Love

Love

Overview

Love is an emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

 of strong affection
Affection
Affection or fondness is a "disposition or rare state of mind or body" that is often associated with a feeling or type of love. It has given rise to a number of branches of philosophy and psychology concerning: emotion ; disease; influence; state of being ; and state of mind...

 and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

 representing all of human kindness
Kindness
Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behaviour, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions ....

, compassion
Compassion
Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism — foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.There is an aspect of...

, and affection. Love is central to many religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love
God Is Love
God Is Love is an album by Dave Fitzgerald. Released in 2004, it is the latest release from flute and saxophone player from this founding member of Iona.-Track listing:# "Opening"# "Ubi Caritas"# "God So Loved"# "Love"# "Agnus Dei"# "Ma Navu"...

" or Agape
Agape
Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

 in the Canonical gospels. Love may also be described as actions towards others (or oneself) based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.

In English, love refers to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure ("I loved that meal") to interpersonal attraction
Interpersonal attraction
Interpersonal attraction is the attraction between people which leads to friendships and romantic relationships. Interpersonal attraction, the process, is distinct from perceptions of physical attractiveness which involves views of what is and is not considered beautiful or attractive.The study of...

 ("I love my partner").
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Encyclopedia

Love is an emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

 of strong affection
Affection
Affection or fondness is a "disposition or rare state of mind or body" that is often associated with a feeling or type of love. It has given rise to a number of branches of philosophy and psychology concerning: emotion ; disease; influence; state of being ; and state of mind...

 and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

 representing all of human kindness
Kindness
Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behaviour, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions ....

, compassion
Compassion
Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism — foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.There is an aspect of...

, and affection. Love is central to many religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love
God Is Love
God Is Love is an album by Dave Fitzgerald. Released in 2004, it is the latest release from flute and saxophone player from this founding member of Iona.-Track listing:# "Opening"# "Ubi Caritas"# "God So Loved"# "Love"# "Agnus Dei"# "Ma Navu"...

" or Agape
Agape
Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

 in the Canonical gospels. Love may also be described as actions towards others (or oneself) based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.

In English, love refers to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure ("I loved that meal") to interpersonal attraction
Interpersonal attraction
Interpersonal attraction is the attraction between people which leads to friendships and romantic relationships. Interpersonal attraction, the process, is distinct from perceptions of physical attractiveness which involves views of what is and is not considered beautiful or attractive.The study of...

 ("I love my partner"). "Love" may refer specifically to the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love, to the sexual love of eros, to the emotional closeness of familial love, or the platonic love
Platonic love
Platonic love is a chaste and strong type of love that is non-sexual.-Amor Platonicus:The term amor platonicus was coined as early as the 15th century by the Florentine scholar Marsilio Ficino. Platonic love in this original sense of the term is examined in Plato's dialogue the Symposium, which has...

 that defines friendship
Friendship
Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association are often thought of as spanning across the same continuum...

,
to the profound oneness
Henosis
Henosis is the word for "oneness," "union," or "unity" in classical Greek, and is spelled identically in modern Greek where "Enosis" is particulary connected with the modern political "Unity" movement to unify Greece and Cyprus....

 or devotion of religious love.
This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.

Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationship
Interpersonal relationship
An interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people that may range from fleeting to enduring. This association may be based on limerence, love, solidarity, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the...

s and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts
Creative Arts
Creative arts is the term used to describe different types of art. Specifically, to introduce fine art ideas, techniques, skills and media. It is generally used as an umbrella for Dramaturgy, Music , Graphic Arts/Cartooning, Performing Arts, Film and Publishing, Galleries and Museums and the Visual...

.

Love may be understood as part of the survival instinct, a function keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.

Definitions



The word "love" can have a variety of related but distinct meanings in different contexts. Often, other languages use multiple words to express some of the different concepts that English relies mainly on "love" to encapsulate; one example is the plurality of Greek words for "love."
Greek words for love
There are several Greek words for love, as the Greek language distinguishes how the word is used. Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. However, as with other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words...

 Cultural differences
Cultural identity
Cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics....

 in conceptualizing love thus make it doubly difficult to establish any universal definition.

Although the nature or essence
Essence
In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without...

 of love is a subject of frequent debate, different aspects of the word can be clarified by determining what isn't love. As a general expression of positive sentiment (a stronger form of like), love is commonly contrasted with hate (or neutral apathy
Apathy
Apathy is a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation and passion. An apathetic individual has an absence of interest in or concern about emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical or physical life.They may lack a sense of purpose or meaning in...

); as a less sexual and more emotionally intimate form of romantic attachment, love is commonly contrasted with lust
Lust
Lust is an emotional force that is directly associated with the thinking or fantasizing about one's desire, usually in a sexual way.-Etymology:The word lust is phonetically similar to the ancient Roman lustrum, which literally meant "purification"...

; and as an interpersonal relationship with romantic overtones, love is sometimes contrasted with friendship
Friendship
Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association are often thought of as spanning across the same continuum...

, although the word love is often applied to close friendships.

When discussed in the abstract, love usually refers to interpersonal love, an experience felt by a person for another person. Love often involves caring for or identifying with a person or thing (cf. vulnerability and care theory of love), including oneself (cf. narcissism
Narcissism
Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait...

