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John A Mangini Jr.

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What is Love?
By John A Mangini Jr.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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A philosophical manifesto on love



There are many forms of love.  One may love a friend, a parent, a spouse, a pet, or even an object.  These loves may be similar or they may be different.  What is love?  Is it indefinable?  I’ve always been fascinated by the connection made between love and sex.  It is this concept of romantic love I’d like to explore, for it is this concept of love that is most sought.  Romantic love is a dynamic love, similar to the love of an object.  It is a love that changes and transforms commonly.  Love for a child is not often abandoned.  It is a static love, meaning it does not change.  It is always there.   We don’t fall out of love with a child to have a new child.  Conversely, romantic love is often disregarded or replaced.  The reason for this is simple.  A direct connection is made between romantic love and sex.  This is clearly seen.  So, the question is why?  Does sexual desire cloud our judgment and confuse our brains into falsely believing we are in love?  The true answer is love and sex are not connected.  They are two separate gifts that are often enjoyed simultaneously.



The Logic Approach


Let’s take a logical approach this idea.  Can one be sexually attracted to another without being in love?  The answer is plainly, yes.  Can one love another without being sexually attracted to that person?  Again, the answer is plainly, yes.  Therefore, love has no direct connection to sex.  If the first question is true , and the second question is true , then a direct link between love and sex must not exist.  If it did, there would exist no love without intercourse.  The only logical conclusion we could possibly reach, is that this connection between romantic love and sex is a creation of an organized, civilized society.  This is at the very root of the problem which exists so commonly today with relationships.  There has never been a time when divorce was more common.  There has never been a time when so many couples sought the help of marriage counselors.  There has never been a time when so many single mothers existed.  There has never been a time when so many women have had children to multiple fathers.  These all stem from the confusion between love and sex, and sex is the real culprit.  Sex creates the confusion.



The Nature Principle


Humans are essentially animals of nature.  Over time, our reasoning ability has transformed us from natives to civilized beings.  By its simple nature, civilization is the result of organized structure.  This organized structure is the result of standards created by man, in order for humans to co-exist for mutual benefit.  As animals, humans have instincts.  In the beginning these instincts were used to hunt, protect, and procreate.  Over the years, and through a slow transformation of social standards, these instincts have been gradually suppressed.  That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, however.  It simply means our ability to reason has slowly taken over our natural and instinctual urges.  After all, it is this instinct which must exist if we are to exist.  And it is this instinct that is at the very core of the relationship problem.



Man vs. Woman


There have been many books sold which reveal the obvious, men and women are different.  This is a blatant fact in a generalized sense.  Society has created many of these differences and our physiology has created still more.  Generally speaking, men are logically driven while woman are more emotionally driven.  Although women love sexual activity, it is the emotional connection most women desire.  Conversely, men are drawn to the physicality of sex.  It encompasses much of their thought each day.  Prostitution is said to be the oldest profession, but you would have to search long and hard to find a significant number of male prostitutes who service women.  Prostitution is, for the most part, a male endeavor.  Even most male prostitutes service men.  Why is this the case?  Many women would say it is because they don’t need to pay for it.  Although true to some extent, it is not the full answer.  Men are willing to pay for it for two basic reasons.  1. They have no connection between love and sex.  2. Men desire variety.  A man’s instincts draw him to desire many different partners.  This creates the “grass is greener” mentality and therefore, he is always looking for the next sexual partner, as if he may find something different with the next one.  Of course he doesn’t, but this constant looking continues.






