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Helen Fisher
Philosophical views

People, throughout history, have often considered phenomena such as "love at first sight" or "instant friendships" to be the result of an uncontrollable force of attraction or affinity.[11] One of the first to theorize in this direction was the Greek philosopher Empedocles, who in the 4th century BC argued for the existence of two forces, love (philia) and strife (neikos), which were used to account for the causes of motion in the universe. These two forces were said to intermingle with the classical elements, i.e., earth, water, air, and fire, in such a manner that love served as the binding power linking the various parts of existence harmoniously together.

Later, Plato interpreted Empedocles' two agents as attraction and repulsion, stating that their operation is conceived in an alternate sequence.[12] From these arguments, Plato originated the concept of "likes attract", e.g., earth is attracted to earth, water to water, and fire to fire. In modern terms this is often phrased in terms of "birds of a feather flock together".

Bertrand Russell describes love as a condition of "absolute value", as opposed to relative value. Thomas Jay Oord defines love as acting intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote overall well-being. Oord means for his definition to be adequate for religion, philosophy, and the sciences. Robert Anson Heinlein, one of the most prolific science fiction writers of the 20th century, defined love in his novel Stranger in a Strange Land as the point of emotional connection which leads to the happiness of another being essential to one's own well being. This definition ignores the ideas of religion and science and instead focuses on the meaning of love as it relates to the individual.

Love (religious views)

Love in early religions was a mixture of ecstatic devotion and ritualised obligation to idealised natural forces (pagan polytheism).[citation needed] Later religions shifted emphasis towards single abstractly-oriented objects like God, law, church and state (formalised monotheism). A third view, pantheism, recognises a state or truth distinct from (and often antagonistic to) the idea that there is a difference between the worshiping subject and the worshiped object. Love is reality, of which we, moving through time, imperfectly interpret ourselves as an isolated part.[citation needed]

The Bible speaks of love as a set of attitudes and actions that are far broader than the concept of love as an emotional attachment. Love is seen as a set of behaviours that humankind is encouraged to act out. One is encouraged not just to love one's partner, or even one's friends but also to love one's enemies. The Bible describes this type of active love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

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, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Romantic love is also present in the Bible, particularly the Song of Songs. Traditionally, this book has been interpreted allegorically as a picture of God's love for Israel and the Church. When taken naturally, we see a picture of ideal human marriage:[13]

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealously unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

The passage dodi li v'ani lo, i.e. "my beloved is mine and I am my beloved", from Song of Songs 2:16, is an example of a biblical quote commonly engraved on wedding bands.

Also, the Bible defines love as being God himself. I John 4:8 states "God is Love". In essence, God is the epitomy of love - in action and relation.[citation needed] It is God that first loved mankind and desired a relationship. (John 3:16-17) Love is the underlying drive in most people.[citation needed] The search for love seems endless within the human race, throughout the ages.[citation needed] The Bible defines God as being the completeness of love. Love, as being defined by Him, is demonstrated in his character and personality. Another way of defining this type of love is "godly love", a love shown through the example of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. However, this "sacrificial" love can also be expressed by humans.[citation needed] For example, the love of a mother for her child. It is one one of the strongest bonds of love known to Man.[citation needed] The mother would sacrifice anything for the child. It is this type of love that the Bible teaches us to follow and to share with one another. Love, in the end, is truly a sacrifice.[citation needed]

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, defines Love as one of 7 synonyms for God. This indicates that Deity is more than a being that has benevolent concerns for mankind, but rather that God is Love itself. Love is also synonymous with Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, and Truth and indicate the depth and wholeness of Love.[citation needed]

In Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, there are six words for Unconditional Love (Kenoota, Khooba, Makikh, Abilii, Rukha and Dadcean Libhoun) which are untranslatable and are all translated as the one word Love in the English Bible. They are explained here

The Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, helps devotees to see that love conquers all. It says, "Sattvapure, luminous, and free from sorrowbinds us to happiness and wisdom" Sattva, translated as purity, helps one to see that love evolves from selflessness.

Helen Fisher

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