). In addition to cross-cultural differences in understanding love, ideas about love have also changed greatly over time. Some historians date modern conceptions of romantic love to courtly Europe during or after the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, although the prior existence of romantic attachments is attested by ancient love poetry.

Because of the complex and abstract nature of love, discourse on love is commonly reduced to a thought-terminating cliché, and there are a number of common proverb
Proverb
A proverb is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim...

s regarding love, from Virgil's
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

 "Love conquers all" to The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

' "All You Need Is Love
All You Need Is Love
"All You Need Is Love" is a song written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was first performed by The Beatles on Our World, the first live global television link. Watched by 400 million in 26 countries, the programme was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967...

". St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, defines love as "to will the good of another." Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 describes love as a condition of "absolute value," as opposed to relative value. Philosopher Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wrote in different languages, primarily in Latin , French and German ....

 said that love is "to be delighted by the happiness of another." Meher Baba
Meher Baba
Meher Baba , , born Merwan Sheriar Irani, was an Indian mystic and spiritual master who declared publicly in 1954 that he was the Avatar of the age....

 stated that in love there is a "feeling of unity" and an "active appreciation of the intrinsic worth of the object of love."

Love is sometimes referred to as being the "international language", overriding cultural and linguistic divisions.

Impersonal love


A person can be said to love an object, principle, or goal if they value it greatly and are deeply committed to it. Similarly, compassionate outreach and volunteer workers' "love" of their cause may sometimes be borne not of interpersonal love, but impersonal love coupled with altruism
Altruism
Altruism is a concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of 'others' toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of...

 and strong spiritual or political convictions. People can also "love" material objects, animals, or activities if they invest themselves in bonding or otherwise identifying with those things. If sexual passion is also involved, this condition is called paraphilia
Paraphilia
Paraphilia is a biomedical term used to describe sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are not part of normative stimulation and that may cause distress or serious problems for the paraphiliac or persons associated with him or her...

.

Interpersonal love


Interpersonal love refers to love between human beings. It is a more potent sentiment than a simple liking for another. Unrequited love
Unrequited love
Unrequited love is love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such, even though reciprocation is usually deeply desired. The beloved may or may not be aware of the admirer's deep affections...

 refers to those feelings of love that are not reciprocated. Interpersonal love is most closely associated with interpersonal relationships. Such love might exist between family members, friends, and couples. There are also a number of psychological disorders related to love, such as erotomania
Erotomania
Erotomania is a type of delusion in which the affected person believes that another person, usually a stranger or famous person, is in love with him or her. The illness often occurs during psychosis, especially in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar mania...

.

Throughout history, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 have done the most speculation on the phenomenon of love. In the last century, the science of psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 has written a great deal on the subject. In recent years, the sciences of evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

, evolutionary biology, anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

, and biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 have added to the understanding of the nature and function of love.

Biological basis



Biological models of sex tend to view love as a mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

ian drive, much like hunger
Hunger
Hunger is the most commonly used term to describe the social condition of people who frequently experience the physical sensation of desiring food.-Malnutrition, famine, starvation:...

 or thirst
Thirst
Thirst is the craving for fluids, resulting in the basic instinct of animals to drink. It is an essential mechanism involved in fluid balance. It arises from a lack of fluids and/or an increase in the concentration of certain osmolites, such as salt...

. Helen Fisher
Helen Fisher (anthropologist)
Helen E. Fisher is a Canadian-American anthropologist and human behavior researcher. She is professor at Rutgers University. Fisher has studied romantic interpersonal attraction for over 30 years. Prior to becoming a research professor at Rutgers University, she was a research associate at the...

, a leading expert in the topic of love, divides the experience of love into three partly overlapping stages: lust, attraction, and attachment. Lust is the feeling of sexual desire; romantic attraction determines what partners mates find attractive and pursue, conserving time and energy by choosing; and attachment involves sharing a home, parental duties, mutual defense, and in humans involves feelings of safety and security. Three distinct neural circuitries, including neurotransmitters, and also three behavioral patterns, are associated with these three romantic styles.

Lust
Lust
Lust is an emotional force that is directly associated with the thinking or fantasizing about one's desire, usually in a sexual way.-Etymology:The word lust is phonetically similar to the ancient Roman lustrum, which literally meant "purification"...

 is the initial passionate sexual desire that promotes mating
Mating
In biology, mating is the pairing of opposite-sex or hermaphroditic organisms for copulation. In social animals, it also includes the raising of their offspring. Copulation is the union of the sex organs of two sexually reproducing animals for insemination and subsequent internal fertilization...

, and involves the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone
Testosterone
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group and is found in mammals, reptiles, birds, and other vertebrates. In mammals, testosterone is primarily secreted in the testes of males and the ovaries of females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands...

 and estrogen
Estrogen
Estrogens , oestrogens , or œstrogens, are a group of compounds named for their importance in the estrous cycle of humans and other animals. They are the primary female sex hormones. Natural estrogens are steroid hormones, while some synthetic ones are non-steroidal...

