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Definition of Love


tar
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Came up with a definition of love about 8 years ago. Based on some philosopical thoughts about consciousness, and general musings, and I just looked at it again, from a scientific brain mechanism point of view and think it might be right.

 

"Love is when you include another entity in your feeling of self."

 

What do you think?

 

Regards, TAR

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Mr Skeptic,

 

Whether intellectual based, phermonially based, or partial, it's still including another entity in your feeling of self.

 

Regards, TAR


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Infact Agape, is in a way, including the bad stuff you have in the dorsal area of your brain, in your feeling of self.


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(love thine enemy as thy self)

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I'd have to disagree on the "as self" part, Tar. No one mistakes someone they love for themselves.

 

Try this definition on for size:

 

Love is an emotionally driven state where the one who loves considers the needs and wants of another (the beloved) to be - to some degree from little to overwhelmingly so - more important than their own needs and wants.

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JillSwift,

 

Well I like it, but I have eight years of fitting stuff into my definition, so I have sort of confirmational bias, but consider this. When, to an outsider, a person sacrifices something to another (the beloved), it seems that the sacrificer is the loser, and should feel bad, and the receiver is the winner and should feel good. But in operation the beloved is part of the lover. The pleasure of the beloved is pleasure to the loved.

 

I feel good when I make someone else feel good. I feel good when someone I consider kindred is successful.

 

Who feels better when a gift is given? The giver or the receiver? Both feel good, no matter which feels better. Unless the gift stinks, or is inappropriate. But often it is said that "it is the thought that counts." To know someone is thinking of you, feels good, and it is a reciprical kind of thing.

 

But I like the "feeling of self" idea, in this reciprical context.

 

Consider the use of the word our or the word my. Possession. Including that entity to which you refer, in your feeling of self.

 

My body, my brain, my worldview, my wife, my family,my hobby, my house, my work, my company, my town, my classmates, my coworkers, my friends, my college, my party, my religion, my country, my culture, my race, my species, my world, my solar system, my universe.

 

Those entities which you love, you consider yours. You include them in your feeling of self.

 

Doesn't mean they have to love you back. In some cases they do in the same way. In some cases not. But the idea is the same. This is where I saw the scientific underpinings of my definition, yesterday. That the same brain mechanisms are being used in all cases. The frontal area behind and above your eyes is rewarding you with chemicals. Making you feel good, when you have something else, other than you in mind.

 

Regards, TAR

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Tar;

 

There is a significant difference between "as/of self" and "for self". You are suggesting that a person who loves loses identity boundaries to some extent. This is not so, except perhaps in isolated cases. We know full well the ones we love are people other than ourselves.

 

Possessing anything also does not infer the loss of identity boundary. In fact, thanks to the typical human dualistic view of ourselves, when we say "our brain" we are considering the brain a separate entity from ourselves even when we know better.

 

This isn't anything other than a limitation of language, and there is no evidence what so over of self-other boundary loss.

 

The definition I provided recognizes "for self" - the emotions driving this interest in placing another person's needs and wants above their own can easily be, and are most likely, self-rewarding.

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JillSwift,

 

Well yes, I suppose you are right. I wasn't suggesting an identity loss, however, more of an identity expansion. It is difficult to think of yourself objectively. I mean, certainly you can watch a movie of yourself, and think "jeez I didn't think I looked like that to other people, my hair is parted on the wrong side?, and look at my posture!" But you can't have a thought of yourself that isn't happening inside your person. What I was trying to consider is how the brain works, stimuli comes in, and somehow once in, the brain can imagine that it's OUTSIDE? Whatever you as JillSwift, might be seeing, standing next to me, is an image in YOUR brain, an interpretation of the stimuli, constructed out of chemicals and neuron activity and arrangements. You have learned what the world is like, from your perspective. We could agree on what we are seeing cause we use the same language and we are seeing the same objects that we both have learned were called trees and clouds and such. But there is a JillSwift in my scene, and a TAR in your scene. You don't see JillSwift's eyes, and I don't see TAR's. You can achieve an "objective" view of yourself, by considering yourself in my shoes, and imagining what I am seeing. But this imagining is still occurring in your'e brain. You have JillSwift's brain's internalized scene, and a second perspective you take from that small area of your brain Rebbeca Saxe showed us, that allows you to put yourself in someone else shoes.

 

There hence is a real way, that what you see, is actually part of you. The shape, the form, the color, all the characteristics of the things you see and hear, and smell and touch, are reconstructed in an analog fashion, in your brain, by your brain. And with reference to that second perspective, you can also have, as part of you, in your brain, a picture of what it is that TAR is picturing.