Why then do men get married?  “Sow your wild oats” and “ last minute jitters” are common phrases for bachelors moving toward the hallowed institution of matrimony.  Although there are men from certain religions and regions who practice polygamy, the majority of men around the globe do choose to get married.  In fact, many desire to find the right person to settle down with.  Even though these desires exist, a man never fully suppresses his multi-partner urges.  He simply manages to subdue them.  Or he finds alternative ways to exercise his erotic desires.  He may turn to pornography, prostitution, or go as far as to engage in a one-night-stand, or even take on a mistress.  History has proven this common.  In prior days, a woman was much more likely to accept this fact.  The truth is, none of the aforementioned alternatives have anything to do with love.  Put aside the guilt and a man could have sex with another woman and not love his wife any less.  In fact, he could love his wife without their having sex, further proof that love and sex are discernable.  Sexual desire appears no matter how secure or positive the relationship.  It is a feeling of addiction, an impulse which begs feeding.  No matter how deep the feelings may be for his partner, he eventually will have urges and desires to experience a new or different partner.  This is straight instinctual desire, nothing more.   So, if this is true , what makes a man be monogamous?  This is a constant struggle for him.  He must continually work to fight against his instincts and give into social acceptance of what is “right.”  He chooses to do this for varying reasons.  1. Out of respect for his partner.  His love will not permit him to exploit her affection, or he is unwilling to risk hurting her.  2. He has been molded by society (this includes organized religion) to accept the institution of marriage and its vows.  3. Fear of the ramifications of personal, financial, and/or reputation loss.  4. Out of respect for his children and his unwillingness to disrupt his family. 



What is Love?


Do we really fall in and out of love?  Or do we fall in and out of sexual attraction?  The latter is the more logical answer.  And once we lose that sexual attraction, the differences we have no longer seem worth it.  Sexual desire is the basis for what we interpret as love.  But surely love is not so insignificant and dynamic, as to come and go so frequently and with such ease.  True love is not a matter-of-fact or fleeting proposition.  The sexual energy produced by the body is a powerful force.  It will cloud judgment.  It will make promises on the body’s behalf.  And these are often times promises which cannot be kept over time, as reasoning eventually overtakes the sporadic sexual desire as the dominate force.  This is a cyclical process.  Sometimes we may call on past lovers during times of sexual need.  This is our instinct taking over our reasoning once more.  One simply cannot fall in and out of love as this process suggests.  The capricious urges to take action belong solely to sexual instinct and not to love.  Love is more static and engrained than that.  Love need not make a commitment.  Love simply is.  We do not need to work at love, nor can we make ourselves love.  Love is not hard.  The idea that relationships are work stems from the basic premise that love and sexual desire are two separate things.  Often times we can be in love with our sexual attraction towards another.  It is this which many unions are based.  And it is this also, for which many unions are broken.  It is only natural that this sexual attraction is misinterpreted to be love.  However, we have proven that love can be non-exclusive to sex, so therefore they are separate.  The love associated with sexxual desire is not love at all, but rather infatuation.  An obsession with a person’s look or feel.  This is the true reason for the saying “opposites attract.”  Opposites don’t really attract, but are rather the outcome of obsessive love.  We cannot choose who sexually motivates us, it just happens by instinct.  More often than not, we find we are not compatible as people and so the relationship is founded on the basis of sex.  Nothing more truly exists, however often times we work at the compatibility part.  We give in to our partner’s wishes, or conflict occurs.  Once conflict exists, it is a constant struggle to work at the relationship, to seek help, and when no help is found, we grow tired of the struggle and feel that we are growing apart.  We are not however, because we were never truly together in a love sense.  We were merely victims of a misguided definition of love.  Furthermore, the idea of only loving one partner contradicts other forms of love.  Can you imagine society accepting the notion that a person could love only one parent or one child or one pet or one friend?  The concept is ridiculous.  So why then would romantic love be different?  Why would it be limited when humans are capable of loving so many equally?  Again it is the concept of social shaping.  Society has formed opinions or standards for the role each sex plays.  These standards have certainly changed over the years but they are there none the less.  Take for instance the standards of grooming and dress.  Women shave their under arms and legs while men don’t.  Certain clothing is acceptable for women but not men.  Why are women the one’s who carry purses.  Why not men?  There are distinctive social standards for each sex.  And we accept those standards without too much thought.  Just as we accept the social standards of monogamy and matrimony.  Again with little thought.  In fact, we spend far more time thinking of ways to make it work than we do of why we need to make it work.  We need to force it to work because it is unnatural. 


Why Work So Hard?


Life seems to work better when those standards are imposed and followed.  Society as a whole benefits from this conformity.  Humans are social animals and need interaction.  We desire the sharing of camaraderie.  The idea of living alone and having to continually search for sexual partners in a civilized society is not a favorable one for most.  Security of companionship is a contributing factor.  Humans are largely social beings and are fueled by positive reinforcement.






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