. These effects rarely last more than a few weeks or months. Attraction
Interpersonal attraction
Interpersonal attraction is the attraction between people which leads to friendships and romantic relationships. Interpersonal attraction, the process, is distinct from perceptions of physical attractiveness which involves views of what is and is not considered beautiful or attractive.The study of...

 is the more individualized and romantic desire for a specific candidate for mating, which develops out of lust as commitment to an individual mate forms. Recent studies in neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

 have indicated that as people fall in love, the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals, including pheromones, dopamine
Dopamine
Dopamine is a catecholamine neurotransmitter present in a wide variety of animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the brain, this substituted phenethylamine functions as a neurotransmitter, activating the five known types of dopamine receptors—D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5—and their...

, norepinephrine
Norepinephrine
Norepinephrine is the US name for noradrenaline , a catecholamine with multiple roles including as a hormone and a neurotransmitter...

, and serotonin
Serotonin
Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine is a monoamine neurotransmitter. Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract, platelets, and in the central nervous system of animals including humans...

, which act in a manner similar to amphetamine
Amphetamine
Amphetamine or amfetamine is a psychostimulant drug of the phenethylamine class which produces increased wakefulness and focus in association with decreased fatigue and appetite.Brand names of medications that contain, or metabolize into, amphetamine include Adderall, Dexedrine, Dextrostat,...

s, stimulating the brain's pleasure center
Pleasure center
Pleasure center is the general term used for the brain regions involved in pleasure. Discoveries made in the 1950s initially suggested that rodents could not stop electrically stimulating parts of their brain, mainly the nucleus accumbens, which was theorized to produce great pleasure...

 and leading to side effects such as increased heart rate
Heart rate
Heart rate is the number of heartbeats per unit of time, typically expressed as beats per minute . Heart rate can vary as the body's need to absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide changes, such as during exercise or sleep....

, loss of appetite
Anorexia (symptom)
Anorexia is the decreased sensation of appetite...

 and sleep, and an intense feeling of excitement. Research has indicated that this stage generally lasts from one and a half to three years.

Since the lust and attraction stages are both considered temporary, a third stage is needed to account for long-term relationships. Attachment
Attachment theory
Attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans. Its most important tenet is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. Attachment theory is an interdisciplinary study...

 is the bonding
Human bonding
Human bonding is the process of development of a close, interpersonal relationship. It most commonly takes place between family members or friends, but can also develop among groups such as sporting teams and whenever people spend time together...

 that promotes relationships lasting for many years and even decades. Attachment is generally based on commitments such as marriage
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 and children, or on mutual friendship based on things like shared interests. It has been linked to higher levels of the chemicals oxytocin
Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone that acts primarily as a neuromodulator in the brain.Oxytocin is best known for its roles in sexual reproduction, in particular during and after childbirth...

 and vasopressin
Vasopressin
Arginine vasopressin , also known as vasopressin, argipressin or antidiuretic hormone , is a neurohypophysial hormone found in most mammals, including humans. Vasopressin is a peptide hormone that controls the reabsorption of molecules in the tubules of the kidneys by affecting the tissue's...

 to a greater degree than short-term relationships have. Enzo Emanuele
Enzo Emanuele
Enzo Emanuele is an Italian clinical pathologist renowned for his interdisciplinary research in the field of biological psychology. He has studied the biochemical basis of romantic interpersonal attraction and identified the neurotrophin nerve growth factor as a key biochemical mediator of...

 and coworkers reported the protein molecule known as the nerve growth factor
Nerve growth factor
Nerve growth factor is a small secreted protein that is important for the growth, maintenance, and survival of certain target neurons . It also functions as a signaling molecule. It is perhaps the prototypical growth factor, in that it is one of the first to be described...

 (NGF) has high levels when people first fall in love, but these return to previous levels after one year.

Psychological basis



Psychology depicts love as a cognitive and social phenomenon. Psychologist
Psychologist
Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...

 Robert Sternberg
Robert Sternberg
Robert Jeffrey Sternberg , is an American psychologist and psychometrician and Provost at Oklahoma State University. He was formerly the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University and the President of the American Psychological...

 formulated a triangular theory of love
Triangular theory of love
The triangular theory of love is a theory of love developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg. In the context of interpersonal relationships, 'the three components of love, according to the triangular theory, are an intimacy component, a passion component, and a decision/commitment...

 and argued that love has three different components: intimacy, commitment, and passion. Intimacy is a form in which two people share confidences and various details of their personal lives, and is usually shown in friendships and romantic love affairs. Commitment, on the other hand, is the expectation that the relationship is permanent. The last and most common form of love is sexual attraction and passion. Passionate love is shown in infatuation as well as romantic love. All forms of love are viewed as varying combinations of these three components. American psychologist Zick Rubin
Zick Rubin
Isaac Michael "Zick" Rubin is an American social psychologist, lawyer, and author. He is "widely credited as the author of the first empirical measurement of love," for his work distinguishing feelings of like from feelings of love via Rubin's Scales of Liking and Loving...

 sought to define love by psychometrics
Psychometrics
Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, and educational measurement...

 in the 1970s. His work states that three factors constitute love: attachment, caring, and intimacy.

Following developments in electrical theories such as Coulomb's law
Coulomb's law
Coulomb's law or Coulomb's inverse-square law, is a law of physics describing the electrostatic interaction between electrically charged particles. It was first published in 1785 by French physicist Charles Augustin de Coulomb and was essential to the development of the theory of electromagnetism...

