Learning to love: discovering love
Forgetting what it means to love is one of the most destructive evils of our time. One of the main causes of the disenchantment and tension that affect many of our contemporaries. And the fact is that, if love is banished, confused or denaturalized, happiness and joy (and even mental health, as can be seen today) vanish with it.
Therefore, if we aspire to build and consolidate a healthier, more consistent, joyful and hopeful civilization, we must begin by raising, in this specific aspect, the human category of society as a whole.
– That is to say, we have to learn ourselves and help others to learn what it is to love, in theory and in practice.
– We have to improve our knowledge of love and our way of living it and try to get many others to do the same.
Forgetting what it means to love is one of the deepest evils of our culture: banished, confused or denaturalized love, happiness and joy vanish with it.
First, in theory (although never in the margins of life)
To begin with, we should all be clear that:
– Far from fading away, almost diluted, in those sentimental effluvia to which it is often reduced…
– Far from being just a function of pure physiology or even of mere chemistry, which undoubtedly play a role in relationships between couples, friendships, siblings and between parents and children…
– Far from being reduced to a mere stimulus for pleasure or egocentric self-realization, to a sort of egoism of two, apparently shared…
Far from all that, love is essentially constituted by an act of the will.
– A dense, strong and stable act, which puts the whole person in fruitful tension.
– An act of seeking, giving life and offering good to the loved one.
– A deep, constant and renewed determination to help those we love to be happy: almost, almost an obsession.
The core of love is an act of will, strong and enduring, which discovers, prepares and delivers the good of the loved one.
To begin to clarify the marvelous mystery of love, we can turn to the description offered by Aristotle in his Rhetoric.
The Greek philosopher tells us there that to love is “to will the good for another as another”.
Three elements, intimately linked, would compose the reality we are looking for:
- The good
- For another (as soon as another).
A light commentary on each of these components will put us on the right track to try to understand, with more precision and depth, the nature of love.
We will do so in subsequent articles.
To love is to desire the good for another, precisely insofar as another.
A “determined decision” – almost an obsession – to help the one we love to be happy.