Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Ah, Valentine's Day ... a day to love, especially if you're a florist or chocolatier.

Traditionally, Valentine's Day celebrates romantic love ... the kind that forms the basis of romantic comedies.  An alien watching these movies to understand our culture would come to the conclusion that romantic love is when two people who hate each other and have nothing in common wind up causing a series of increasingly calamitous events leading up to sex.  Come to think of it, I guess that's pretty accurate.

You see, there are many kinds of romantic love.  In some ways, love is like cheese ... there are all different kinds and flavors.  Some are soft, some hard.  Some are mild, others sharp and tangy.  Some are young and fresh; Others must be aged to be enjoyed. Some are obvious; Others you have to peel the wax off. And, like cheese, love goes well with wine and crackers.  (Just don't get crumbs in the bed.)

I'm trying to decide between two definitions of love:
  • Love is when you feel you're part of something bigger than yourself ... a relationship, a religion, a nation, etc., or ...
  • Love is when you actually are part of something bigger than yourself.
I'm stumped as to which of these is a better fit.  Is love a feeling, or is it a state or condition of being?

On the other hand, it's impossible to define love. As soon as you try, someone's bound to come along and say "I had a parakeet once that I loved," and shoot your theory all to hell. We could start with the proposition, "Love is anything that happens between two people that feels good." Does it have to feel good? No. Do there have to be two of them? No. Do they have to be people? No.

Maybe we should leave it at, "Love is anything that happens."

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