, which showed that positive and negative charges attract, analogs in human life were developed, such as "opposites attract." Over the last century, research on the nature of human mating has generally found this not to be true when it comes to character and personality—people tend to like people similar to themselves. However, in a few unusual and specific domains, such as immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

s, it seems that humans prefer others who are unlike themselves (e.g., with an orthogonal immune system), since this will lead to a baby that has the best of both worlds. In recent years, various human bonding
Human bonding
Human bonding is the process of development of a close, interpersonal relationship. It most commonly takes place between family members or friends, but can also develop among groups such as sporting teams and whenever people spend time together...

 theories have been developed, described in terms of attachments, ties, bonds, and affinities.
Some Western authorities disaggregate into two main components, the altruistic and the narcissistic. This view is represented in the works of Scott Peck
M. Scott Peck
Morgan Scott Peck was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author, best known for his first book, The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978.-Biography:...

, whose work in the field of applied psychology
Applied psychology
The basic premise of applied psychology is the use of psychological principles and theories to overcome problems in other areas, such as mental health, business management, education, health, product design, ergonomics, and law...

 explored the definitions of love and evil. Peck maintains that love is a combination of the "concern for the spiritual growth of another," and simple narcissism. In combination, love is an activity, not simply a feeling.

Psychologist Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm
Erich Seligmann Fromm was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.-Life:Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am...

 maintained in his book "The art of loving
The Art of Loving
The Art of Loving is a book written by psychologist and social philosopher Erich Fromm , which was published as part of the "World Perspectives Series" edited by Ruth Nanda Anshen...

" that love is not merely a feeling but is also actions, and that in fact, the "feeling" of love is superficial in comparison to ones commitment to love via a series of loving actions over time. In this sense, Fromm held that love is ultimately not a feeling at all, but rather is a commitment to, and adherence to, loving actions towards another, ones self, or many others, over a sustained duration. Fromm also described Love as a conscious choice that in its early stages might originate as an involuntary feeling, but which then later no longer depends on those feelings, but rather depends only on conscious commitment.

Evolutionary basis


Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

 has attempted to provide various reasons for love as a survival tool. Humans are dependent on parental help for a large portion of their lifespans comparative to other mammals. Love has therefore been seen as a mechanism to promote parental support of children for this extended time period. Another factor may be that sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

s can cause, among other effects, permanently reduced fertility
Fertility
Fertility is the natural capability of producing offsprings. As a measure, "fertility rate" is the number of children born per couple, person or population. Fertility differs from fecundity, which is defined as the potential for reproduction...

, injury to the fetus, and increase complications during childbirth
Childbirth
Childbirth is the culmination of a human pregnancy or gestation period with the birth of one or more newborn infants from a woman's uterus...

. This would favor monogamous relationships over polygamy.

Comparison of scientific models


Biological models of love tend to see it as a mammalian drive, similar to hunger
Hunger
Hunger is the most commonly used term to describe the social condition of people who frequently experience the physical sensation of desiring food.-Malnutrition, famine, starvation:...

 or thirst
Thirst
Thirst is the craving for fluids, resulting in the basic instinct of animals to drink. It is an essential mechanism involved in fluid balance. It arises from a lack of fluids and/or an increase in the concentration of certain osmolites, such as salt...

. Psychology sees love as more of a social and cultural phenomenon. There are probably elements of truth in both views. Certainly love is influenced by hormone
Hormone
A hormone is a chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. In essence, it is a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one...

s (such as oxytocin
Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone that acts primarily as a neuromodulator in the brain.Oxytocin is best known for its roles in sexual reproduction, in particular during and after childbirth...

), neurotrophins (such as NGF
Nerve growth factor
Nerve growth factor is a small secreted protein that is important for the growth, maintenance, and survival of certain target neurons . It also functions as a signaling molecule. It is perhaps the prototypical growth factor, in that it is one of the first to be described...

), and pheromone
Pheromone
A pheromone is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting outside the body of the secreting individual to impact the behavior of the receiving individual...

s, and how people think and behave in love is influenced by their conceptions of love. The conventional view in biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 is that there are two major drives in love: sexual attraction
Sexual attraction
Sexual attractiveness or sex appeal refers to an individual's ability to attract the sexual or erotic interest of another person, and is a factor in sexual selection or mate choice. The attraction can be to the physical or other qualities or traits of a person, or to such qualities in the context...

 and attachment
Attachment theory
Attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans. Its most important tenet is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. Attachment theory is an interdisciplinary study...

. Attachment between adults is presumed to work on the same principles that lead an infant to become attached to its mother. The traditional psychological view sees love as being a combination of companionate love and passionate love. Passionate love is intense longing, and is often accompanied by physiological arousal (shortness of breath, rapid heart rate); companionate love is affection and a feeling of intimacy not accompanied by physiological arousal.

Persian


Rumi, Hafiz and Sa'di
Saadi (poet)
Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī better known by his pen-name as Saʿdī or, simply, Saadi, was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but he has also been quoted in western sources...

 are icons of the passion and love that the Persian culture
Culture of Iran
To best understand Iran, Afghanistan, their related societies and their people, one must first attempt to acquire an understanding of their culture. It is in the study of this area where the Persian identity optimally expresses itself...

 and language present. The Persian word for love is eshgh, derived from the Arabic ishq, however is considered by most to be too stalwart a term for interpersonal love and is more commonly substituted for 'doost dashtan' ('liking'). In the Persian culture, everything is encompassed by love and all is for love, starting from loving friends and family, husbands and wives, and eventually reaching the divine love that is the ultimate goal in life. Over seven centuries ago, Sa'di wrote:
The children of Adam are limbs of one body
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time afflicts one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others
You are not worthy to be called by the name of "man."

