Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The word love has different meanings

The word love has many different meanings in English, from something that gives a little pleasure ("I loved that meal") to something one would die for (ideals, family). It can describe an intense feeling of affection, an emotion or an emotional state. In ordinary use, it usually refers to interpersonal love. Probably due to its psychological relevance, love is one of the most common themes in art and music.

Just as there are many types of lovers, there are many kinds of love. Though love is inherent in all human cultures, cultural differences make any universal definition difficult to establish. One definition attempting to be universally applicable is Thomas Jay Oord's: to love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others, to promote overall well-being. This definition applies to the positive connotations of love.

Expressions of love may include the love for a "soul" or mind, the love of laws and organizations, love for a body, love for nature, love of food, love of money, love for learning, love of power, love of fame, love for the respect of others, etcetera. Different people place varying degrees of importance on the kinds of love they receive. According to many philosophers, the only goal of life is to be happy. And there is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved. Love is essentially an abstract concept, much easier to experience than to explain.

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