Love, American style

Do you remember that TV Show?

 I mean what is not to love about a show that depicts comedic American love stories using a flugelhorn to highlight it? It made silly out to be the root of romantic love.



I actually was only privy to summer re-runs when we would visit the US, but growing up overseas lent itself to think of America as some sort of different place, where EVERYTHING happened differently. That would include love.

 Aside from my childishly absurd notions that Americans had a different kind of love from elsewhere in the world… I have always been fascinated by this “emotion”, love.

 Of course, I am not the first. Those dead old white dudes (the Greek philosophers) did a pretty good job at trying to define it. But in all my years pondering the whole notion, I felt like they had missed something. Of course, this depends on who you listen to… but in general there are four Greek words for love… though some claim that there are six words.

Source


But the notion of love has always been interesting. There was a post in the New York Times that struck a chord. The idea that love can be induced in a clinical setting with a clinical method seemed intriguing.

 As I pondered the idea of being able to make two people fall in love, I wondered if this “test” was more about being vulnerable and honest rather than that there was a method to allow a couple to fall in love… I mean, that I was curious about what these questions would do outside of a “couple” type setting — what would happen if a parent and child followed the regimen, for example. Surely love was dependent on certain pre-sets. A willingness to fall in love, an attraction to the other individual at its root (which begs another question on attraction identity could this method allow gay people of opposite sexes to fall in love, for example), and even the mood at the time of the “experiement”.

 So, in a fit of my orneriness and willingness to buck systems and not follow “protocols” I decided to ask my husband and son the first set of questions.

 It was interesting. I learned things about each of them I never would have imagined, though nothing so significant that it induced a stronger feeling of love or something of that nature. However, it was a nice conversation and no one seemed bothered by the questions. 

I stopped after the first set of the questions in part because I had asked them in the car as we were on a family errand and the errand had come to a close, but also to think about how that portion had gone… plus, the second set includes a question about how you feel about your mother and that is an interesting question to ask a ten year old son (I would need to adapt the question in terms of intent, but how to capture that same essence… I mean, mothers have a pretty profound role in our lives for the bad or the good).

 So, it seems (at least on the surface) as if those studies tend to focus on fostering the eros end of a love spectrum, but since I seem to see that it is about being willing to be vulnerable that there should be more cross-love application… meaning it could create something in maternal our wifely love as well. 

I have yet to try the 4 minute staring part of the experiment, but I will. 
Though it reminds me of a boyfriend I had in college that asked me to do that with him, stare into each-others eyes for a few minutes, and it seemed too intense to try at that time… especially since I hated being looked at in those years (think bangs over the face) and would not have that kind of protection. I would have felt too vulnerable.

 However, and perhaps this is the thing I have sensed was missing — its that for all these words describing different kinds of love, and for all these questions to help one fall in love… isn’t there one word, one thing, at the root of each of them that crosses all these definitions and actions and if so, what is that? What causes all of these things to be classified under the word love.

 What does that mean for love?

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