Chinese and other Sinic cultures


Two philosophical underpinnings of love exist in the Chinese tradition, one from Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 which emphasized actions and duty while the other came from Mohism
Mohism
Mohism or Moism was a Chinese philosophy developed by the followers of Mozi , 470 BC–c.391 BC...

 which championed a universal love. A core concept to Confucianism is Ren
Ren (Confucianism)
Ren is a Confucian notion denoting, as rough approximation, the good feeling a virtuous human experiences when behaving rightly, especially toward others...

("benevolent love", 仁), which focuses on duty, action and attitude in a relationship rather than love itself. In Confucianism, one displays benevolent love by performing actions such as filial piety from children, kindness from parent, loyalty to the king and so forth.

The concept of Ai (愛) was developed by the Chinese philosopher Mozi
Mozi
Mozi |Lat.]] as Micius, ca. 470 BC – ca. 391 BC), original name Mo Di , was a Chinese philosopher during the Hundred Schools of Thought period . Born in Tengzhou, Shandong Province, China, he founded the school of Mohism, and argued strongly against Confucianism and Daoism...

 in the 4th century BC in reaction to Confucianism's benevolent love. Mozi tried to replace what he considered to be the long-entrenched Chinese over-attachment to family and clan structures with the concept of "universal love" (jiān'ài, 兼愛). In this, he argued directly against Confucians who believed that it was natural and correct for people to care about different people in different degrees. Mozi, by contrast, believed people in principle should care for all people equally. Mohism stressed that rather than adopting different attitudes towards different people, love should be unconditional and offered to everyone without regard to reciprocation, not just to friends, family and other Confucian relations. Later in Chinese Buddhism, the term Ai (愛) was adopted to refer to a passionate caring love and was considered a fundamental desire. In Buddhism, Ai was seen as capable of being either selfish or selfless, the latter being a key element towards enlightenment.

In contemporary Chinese, Ai (愛) is often used as the equivalent of the Western concept of love. Ai is used as both a verb (e.g. wo ai ni 我愛你, or "I love you") and a noun (such as aiqing 愛情, or "romantic love"). However, due to the influence of Confucian Ren, the phrase ‘Wo ai ni’ (I love you) carries with it a very specific sense of responsibility, commitment and loyalty. Instead of frequently saying "I love you" as in some Western societies, the Chinese are more likely to express feelings of affection in a more casual way. Consequently, "I like you" (Wo xihuan ni, 我喜欢你) is a more common way of expressing affection in Chinese; it is more playful and less serious. This is also true in Japanese (suki da, 好きだ). The Chinese are also more likely to say "I love you" in English or other foreign languages than they would in their mother tongue.

Japanese


In Japanese Buddhism, ai (愛) is passionate caring love, and a fundamental desire. It can develop towards either selfishness or selflessness and enlightenment. Amae
Amae
Amae is a Japanese word coined from the verb amaeru by Takeo Doi to serve as a noun, which he then used as a keyword to unlock, analytically, the behavior of a person attempting to induce an authority figure, such as a parent, spouse, teacher or boss, to take care of him...

(甘え), a Japanese word meaning "indulgent dependence," is part of the child-rearing culture of Japan
Culture of Japan
The culture of Japan has evolved greatly over the millennia, from the country's prehistoric Jōmon period to its contemporary hybrid culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe and North America...

. Japanese mothers are expected to hug and indulge their children, and children are expected to reward their mothers by clinging and serving. Some sociologists have suggested that Japanese social interactions in later life are modeled on the mother-child amae.

Ancient Greek


Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 distinguishes several different senses
Greek words for love
There are several Greek words for love, as the Greek language distinguishes how the word is used. Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. However, as with other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words...

 in which the word "love" is used. For example, Ancient Greek has the words philia, eros, agape, storge, and xenia. However, with Greek (as with many other languages), it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words totally. At the same time, the Ancient Greek text of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 has examples of the verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

 agapo having the same meaning as phileo.

Agape
Agape
Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

( agápē) means love in modern-day Greek. The term s'agapo means I love you in Greek. The word agapo is the verb I love. It generally refers to a "pure," ideal type
Ideal type
Ideal type , also known as pure type, is a typological term most closely associated with antipositivist sociologist Max Weber . For Weber, the conduct of social science depends upon the construction of hypothetical concepts in the abstract...

 of love, rather than the physical attraction suggested by eros. However, there are some examples of agape used to mean the same as eros. It has also been translated as "love of the soul."

Eros
Eros (love)
Eros is one of the four words in Ancient Greek which can be rendered into English as “love”. The other three are storge, philia and agape...

( érōs) (from the Greek deity Eros
Eros
Eros , in Greek mythology, was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid . Some myths make him a primordial god, while in other myths, he is the son of Aphrodite....

) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Greek word erota means in love. Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 refined his own definition. Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros. Some translations list it as "love of the body."

