Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Love - Strength or weakness?

Nietzsche, a theoretic of psychological egoism, has said, that love and compassion are weakness - the reason for all things evil; in his opinion, the person who survives others' compassion and spends his life in loneliness is the strong one.

Even though Nietzsche didn't grow up in an abusive family (especially if you count the fact that his father was a pastor), then I believe that the way people understand love has a strong link between how they were raised. It's pretty understandable when a person, who grew up in an abusive family, thinks of love as either a weakness or something that can me manipulated so that they could benefit from it. On the other hand, when a person has been raised in a family where the norms are more similar to today's ethical norms, then it's logical when he doesn't see love as a weak quality.

That, though, raises a question: why do so many people, who have grown up in a loving family, think of love as a bad thing? Why do many, who come from abusive families, think of it as something that gives them strength and makes them stronger?

Maybe the reason is that people are made to care about each other - otherwise, we wouldn't have survived, we wouldn't be reproducing if it wasn't for this. Of course there are people who cannot feel feelings like this, but the majority of human kind is still the ones who aren't socio- or psychopaths. Because of the same reason that people are made to care, they're also made to hope. We need to be hopeful that somebody loves us, that there is someone who wants to live the rest of their life with us. We need to know that even when the people around us are "bad" or "evil" at the moment, that even though they're making the wrong decisions at the moment, then they have the opportunity to change and re-start their lives. Maybe that's the reason why so many people who have had to go through a lot during growing up are still positive about love. They hope that their parent(s) will change, and even if that doesn't happen, then they think of their future, and how they're going to make the right decisions.

This, though, doesn't explain why some who come from loving families feel disgust towards love. One of the reasons may be that they feel as if people are suffocating them, rather than doing good. They might not want constant intimacy. People are different - some want to feel like they belong constantly, and because of that, try to make others feel the same as well. The people different from those, though, do not care that much for hanging out with others and they might not like when people are always around them, because they might not have enough time for themselves.

Analyzing all of this, it's still hard to say what love is - is it something that's supposed to help and console us, or is it something that will bring us down and make us notice others, when our goal should be to satisfy ourselves and grant our own wishes?

I'd like to approach love in a rather different way: in my opinion, the reason that we need love is what is a sign of weakness, not the feeling itself. If we're not in a relationship, then we're always trying to find reasons to pity ourselves: "Oh, poor, little me, Ī have no one to spend my days with. I have no one who loves me." On the other hand, if we are in a relationship, which is good and working, then we feel strong and positive. That is the reason why we shouldn't see love as a weakness, but as something that gives us the power to make important things happen.

Love, like everything, can still only be good when approached reasonably and rationally. If you approach it from a logical point of view, being understanding that a relationship is only possible when the one you're in love with feels the same way, then love can be one of the strongest and most positive feelings ever. A problem, though, might appear when people don't understand that: one possibility is that people start to pity themselves and that, inevitably, makes them weak. Another possibility is the feeling of anger, and if the person feeling it ceases to understand that s/he'll probably have more people to fall in love with in the future, then the anger towards love might grow even stronger. In extreme cases, the rejected person may try to regain the strength and power s/he had before, when s/he was still in love, and start to make decisions about his/her loved one's life. This, though, doesn't really help him/her regain the control; actually, it'll be even a bigger loss of it, because it won't end well and they won't get love back when doing this, anyway.

Even the Bible says that love is as strong as death; it also says that love is like a flame. These two comparisons help us realize even better, that love can be strong and invincible, but at the same time, if you cross the line, it may be very dangerous, destructive and strip the person of all of the power and strength s/he had. This is why people should stay within normalcy, and not go to extremes, because both loving love too much and hating love too much are harmful.

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