“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends”
1 Corinthians 13:7
Since the dawn of time, humans have moved mountains and searched the deepest seas in their quest for love. To say that love is the driving force of mankind wouldn’t be wrong, especially in the present times, with death and disease looming over us like an eternal dark cloud. The idea of love as our salvation offers us a certain amount of solace.
But what is love? Is it real? Or is it a mere amalgamation of hormones that collectively present themselves as an overwhelming feeling that none of us seem to escape? Even after being one of the most widely regarded emotions, its essence continues to elude us and remains a mystery. How does love begin? Does it have an end? Or is it like energy, that simply takes another form? How do we differentiate between love and lust? Is there really a difference?
Science says humans have three basic needs: sustenance (food and water), shelter and clothing. Everything else is secondary, including satisfying carnal desires as well as the formation of emotional connections. We are born, we live and then we die. Whatever happens in between is webbed from our choices and circumstances as well as our handling and response. We have heard talk of “love at first sight” and phrases like “love is blind” and “love makes the world go round.”
What if love is not one feeling but a combination of many things, chemical and emotional, happening together at a particular time under particular circumstances? Perhaps what makes love so intriguing and complicated is the fact that it is greatly diverse and manifests itself in a variety of ways. You might see someone across a crowded cafe and feel an instant attraction, you might grow to fall attached to someone you initially had no feelings for, you might feel a deep affection for the pet you own, all of this is labeled as love, yet all are distinctly different manifestations of one universally acknowledged feeling.
One of the most commonly misunderstood notions is that of love and lust and how to distinguish between the two. The first thought we get in our heads when we hear the word ‘love’ is romantic love, amplified by sari-clad women with long tresses running through fields, a smitten muscled man and a sappy bollywood song in the background. All very endearing and delightful but highly misleading and one directional. Lust is a natural response to desirability. It leads to the fulfilment of concupiscent yearning and has little or nothing to do with love. However, this does not mean romantic love is simply lust. The two are deeply entwined and are not necessarily synonymous. Love, in its true essence, is enormously complicated. It usually comes forth with a variety of other emotions accompanying it, which tend to cloud over sensibilities and makes it arduous and grueling to discern the true nature of our feelings. Human beings are creatures of simplicity, what we don’t understand, we tend to shroud in fantasy, be it faith or mysteries of the unknown or even something more common like love.
The unnecessary taboo that we have associated with ‘love’ that makes it something dirty is highly condemnable. We have taken something beautiful and intricate and stripped it down into something commonly illicit. The very idea of ‘platonic love’ is lost to us. Perhaps this is because many of us fail to understand that the beginning of any positive human emotion is respect and gratitude and once you take that away, you’re left with little more than an empty shell that you can then proceed to fill with whatever filth you can procure from the darkest parts of you. Love in its purest form is a mother’s love for her child, the feelings of a spouse for their significant other, the devotion of a pet to his owner, the dedication of a worshipper towards his god and the respect of a protege to his mentor. It is incredibly ignorant to associate ‘love’ only towards carnal desires or salacious feelings.
So say it today. Say “I love you” and say it loud. Say it because one should never be afraid to express the purest of feelings. Say it because your mother or your child or your dog needs to hear it. Say it because you mean it and because you can. Say it because life is short and there never is a time like today to get it off your chest and out in the universe. For whatever you give, you receive. And such is the law of nature. Say it.