Philia
Philia
Philia is one of the four ancient Greek words for love.Philia in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics is usually translated as 'friendship', though in fact his use of the term is much broader.- Aristotle's view :...

( philía), a dispassionate virtuous love, was a concept addressed and developed by Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Philia is motivated by practical reasons; one or both of the parties benefit from the relationship. It can also mean "love of the mind."

Storge
Storge
Storge , also called familial love, is the Greek word for natural affection—such as the love of a parent toward a child, "cherishing one's kindred, especially parents or children"...

( storgē) is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring.

Xenia
Xenia (Greek)
Xenia is the Greek concept of hospitality, or generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home. It is often translated as "guest-friendship" because the rituals of hospitality created and expressed a reciprocal relationship between guest and host.The Greek god Zeus sometimes referred...

(ξενία xenía), hospitality, was an extremely important practice in Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. It was an almost ritualized friendship formed between a host and his guest, who could previously have been strangers. The host fed and provided quarters for the guest, who was expected to repay only with gratitude. The importance of this can be seen throughout Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

—in particular, Homer's
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

and Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

.

Turkish (Shaman & Islamic)


In Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, the word "love" comes up with several meanings. A person can love a god, a person, parents, or family. But that person can "love" just one special person, which they call the word "aşk." Aşk
Ishq
' , Dari "eshq" Persian eshgh, Turkish aşk, , Azerbaijani , means "love". The word is derived from ‘ashiqah, a vine: the common belief is that when love takes its root in the heart of a lover, everything other than God is effaced. In Islam's Sufi and mystic doctrine it is a concept which refers to...

is a feeling for to love, or being "in love" (Aşık), as it still is in Turkish today. The Turks used this word just for their loves in a romantic or sexual sense. If a Turk says that he is in love (Aşık) with somebody, it is not a love that a person can feel for his or her parents; it is just for one person, and it indicates a huge infatuation. The word is also common for Turkic languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

, such as Azerbaijani
Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani or Azeri or Torki is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people, primarily in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran...

 (eşq) and Kazakh
Kazakh language
Kazakh is a Turkic language which belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages, closely related to Nogai and Karakalpak....

 (ғашық).

Ancient Roman (Latin)


The Latin language
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 has several different verbs corresponding to the English word "love." amō is the basic verb meaning I love, with the infinitive amare (“to love”) as it still is in Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 today. The Romans used it both in an affectionate sense as well as in a romantic or sexual sense. From this verb come amans—a lover, amator, "professional lover," often with the accessory notion of lechery—and amica, "girlfriend" in the English sense, often as well being applied euphemistically to a prostitute. The corresponding noun is amor (the significance of this term for the Romans is well illustrated in the fact, that the name of the City, Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

—in Latin: Roma—can be viewed as an anagram
Anagram
An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once; e.g., orchestra = carthorse, A decimal point = I'm a dot in place, Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort. Someone who...

 for amor, which was used as the secret name of the City in wide circles in ancient times), which is also used in the plural form to indicate love affairs or sexual adventures. This same root also produces amicus—"friend"—and amicitia, "friendship" (often based to mutual advantage, and corresponding sometimes more closely to "indebtedness" or "influence"). Cicero wrote a treatise called On Friendship (de Amicitia), which discusses the notion at some length. Ovid wrote a guide to dating called Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love), which addresses, in depth, everything from extramarital affairs
Affair
Affair may refer to professional, personal, or public business matters or to a particular business or private activity of a temporary duration, as in family affair, a private affair, or a romantic affair.-Political affair:...

 to overprotective parents.

Complicating the picture somewhat, Latin sometimes uses amāre where English would simply say to like. This notion, however, is much more generally expressed in Latin by placere or delectāre, which are used more colloquially, the latter used frequently in the love poetry of Catullus
Catullus
Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet of the Republican period. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.-Biography:...

. Diligere often has the notion "to be affectionate for," "to esteem," and rarely if ever is used for romantic love. This word would be appropriate to describe the friendship of two men. The corresponding noun diligentia, however, has the meaning of "diligence" or "carefulness," and has little semantic overlap with the verb. Observare is a synonym for diligere; despite the cognate with English, this verb and its corresponding noun, observantia, often denote "esteem" or "affection." Caritas
Charity (virtue)
In Christian theology charity, or love , means an unlimited loving-kindness toward all others.The term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving.- Caritas: altruistic love :...

is used in Latin translations of the Christian Bible to mean "charitable love"; this meaning, however, is not found in Classical pagan Roman literature
Latin literature
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings of the ancient Romans. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of Greek literature, using many of the same forms...

. As it arises from a conflation with a Greek word, there is no corresponding verb.

Abrahamic religions



Judaism


In Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Ahava is the most commonly used term for both interpersonal love and love between God and God's creations. Chesed
Chesed
The Hebrew noun khesed or chesed is the Hebrew word for "kindness." It is also commonly translated as "loving-kindness," or "love." Love is a central Jewish value, and leads to many particular commandments. Chesed is central to Jewish ethics and Jewish theology...

, often translated as loving-kindness
Loving-kindness
Loving-kindness is a term coined by Myles Coverdale for his Coverdale Bible of 1535, as an English translation of the Hebrew word chesed ; in that text it is spelled "louinge kyndnesse". It is also used in this sense in the American Standard Version and various other versions of the Bible...

