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Phenomenology of Love: Naturally Capable of Lovin

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   Hundreds of years have passed since people started to ask, “What is love?” Several individuals have already tried and contributed their answers to the discussion regarding its true meaning. A lot of works has been done and published on this subject, but it seems that the question brings in more questions whenever the topic is brought to life. The curiosity and interest of people in answering this question proves how love is: a part of us and our lives; that it is a part of our nature as human beings, which mean we are naturally capable of loving; and that it plays a vital role on the philosophy of man.

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When anyone is asked about their experience about love, some will smile instantly while others will have a confused face like they are remembering some lonely moments in their lives. It is proven in this generation that the word ‘love’ means an infinite definition. When an ordinary student is being asked about love, they will think about couples, girlfriend, boyfriend or crushes. Maybe in their point of view, that is what they call love. In terms of love, people only seek for someone to love them not knowing that there are people who already loved them for a long time. These scenario results to people get the words ‘i love you’ ‘you’re mine’ ‘i won’t leave’ from the person who does not know how sacred and complex these words are.

Nowadays, love is perceived as feelings felt and shared by two lovers towards each other. They admire the things that are beautiful in every aspect of their partner’s life, which makes them feel like they are, in some way, “connected”. In here, love is being associated as admiration.

People also tend find happiness on the simple things or “efforts” done by their partners, to which they find sincere and meaningful. They do not seem to care about the rest of the world they are the only ones that matter to each other – where they would say that as long as that they have feelings for one another, there is “love”. As a song goes, “You got a way of making me feel insane, like I can’t trust my own brain …” In here, lovers are dependent to one another.

As time pass by, people tend to equate love to sex. They are saying that when one truly loves the other, one will give in to their eroticism and sexual desires. This is where they find love and happiness through their contacts physically.

People also tend to find love in labels. They act like when two strangers developed a romantic relationship and labeled themselves as a “couple”; they would go back to being strangers or at least friends. Thus, this made friendship inferior to love and love being superior to friendship.

And last but not the least, people always defines love as an interpersonal connection. This means that love is always found between people. Based on Robert Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love (2004), he stated that love comprises of three components: intimacy, passion, and commitment. In his theory, the ideal form of love is the combination of the three components to which he called “consummate love”.

 He also describes other combinations of the three components, such as:

  • Romantic Love = intimacy + passion

No commitment; typically happens in teenage years.

Thus, contradicting the thought that age doesn’t matter when it comes to love.

  • Companionate Love = intimacy + commitment

 Typically on close friends

  • Infatuated Love = passion only

Admiration; commonly experienced at the beginning of the relationship

  • Empty Love = commitment only

 No intimacy or passion; it can change to other forms of love as times pass by; for example, an arranged marriage

  • Fatuous Love = passion + commitment

is like getting engaged after dating for three weeks; feelings results impulsiveness

Anyways, to start our phenomenology of love we must set aside these preconceptions about love. Now, let’s go back to our goal – to make a phenomenology of love.Love exists in many and varying forms – one just needs to notice it and make the best out of it.

Loneliness and Admiration

The experience of love starts from the feeling of loneliness. As human being, we are capable of being self-conscious – being aware of what is happening to ourselves and to our environment. Being able to reflect, we then realize that we are all unique, or completely different from one another, which push us to love ourselves first. This difference between people also causes arguments and fight due to difference – thus, making us feel misunderstood by the world and that the whole world is against us. The feeling may lead us to question where the fault is: within ourselves or within the rest of the world which promotes uniformity and creates specific standards for things and people. This may trigger negative feelings and thoughts which may later lead to the realization that we are lonely despite not being alone.

As individuals, we try to overcome loneliness by ourselves. This is where we develop our interests in other things since we try to distract ourselves from the thoughts of being lonely. Consumed by the thought that every human being is unique, we tend to always see the difference of one to the other – leading us to appreciate or admire those who have similarities to us since they are making us feel understood in a judgmental world. Admiration actually happens on a daily basis since we gather new experience and explore new things every day. Admiration can happen between us and others, although it can happen inside you – you can admire even your other family members, strangers, even a part of yourself that you just discovered and appreciated. It is a part of the nature of human beings to see the beauty even in times of darkness, and we can only be affected and devastated by that darkness if we chose and allow it to do so.

Moreover, love is not loneliness – It only starts from it. As we start trying to fill that gap between ourselves and the others, we learn how to appreciate things that resemble us – as a sign of comforting ourselves from the thoughts and the feeling of being lonely. Then, loneliness ends when one finds comfort in other people through admiration. Lastly, we grow to care about the people we admire; just because we all want the best for them and we think that we can help them with that since they helped us in the first place.

With the help of other like friends, family, or even strangers, you will eventually learn how to love yourself. This will later lead to finding comfort coming from within you, thus becoming an independent individual, at least, emotionally and mentally. 

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