to terms of biological and nuerological activity.
 
  • #28
Nature evolved love or giving to others of a close relationship without direct expectation of apparent return, but if love were not effective we would not know love so I suspect love is of long term benefit of greater degree provided it is mutual and that's the catch, it is evolutionarily a practical mechanism that helps us see past the immediate disadvantages to the greater long term gains of mutual cooperation. Love is a rewarding biochemical bond of familiarity. Even though I hold this view to be fairly accurate and practical I wouldn't sum it up like that when in love with someone but rather just enjoy it because it is one of the best things in life.
 
  • #29
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by maximus
of course you got "F****D up" becuase you BAC increased and oxygen levels decreased! the feeling and emotion of being "F****D up" can be reduced to terms of biological and nuerological activity.

According to your completely unsubstantiated theory.
 
  • #30
Zantra
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Originally posted by jammieg
Nature evolved love or giving to others of a close relationship without direct expectation of apparent return, but if love were not effective we would not know love so I suspect love is of long term benefit of greater degree provided it is mutual and that's the catch, it is evolutionarily a practical mechanism that helps us see past the immediate disadvantages to the greater long term gains of mutual cooperation. Love is a rewarding biochemical bond of familiarity. Even though I hold this view to be fairly accurate and practical I wouldn't sum it up like that when in love with someone but rather just enjoy it because it is one of the best things in life.

I think that sums it up for me as well. I'm not saying you "can't" describe it that way, I'm simply saying that love is not necessarily thought of in straight scientific terms by most. But hey, whatever toots your tugboat. As for me, I'll just enjoy it
 
  • #31
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by maximus
then what's the point of all of physics? did the
thing fall because of a warping of spacetime (yes, by the
way) (and yes to all your above similar quotes) or did it
just hurt like hell when it hit you? what you are saying is
nonsense to me. of course you got "F****D up" becuase you
BAC increased and oxygen levels decreased! the feeling and
emotion of being "F****D up" can be reduced to terms of
biological and nuerological activity.

Your example of the falling apple is a good example of
exactly the point you are disregarding in your argument. We
explain the falling apple in physical terms because it is
(or can be best seen as) a purely physical phenomenon; as
far as we can tell, it resides only in the objective world
and there is no subjective component to it. Love, on the
other hand, is an entirely different matter. You can attempt
to describe it with objective explanations of why it exists,
but this is missing its most fundamental, essential aspect,
which is precisely the subjective experience of it.

Are you familiar with Thomas Nagel's discussion on 'what it
is like to be a bat'? We can reason that a bat experiences
the world much differently from us humans based on the
observation that its principle source of information is
sound, not light; we can even perform experiments to refine
our notions of exactly how a bat's hearing functions.
However, when you get down to it, there is no way to get a really good idea of how a bat experiences the world other than actually being a bat yourself. Science cannot adequately describe states of
consciousness. You can tell someone that if they raise their
blood alcohol levels enough, then their bodily oxygen levels
will decrease, and as a result they will ultimately feel
less inhibited, lose some degree of motor coordination, etc.
But they can never really get at the true essence of
what it is, what it feels like, to be drunk unless
they go out and do it themselves. The same holds for love,
or any other subjective, experiential state of consciousness
for that matter.
 
  • #32
Welcome to physics forums Hypnagogue.
If there were a complete scientific explanation in great detail for how love works would you want to read it? Does a sound scientific explanation of a thing take something away from its experience and mystery and joy and fascination?
My view of love is most likely riddled with flaws, but I don't think it is a bad thing to attempt to understand things objectively or through experience but that it is more a reflection of personal taste of the individual wether they prefer feeling or fact more, most likely it is a bad thing at either extreme of indulgence and a bad thing to assume what is good for one is good for others.
I do agree that the best way to understand love is to practice love, not "analyze it to death" as my mother often says, I think she is more of a feeling person and we clash a lot, but it's curious to me why should analysis be associated with death to some people and not others.
 
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  • #33
hypnagogue
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I'm not saying we shouldn't try to understand subjective states in some objective sense-- only that, by definition, an objective understanding is only complementary to the subjective understanding and shouldn't be taken as a 'superior' explanation. In fact, I am very interested in the links between objective brain states and subjective states of consciousness. However, I also recognize that any objective explanation of consciousness in terms of cognitive science necessarily omits the essence of consciousness, which is actually experiencing it-- so saying that love is 'merely' a dance of atomic particles is missing the forest for the trees. We can imagine that at some point in the future a very sophisticated automated intelligence will be programmed with all the facts and theories we have about cognition-- but unless that automated intelligence is itself conscious, how good of an understanding of consciousness does it really have?
 
  • #34
Royce
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A couple of things about love that have been overlooked or at least not mentioned in this thread so far is that "lesser" animals, such as pets are every bit as capable of giving and receiving love as we are. Please explain this in evolutionary or objective terms. If you have not experienced such love do not claim that it doesn't exist or is just a matter of being physically cared for, fed etc. I won't buy it for a second.

The other thing neglected so far is that love is not just an emotion and learning experience. If soul mates meet, they can indeed recognized each other and "fall in love" instantly. I have never experienced it but know friends that have.

Also love has power and force that can be felt, sensed and cause physical changes in our bodies that are not just hormones or chemistry. Love can and does heal and reduce if not take away pain. Love can be directed to specific place in our own bodies or that of another and "Make it all better." This is real and it works and actually does makes it better. It is not just distracting or emotional. It is real.

One other point, we humans at least if not all mammals require love affection and touching to live and thrive. Unloved and untouched babies often die or remain hopelessly scared for life. Life long loving mates often die within months of each other.

There is so much more to love than mere chemistry or even emotion. To talk of it that way is like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground, which I have also heard.

One othe rpoint pain can not be remembered. We can remember being in pain and how sever it may have been but we can't actually remember and reexperience the pain itself. We never ever forget the feeling of loving or being loved.
 
  • #35
Another God
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Hypnagogue has started talking about exactly what I was going to point out. There is the subjective experience of Love, and then there is the objective reality of it. The reality, is that love is just chemical reactions in the brain. Sorry to destroy all of the idealistic fantasies out there, but this is just the way it is.

The subjective experience of these chemical processes though, yeah, sure thats something pretty special. Just understand that the subjective experience comes from the objective reality. The objective reality in no way takes away the subjective beauty of it, its just a fact that the subjective cannot exist without the objective.

An example: Lightning had been subjectively experienced for thousands of years by humans. Back in ancient greece, they hypothesised that Thor caused lightning. In their minds, the objective cause of lightning was Thor, and lightning itself was the resultant experience. These days, science has told us that electricity (charged ions etc) causes Lightning, and that lightning itself was the resultant experience.

In both cases, the objective truth has to be hypothesised from the subjective experience. We have one on one contact with the subjective, and from that we have to infer the objective. The fact remains though, that without the objective, the subjective wouldn't exist...

So, the subjective experience of love has always been with us, no matter how we think it happens...But the truth is, it happens in an entirely unromantic objective way.

And yes, I have been in love, I am in love, and I am still not self-delusional enough to go about convincing myself that it should be treated as anything more special than everything else in the universe which is subject to the same laws of logic and rationality.
 

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