, is used to describe many forms of love between human beings.

The commandment to love other people is given in the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, which states, "Love your neighbor like yourself" (Leviticus
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

 19:18). The Torah's commandment to love God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 "with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might" (Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 6:5) is taken by the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 (a central text of the Jewish oral law
Oral law
An oral law is a code of conduct in use in a given culture, religion or community application, by which a body of rules of human behaviour is transmitted by oral tradition and effectively respected, or the single rule that is orally transmitted....

) to refer to good deeds, willingness to sacrifice one's life rather than commit certain serious transgressions, willingness to sacrifice all of one's possessions, and being grateful to the Lord despite adversity (tractate Berachoth 9:5). Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

 differs as to how this love can be developed, e.g., by contemplating divine deeds or witnessing the marvels of nature. As for love between marital partners, this is deemed an essential ingredient to life: "See life with the wife you love" (Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

 9:9). The biblical book Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon
The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the megillot —found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim...

 is considered a romantically phrased metaphor of love between God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 and his people, but in its plain reading, reads like a love song. The 20th-century Rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler
Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler
Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler was an Orthodox rabbi, Talmudic scholar, and Jewish philosopher of the 20th century. He is known as mashgiach ruchani of the Ponevezh yeshiva in Israel and through collections of his writings published posthumously by his pupils.-Lithuania:Eliyahu Dessler Eliyahu Eliezer...

 is frequently quoted as defining love from the Jewish point of view as "giving without expecting to take" (from his Michtav me-Eliyahu, Vol. 1).

Christianity


The Christian understanding is that love comes from God. The love of man and woman—eros in Greek—and the unselfish love of others (agape), are often contrasted as "ascending" and "descending" love, respectively, but are ultimately the same thing.

There are several Greek words for "love" that are regularly referred to in Christian circles.
  • Agape
    Agape
    Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

    : In the New Testament
    New Testament
    The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

    , agapē is charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional. It is parental love, seen as creating goodness in the world; it is the way God
    God
    God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

     is seen to love humanity, and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for one another.
  • Phileo: Also used in the New Testament, phileo is a human response to something that is found to be delightful. Also known as "brotherly love."
  • Two other words for love in the Greek language, eros
    Eros (love)
    Eros is one of the four words in Ancient Greek which can be rendered into English as “love”. The other three are storge, philia and agape...

    (sexual love) and storge
    Storge
    Storge , also called familial love, is the Greek word for natural affection—such as the love of a parent toward a child, "cherishing one's kindred, especially parents or children"...

    (child-to-parent love), were never used in the New Testament.


Christians
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 believe that to Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself are the two most important things in life (the greatest commandment
Great Commandment
The Great Commandment, or Greatest Commandment, is an appellation applied to either the first, or both, of two commandments which appear in , and...

 of the Jewish Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, according to Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

; cf. Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 chapter 12, verses 28–34). Saint Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 summarized this when he wrote "Love God, and do as thou wilt."

The Apostle Paul glorified love as the most important virtue of all. Describing love in the famous poem in 1 Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

, he wrote, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres." (1 Cor. 13:4–7, NIV)
The Apostle John
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

 wrote, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 3:16–17, NIV) John also wrote, "Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:7–8, NIV)

Saint Augustine says that one must be able to decipher the difference between love and lust. Lust, according to Saint Augustine, is an overindulgence, but to love and be loved is what he has sought for his entire life. He even says, “I was in love with love.” Finally, he does fall in love and is loved back, by God. Saint Augustine says the only one who can love you truly and fully is God, because love with a human only allows for flaws such as “jealousy, suspicion, fear, anger, and contention.” According to Saint Augustine, to love God is “to attain the peace which is yours.” (Saint Augustine's Confessions)

Christian theologians
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 see God as the source of love, which is mirrored in humans and their own loving relationships. Influential Christian theologian C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves
The Four Loves
The Four Loves is a book by C. S. Lewis which explores the nature of love from a Christian perspective through thought experiments. The content of the examination is prefaced by Lewis' admission that he initially mistook St. John's words "God is Love" for a simple inroad to his topic...

. Benedict XVI wrote his first encyclical
Encyclical
An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Catholic Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop...

 on "God is love
Deus Caritas Est
Deus Caritas Est is a 2006 encyclical—the first written by Pope Benedict XVI, in large part derived from writings by his late predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Its subject is love, as seen through a Christian perspective, and God's place within all love...

". He said that a human being, created in the image of God, who is love, is able to practice love; to give himself to God and others (agape
Agape
Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

) and by receiving and experiencing God's love in contemplation (eros). This life of love, according to him, is the life of the saints such as Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa , born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu , was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950...

 and the Blessed Virgin Mary and is the direction Christians take when they believe that God loves them.

In Christianity the practical definition of love is best summarised by St. Thomas Aquinas, who defined love as "to will the good of another," or to desire for another to succeed. This is the explanation of the Christian need to love others, including their enemies. As Thomas Aquinas explains, Christian love is motivated by the need to see others succeed in life, to be good people.

Islam


Love encompasses the Islamic view of life as universal brotherhood that applies to all who hold faith. Amongst the 99 names of God (Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

), there is the name Al-Wadud, or "the Loving One," which is found in Surah as well as Surah . God is also referenced at the beginning of every chapter in the Qur'an as Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, or the "Most Compassionate" and the "Most Merciful", indicating that nobody is more loving, compassionate and benevolent than God. The Qur'an refers to God as being "full of loving kindness."