 

The separation, the identity is not clear cut. Your perspective, and your brain are undoubtably yours. My perspective and my brain and the pictures therein are undoubtably mine. The feeling of self could easily be defined as ending at the outside of your skin. That your body, heart and mind are you... and then there is everything else.

 

But that "everything else", all the sights and sounds and smells and feelings, memories and thoughts and thoughts of memories, that you consider to be outside of you, where all internalized and noticed, within your skin, by you. They are a part of you.

 

As easy as it is to define yourself as that which is inside your skin, it is easy to say that you contain all that you have experienced.

 

And what of that that you have experienced, you consider part of yourself, is pretty much a matter of choice of the perspective you wish to take. What matters to you, what you pay attention to, who you want to please, what you want to protect, what you want to enjoy, which entities you are including in your feeling of self, which entities you love.

 

Regards, TAR

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You're ignoring that a person is aware that they are considering another's point of view. It does not blur the boundaries of "I" and "Other" to consider an external point of view.

 

In short, no matter how well one can "put one's self in another's shoes", you never become that other person - subjectively or objectively - unless you're having an episode of some sort of schizoid reality dysphoria or separation.

 

Where it's true that we are a part of a universe without any separation from it, and in that the objective demarcation between "I" and "Other" is not as clear cut as we'd like to think, we still have our clear, if subjective, demarcations that we follow as a matter of the way our brains function. "I" am never "Other", unless things go wrong.

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JillSwift,

 

I don't disagree with what you are saying.

 

But my definition was softer, and I think more realistic, than considering that to love someone you become that person, or to love your garden, you become your garden.

 

It was intented to reveal, the "chosen identity" nature of love.

 

I love the Yankee's, or I love reading, or I love my country, or I love humanity, or I love my wife. Means something when I say it.

 

I cannot for instance actually love all of humanity, I don't even know most of them, and there is a bunch I don't even know about. But I can consider how I am related to the primordial scum from which life on Earth, and how different life forms exist, some to my benefit and some to my detriment, and side with the ones the most like me, the human ones, when it would come to a decision between the life of a rat, and the life of human. I can be thankful of the sacrifices and efforts of other humans, in creating and maintaining the civilization, and technology I enjoy. I can identify with humans, and include all of them in my feeling of self, if I want to. I am not claiming they ARE part of me, just exploring the actual meaning of the word love, when I use it, in relation to humanity.

 

For "I love my wife" there are additional connections, sharing a bed, and a house and 27 some years of experience, children, houses, memories, finances etc. I consider her a big part of me. I would feel incomplete would she no longer be in my life. I include her, in my feeling of self. I know I am not her, and she is not me. I wasn't trying to define anything magic or impossible.

 

I was trying to give a real definition, that explained the word, based on what is actually scientifically happening in your brain, when we use the word.

 

Regards, TAR


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Mr. Skeptic,

 

Thanks for the mirror neuron link. Interesting stuff.

 

Here is one, gives some nice insight on the difficulties of separating signal and noise from fMRIs and how double dipping often makes the result of such studies seem stronger than they might be.

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106235924

 

Regards, TAR


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Mr. Skeptic,

 

Wouldn't you think empathy and mirror neurons and such are related to ones feeling of self?

 

Regards, TAR


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I guess what I am trying to stay away from is a separtion of the idea of self, from all the things that create the feeling in the first place.

 

There isn't actually a soul, separate from the body and the brain and the heart.

 

One's soul, oneself is created from the existence of the body, brain and heart. You are you.

 

Regards, TAR

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"Love is when you include another entity in your feeling of self."

 

Douglas Hofstadter argues rather passionately that we do this all the time, even for people we don't love or may even hate, in his book I Am A Strange Loop.

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Thanks for the mirror neuron link. Interesting stuff.

 

Here is one, gives some nice insight on the difficulties of separating signal and noise from fMRIs and how double dipping often makes the result of such studies seem stronger than they might be.

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106235924

 

I don't think so, mirror neurons have a very specific function and exist in several species.

 

Wouldn't you think empathy and mirror neurons and such are related to ones feeling of self?

 

Yes, but I don't see how they are necessarily related to love. They'd be more related to theory of mind, and are instinctual. Certainly if you love someone these would help you do good things to them, but if you hate someone these same skills would help you know how to hurt them the most.

 

"Love is when you include another entity in your feeling of self."

