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They'll all fall

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Does love exist?

Psychology Today attempts to gather the lowdown on "Love" - by collecting quotes on it. I was especially moved by

The truth [is] that there is only one terminal dignity - love. And the story of love is not important - what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity.

-Helen Hayes

I found the following useful in helping me better define aspects of "love" (and thus be able to think somewhat better about it):


I find it helpful to distinguish among lust, eros (romantic love and infatuation), and caritas (loving kindness and attachment); once sexually mature, lust clearly exists (that hot moist fire in the belly and genitals that it takes maturity to control and channel), though cultures vary in the specific ways in which sexual attraction shows itself. Eros is a heady experience when we yearn to merge with the desired one, but alas, it is of short duration. It is caritas that we hope follows eros, a steady bathing of our being with calm and security, like that a mother provides to an infant, or if we are fortunate, that holds marriages together for decades. Lust and eros assure that coming together of male and female through coupling and procreation; caritas takes over to assure loving care of human children.

-Alice S. Rossi, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology

"caritas" is a new word for me; I'm used to "agape" (which is the non-sexual part of love, so love = eros + agape), and "caritas" seems to cover a slightly different aspect.

Unfortunately, the quote continues with what I see as a wishwashy emotional view of the world:

Women are the unsung heroines of social integration. In the world of kinship, women provide the steady beat, the loyalty, the caring that puts beauty and security into our life. Men are slowly and painfully learning caritas, though still more likely than women to resist intimacy and caritas, and hence to desert women and their children when eros fades.

-Alice S. Rossi, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology

... and women are more likely to have a lot of sex when they are younger (statistics supposedly say that the median 22-year-old female has twice as much sex as the median 22-year-old male), have about 2/3s the level of infidelity as men (14% of married females vs 22% of males has been unfaithful at least once), and are generally the ones that block "eros" (... fades. Yeah, right.)

I've also found another good collection of love quotes.


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