The Qur'an exhorts Muslim believers to treat all people, those who have not persecuted them, with birr or "deep kindness" as stated in Surah . Birr is also used by the Qur'an in describing the love and kindness that children must show to their parents.

Ishq
Ishq
' , Dari "eshq" Persian eshgh, Turkish aşk, , Azerbaijani , means "love". The word is derived from ‘ashiqah, a vine: the common belief is that when love takes its root in the heart of a lover, everything other than God is effaced. In Islam's Sufi and mystic doctrine it is a concept which refers to...

, or divine love, is the emphasis of Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 in the Islamic tradition. Practitioners of Sufism believe that love is a projection of the essence of God to the universe. God desires to recognize beauty, and as if one looks at a mirror to see oneself, God "looks" at itself within the dynamics of nature. Since everything is a reflection of God, the school of Sufism practices to see the beauty inside the apparently ugly. Sufism is often referred to as the religion of love. God in Sufism is referred to in three main terms, which are the Lover, Loved, and Beloved, with the last of these terms being often seen in Sufi poetry. A common viewpoint of Sufism is that through love, humankind can get back to its inherent purity and grace. The saints of Sufism are infamous for being "drunk" due to their love of God; hence, the constant reference to wine in Sufi poetry and music.

Buddhism


In Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Kāma
Kama
Kāma is often translated from Sanskrit as sexual desire, sexual pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, or eros54654564+more broadly mean desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, without sexual connotations.-Kama in...

is sensuous, sexual love. It is an obstacle on the path to enlightenment, since it is selfish. Karuṇā
Karuna
Karuā is generally translated as "compassion" or "pity". It is part of the spiritual path of both Buddhism and Jainism.-Buddhism:...

is compassion and mercy, which reduces the suffering of others. It is complementary to wisdom and is necessary for enlightenment. Adveṣa and mettā
Metta
Mettā or maitrī is loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence, amity, friendship, good will, kindness, love, sympathy, close mental union , and active interest in others. It is one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism, and the first of the four sublime states...

are benevolent love. This love is unconditional and requires considerable self-acceptance. This is quite different from ordinary love, which is usually about attachment and sex and which rarely occurs without self-interest. Instead, in Buddhism it refers to detachment and unselfish interest in others' welfare.

The Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

 ideal in Mahayana Buddhism involves the complete renunciation of oneself in order to take on the burden of a suffering world. The strongest motivation one has in order to take the path of the Bodhisattva is the idea of salvation within unselfish, altruistic love for all sentient beings.

Hinduism



In Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, kāma
Kama
Kāma is often translated from Sanskrit as sexual desire, sexual pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, or eros54654564+more broadly mean desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, without sexual connotations.-Kama in...

is pleasurable, sexual love, personified by the god Kamadeva
Kamadeva
Kāmadeva is the Hindu god of human love or desire. Other names for him include; Atanu , Ragavrinta , Ananga , Kandarpa , Manmatha , Manasija ,...

. For many Hindu schools, it is the third end (artha
Artha
Artha is a Sanskrit term meaning "purpose, cause, motive, meaning, notion".It refers to the idea of material prosperity. In Hinduism, artha is one of the four goals of life, known as purusharthas. It is considered to be a noble goal as long as it follows the dictates of Vedic morality...

) in life. Kamadeva is often pictured holding a bow of sugar cane and an arrow of flowers; he may ride upon a great parrot. He is usually accompanied by his consort Rati
Rati
Rati is the Hindu goddess of love, carnal desire, lust, passion and sexual pleasure. Usually described as the daughter of Prajapati Daksha, Rati is the female counterpart, the chief consort and the assistant of Kama , the god of love. A constant companion of Kama, she is often depicted with him in...

 and his companion Vasanta, lord of the spring season. Stone images of Kamadeva and Rati can be seen on the door of the Chennakeshava temple at Belur, in Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Maara is another name for kāma.

In contrast to kāma, prema
Prem
Prem is a Sanskrit word meaning love. This word is also used in other languages including Assamese, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, and Telugu, and is commonly used as a male first name...

or prem refers to elevated love. Karuna
Karuna
Karuā is generally translated as "compassion" or "pity". It is part of the spiritual path of both Buddhism and Jainism.-Buddhism:...

is compassion and mercy, which impels one to help reduce the suffering of others. Bhakti is a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 term, meaning "loving devotion to the supreme God." A person who practices bhakti is called a bhakta. Hindu writers, theologians, and philosophers have distinguished nine forms of bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

, which can be found in the Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata purana
The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is one of the "Maha" Puranic texts of Hindu literature, with its primary focus on bhakti to the incarnations of Vishnu, particularly Krishna...

 and works by Tulsidas
Tulsidas
Tulsidas , was a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher renowned for his devotion for the god Rama...

. The philosophical work Narada Bhakti Sutras, written by an unknown author (presumed to be Narada
Narada
Narada or Narada Muni is a divine sage from the Vaisnava tradition, who plays a prominent role in a number of the Puranic texts, especially in the Bhagavata Purana, and in the Ramayana...

), distinguishes eleven forms of love.

Sources


External links