Douglas Hofstadter argues rather passionately that we do this all the time, even for people we don't love or may even hate, in his book I Am A Strange Loop.

 

I'd agree with him.

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Mr. Skeptic,

 

Well then how about this correlary.

 

Hate is when you exclude someone from your feeling of self.

 

I have not read any Douglas Hofstadter, but I do believe I am thinking along his lines.

 

Guess we all are.

 

He sounds (from Wiki) to be a very interesting guy. Very bright, and very accomplished.

 

Sounds like he has already explored the avenues I'm trying to go down.

 

Makes me feel sort of good though, that my thoughts seem to fit well with his (from the little I have read.) As if, perhaps I am looking at it, as it really is.

 

As for the love/hate and self referencial mechanisms, I think it works.

 

We have the experience of successful, rewarding, good stuff, and painful bad stuff, all internalized. The bad stuff is parked away in an area we don't pay too much attention to, and the good stuff is readily focused upon. Sort of what we choose to remember, and what we choose to forget.

 

We make our analogies to the good stuff that builds, and fits and creates, feels good, and we find truth and beauty there. We make our analogies to the bad stuff that tears down, is out of place, destroys, is painful and we find falseness and uglyness there.

 

And this internal brain arrangement is reflected in the things we create and the way we view them, and the way they "loop back" and effect us.

 

Our Cathedrals and Dungeons. Our Olympics and our World Wars. Our Universities and our homes for the insane. Our factories, and our garbage dumps.

 

Interesting to me is the role of perspective, the choice of point of view, that reverses the roles of the people on the field wearing blue and gold, and the ones in red and white. Competitive sports seem to let us play out the battle with a minimum of harm, and shared good on another level (health, teamwork, good sportsmanship, etc.) Yet the winning and losing is there, the good and the bad feelings are real.

 

I identify with my team, and they are good, I include them in my feeling of self, I love them, feel bad when they lose, and good when they win. They play for their fans and their fans cheer for them. A self referencial loop, on a number of levels. But my Yankees are hated in Boston, and embody all that is evil as far as Red Sox fans are concerned.

 

Interesting.

 

Regards, TAR


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"Hate is when you exclude someone from your feeling of self."

 

Correcting myself. It should have been, "Hate is when you exclude another entity from your feeling of self.

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I consider 'love' to be just another form of lust. It can dwindle out when not suffiently fuled, and it can flourish when being supported, {By experiences or actions that the other likes, and by making the other happy in any way},.

 

"'Love', is something that leaves you weak, dependant, and fat."

 

"What about love?

"Love is overated, biochemically identical to eating large quantities of chocolate."

 

I don't say this because I think this sounds clever or was previously dumped by my special someone, just speaking from data collected, and believe that 'love' is just memorys of a person that fancies another more than the other candidates, or just has to settle with that someone because they believe that that is the best they will get. Just my opinion... All conversasions must include a pessimstic grouch, and I geuss I fit the bill here.

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Oh, it dies so quickly

It grows so slowly

But when it dies, it dies for good

It's called love [...] And it's the only thing that's worth living for

 

[...]

 

Love is the cure for every evil

Love is the air that supports the eagle

 

[...]

 

It's called love

And it cuts your life like a broken knife

 

Excerpted from New Order / Thieves Like Us

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Grandpa,

 

You are right. The corrollary doesn't work. That sort of weakens the initial definition.

 

Huh. Not so true as I thought.

 

Regards, TAR


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Grandpa,

 

Well wait, it might still work. Indifference is possibly half way on the continuum between love and hate.

 

Sort of in the area were you could go one way or the other with it. Or you like some aspects of something, and dislike others, and you wind up feeling (or thinking)

that you could take it or leave it.

 

I love peanut butter cups, I hate raw octopus, and I'm sort of indifferent to brussel sprouts (some are sweet and tasty, some are bitter and unsavory but I don't either not eat them or seek to eat them.)

 

You have your loves and hates, your likes and dislikes, and then the middle ground, the indifferent stuff.

 

This morning, looking up "drives" and "needs" I ran across our old friend Maslow and his heirarchy of needs. I had learned about this back when I was going to school, and done a lot of thinking around it and based on it, sort of well integrated into my thinking, but I noticed something interesting about it today. Love/Belonging is sitting there right in the middle of the whole equation. Your identity, your self, who you are, to yourself, and to others, is sitting there, right in the middle of the heirarchy.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs

 

Take a look, at the hierachy again, humoring me, and my definition. Keep in mind just an evolved primate, the brain mechanisms, the basic equipment all healty humans have. Just give yourself the part of the brain that rewards and punishes itself, the part of the brain that can imagine others being rewarded and punished, and a mechanism and place in the brain to store/remember good and bad stuff and a mechanism for choosing (to promote/demote or accept/ignore).

