Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is Love Confusing?

Love & All of It's Confusion

There does not seem to be a lot of disagreement that love is confusing, but why?
It is the most fulfilling and desired state of being human. Everyone wants love.

The confusion seems to come from a variety of sources conspiring and mixing together into a kind of Gordian knot. If we loosen the knot just a bit and isolate some of the sources of confusion, perhaps a foundation for understanding will begin to emerge.

Love is perhaps the most highly overused and misused word in the English language. It is applied and attached to a huge variety of human reaction and experience. Do you really love chocolate, a particular breakfast cereal or model of automobile? Advertisers tell us that we do and our off-handed comments or preferences indicate that we do. But, is that what we really mean or are the advertisements and cultural clichés we use adding to our confusion about love?

We are a society that objectifies everything. Appearances are important. More expensive cars, wrist watches, and purses are some of the things that we use to define ourselves. We have objectified love as well. We think of love happening to us and acting upon us in a mysterious way. We fall into love as if by accident, like stepping into a puddle of water. It happened by accident and we got our shoes wet and now we have to walk around in them for a while. Making love into an object outside of ourselves confuses our understanding.

We are confused by the role modeling we see in media of all types, for example look at soap operas. Millions of people watch these afternoon dramas about relationships between people everyday.

The leading older male character professes to be in love with the beautiful young woman across town, who professes to be in love with the nephew of the leading male character. At the same time another beautiful young woman, who use to be married to the nephew professes love for the older leading male character and her older brother is in love with the first beautiful young woman. 
Complicated? Yes. Confusing? Absolutely. Of course, it is all just TV drama and not to be taken seriously. 

Never-the-less, it adds to the confusion about love. It distorts our view and understanding of what love is and can be. On the soaps love is about possession. The plots turn around one character having or possessing another, losing possession and regaining it. People become love objects and this model of love and relationships is broadcast to millions, for hundreds of hours every week. Most of us know that what we are seeing isn't love but none the less we are left confused. We know this isn't love but what is it?

We live and work in a culture that increasingly isolates us from each other. We don't know our neighbors. We move frequently, change jobs, our families are spread across the country, perhaps the world. News is broadcast to us 24 hours a day. It feeds us stories of human tragedy and evil. In modern society it is easy to be wary and afraid. In response we seek isolation and find ourselves alone. It is difficult to meet other people because they see the same media messages we are and their fears and suspicions are aroused.

But humans by nature are social and they are attracted to other humans. In response, to this dilemma of social isolation, new services and ways to meet others have emerged. Things like Internet dating or speed dating and dozens of other contrived activities now respond to our needs to find other humans to be with. Look at the names of the services that promise us love:,, just to name a few. Their advertisements promise that we can find that perfect someone to love. They don't tell us anything about love that helps clear our confusion.

Rather they promise to take our computer profile: who we are and who we want. Put everything into a huge database with other peoples' computer profiles of who they are and who they what. Mash everything together with a secret algorithm and introduce us to the top three, five or a hundred results until we find that perfect someone. Admittedly this is a start in the right direction, but it doesn't have much to do with the concept of love. Without a clearer understanding of love the secret algorithm serves only to activate our instinctual responses, our biochemistry. The conditions are set for disappointment, because we are left even more confused about love.
Love is the most profound and fulfilling experience humans can have.

Love opens the opportunity for humans find their fullest potential. To find love, true love requires understanding and knowledge. To find anything you must know what it is you are looking for, why should love be any different? If you study love you will come to know love. As with anything learning about love is about mastering the knowledge and skills required to see more clearly. Better understanding clears the confusion on the path to finding love.

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