By Asra Gholami
“You know what love is?
It is all kindness, generosity
Disharmony prevails when
You confuse lust with love, while
The distance between the two
Is endless” (Rumi)
So the question is: what is love?
I’ve been hearing different definitions of love recently, strange definitions actually. The discussion in the Socratic society at week seven about “dating” showed that many people are confused about love. I think the confusion is that people are looking to satisfy their physical and emotional needs, and they call these satisfactions “love”, which is not correct. Love does not have a reason, love is not for benefit. You simply love the beloved because you love him or her. Indeed in many cases you should sacrifice for the beloved and suffering is an integral part of love.
I read something interesting on the internet the other day. In a survey of 4-8 years olds, kids share their views on love. Some of these views are:
“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day”.
“Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken”
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries, without making them give you any of theirs”
To make me sad on the weekend one of my friends told me: “Guess what, I’ve changed my opinion about love. Love doesn’t exist. It’s just people getting used to each other. Love is just a word to describe our thoughts about someone when we don’t see him or her for a while.”
However there are some other friends who keep me hopeful that love has been understood by a few people at least. One of these friends once told me his idea of love which I really liked. I think it was wonderful. He described love as “magic and hard work”. The magic occurs in the meeting of two souls. The hard work is what it takes to grow this “meeting” into something strong and robust, something lasting. A perfect description of love I think.
So I think it would be interesting and depressing at the same time to discuss about the meaning of love, so as I said before the question is: what is love?