 

Look the heirachy over. And give me a second opinion on my definition. (better, same or worse score allowed.)

 

Regards, TAR

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certainly love is related to our concept of 'self'. I dont recall saying otherwise. Like I said all the forms of love have in common the ability to see things from anothers perspective. The ability to put yourself in someone elses shoes.

 

just as there are 3 main types of love so I believe there are 3 main concepts of 'self'.

consciousness (freewill. it is, of course, entirely an illusion. its the self we 'think' or 'expect' exists)

ego (I'm not real clear on this one. apparently I dont have a soul. I know it thinks its the center of the universe. its the self we inductively 'feel')

spirit (for lack of a better word. its the true self. you might say its the sum of all things that have real value to us. the things that we are 'driven' to do or get or work for. its the self we deductively 'know')

 

love is a good thing but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Edited by granpa
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I'd say love is more to do with intending well-being for the loved one. This can be to varying degrees, from just a little to far more than they value their own well-being.

 

About love being including people in their feeling of self... What about people who hate themselves?

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yes. and why do you do that? because you value them and can see things from their point of view and are therefore 'driven' to do so.

 

its probably important to point out that one can love others just because it makes you 'feel' good or you can love others because its the 'right' thing to do. all 3 forms of love exist at these 2 different levels.

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And important, to parsing the definition's application, is that it does not limit our love to people, but to entities.

 

Therefore someone that hates themselves, has taken a particular perspective at that moment, where some aspect of his/her identity is hated.

 

"I hate my job", "I hate when I do that", "I hate this feeling", "I hate thinking about it".

 

Here the hate is toward a particular entity, some aspect of your life that you wish to eliminate. What you are doing, or feeling or thinking. Sometimes the entity is internal to your skin, sometimes it is an imagined entity, an entity which you are putting yourself in the shoes of.

 

Interesting to note at this point is that Maslow built his heirachy based on exemplary individuals. Successful individuals whose feeling of belonging was focused upward on the heirachy. And hence it could be argued that their focus on entities that also existed outside their skin, was aligned with their success. Thus the heirachy is both an explaination and a guide.

 

Side note. Acceptance of fact is up in the pinnacle triangle. This establishes the extreem importance of science as an entity which one can love. Facts that other people have arrived at, that are true and real. Identifying with the process and the people gives you a perspective, an entity to belong to, that trancends that which is inside your skin.

 

Regards, TAR

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  • 3 weeks later...

What about the definition of love by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 "Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not envious; It is not boastful; it is not proud; It is not rude; it is not self-seeking. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres."?

 

Or William Blake's view of it in his poem "The clod and the pebble:

Love seeketh not itself to please,

nor for itself have any care,

but for another gives its sense of ease,

and builds a heaven in hells despair.

 

So sang a clod of clay,

trodden under cattles feet;

but a pebble of the brook,

warble out these metres mete.

 

Love seeks only itself to please,

To bind another in its delight,

joy in another's loss of ease,

and builds a hell in heaven's despite.

??

 

or by George Gordon, Lord Byron in "Friendship is love without his wings"

Why should my anxious breast repine,

because my youth has fled,

days of delight may still be mine,

affection is not dead.

 

In tracing back the years of youth,

one firm record, one lasting truth,

celestial consolation brings,

Bear it ye breezes to the seat,

where first my heart responsive beat,

friendship is love without his wings.

???

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I took this from another thread I wrote in a different forum!

 

Jesus may may not have been God(keeping any beliefs off) but in my opinion was one of the greatest philosophers to walk the planet!

 

He taught that it was better to give than to receive and to be selfless!

 

Only by giving can you win the hearts and affections of others. Soon more love comes in than can go out.

You want people love you all you do is love them first.

 

Try to get people to love you first and you are annoyance!

 

 

Only as you keep giving does the flow continue of receiving more than you can give!

 

Once you start trying to receive the flow changes and may stop and start to become stagnant!

 

You reverse and keep trying to take and take and you might find yourself a bum on the street begging and wishing you had!

 

My final conclusion is a mans worth is a measure of how much he can give. So in essence when you give to others they give back . You end up with not only having what you had originally but also what they gave you too. Give that out and see what happens !

 

There is no greater love than a man who will lay down his life for his brother!

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