By: le EAG LE
What is your view about “LOVE”?
Have you really experienced what others say as “true love”?
Have you achieved some form of fulfillment to date?
This writer views love like one of the steps of a ladder, however, its position is above the rest. And before one reaches the level of love and achieves fulfillment, the person must pass (experience) through all the lower steps.
I also view love as having different forms, like, parental love (the almost unconditional affection all parents have toward their children), agape love (the unconditional love of a deity or God), romantic love (the interaction of two individuals with an element of sex), among other.
The figure below illustrates the steps toward love and fulfillment.
In sociology, the family is known as the basic unit of a given society. It is the producer of raw individuals who would become the successors of the dying old generations. A family is equipped with culture passed on to itself by earlier generations and transmitted by them to their children. A family nurtures and protects its offspring until they reach the age of industry and become members of the workforce of the world.
The family serves as the first school of relationships of all individuals. The adoptive family of individuals who are separated from their biological parents, however, is the orphanage.
The individuals live a life of self-centeredness. These are the minors and jobless adults. When they go out of their houses, they wander around and seek others with whom they attempt to relate themselves. They are the frequent entrants to the crowd.
The crowd is the world of strangers. Many individuals enter the crowd and meet other individuals like them there. But in this world, nobody cares about others. Life is chillingly lonesome and shallow. The internet is considered a crowd and is known to harbor large swatches of cyberspace designed and developed for masked individuals where they meet and temporarily satisfy their fantasies and worldly desires.
After wandering in the crowd, an adult individual eventually finds a place in the institutions, like, getting employed or accepted in exclusive organizations or meets someone he calls an acquaintance.
Getting employed is an opportunity for a person to live with his fellow civilized humans. The previous individual is now in a different world in which his behavior in the crowd may not fit inside his employer’s environment. In the institution, the individual finds his potential mate and establishes relationships with others. The first instance of relationship he finds is acquaintanceship. Here he discovers the identity of another person by the name, ID number, home address, among other basic public identification. The relationship is superfluous and does not satisfy deeper social and personal needs.
Beyond acquaintanceship, a person evolves his relationship into friendship.
But friendship has some requirements. Foremost is self disclosure.
A person’s profile in the “Institution,” like, his employer, is a public data or information that is mandatory, like, name, address, phone number, passport number, etc. It is also a form of disclosure, but it does not earn friendship.
The key ingredient to self disclosure is openness.
Openness means disclosing one’s well-kept secrets to another person. Such secrets maybe irrelevant to others, like, when one got embarrassed by uttering the word “sex” instead of “sect.”
Openness means disclosing a part of one’s inner self to an individual. The so called “self” is the embodiment of an individual’s life experiences stored as images in the mind called memory. The memory contains all records of an individual. This is the seat of the “self.” Sharing any part of the self renders the owner vulnerability but somehow deepens a friendship.
Deciding to enter the world of friendship is a major decision because it entails a high-level risk. Can you disclose to a stranger (the “Individual”) your well-kept secrets? What makes a person pursuing friendship vulnerable is the volume of information disclosed.
Not all friendships remain a friendship. Oftentimes, friends become worst enemies. Even siblings and relatives become mortal enemies and would kill each other in the battlefield of politics.
A person who sustains friendship with someone or a number of others of any age, sex, religion, and political leanings lives a happy life.
In friendship, there is a reciprocal high level of acceptance between two persons; and the fear of rejection is almost nil. There is now an established emotional union between two friends. Having disclosed their inner “self” to each other, they no longer feel ashamed to disclose more and the friendship runs deeper.
Romantic love relationship carries all the characteristics of friendship plus the element of physical intimacy. A formula for a romantic love can be devised like:
ROMANTIC LOVE = FRIENDSHIP + PHYSICAL INTIMACY
Two people deeply “in love” with each other have passed the test of friendship and are now ready and willing to enter the world of romantic love relationship. They have stood naked (mentally and emotionally) in front of each other before; now they can also stand naked (physically) in front of each other without fear. And they start to engage in physical bonding until it bears fruit with the procreation of another individual—a womb, destined to become another individual.
But there are many who engage in pre-marital sex relationships even after achieving friendship only to find out that they made a serious mistake—and there are usually losers here.
In a parental love, a mother is designed with a special instinct to care for her offspring no matter what. Mothers have the deepest capacity to sustain and protect life and are considered blessed because that characteristic trait is very close to the God-like agape love—an unconditional love for humanity.
If you are a mother reading this, feel blessed because only a mother can experience such parental love; surrogate mothers simply lack something.
In our Social Psychology class in 1983, our instructor said Marcos (the Philippine dictator) will die a lonely person and will never become a fulfilled man because history has judged him a corrupt leader of the nation.
On the other hand, our instructor in Philosophy and Ethics in 1982 scoffed at those who call themselves “self-made” persons. He demonstrated by saying in front of his students: “Class, who do you think sewed and made the buttons of my shirt? Who made my comb, trousers, pair of shoes and socks, my pen and bag? Who among us humans were able to walk right away upon coming out of the womb of our mothers? Who brought us up?
“Let say there are those who really made it to the top by themselves apparently “alone,” I still do not accept that as self-made because the human being is so designed in a manner as to be able to adapt to his harsh environment and that he is endowed with intellect that would make him realize one day that somebody created him with a purpose.
“An infant’s instinct makes him cry loud when smitten with hunger; his cultural heritage is constantly by his side reminding him to observe societal norms otherwise he will be ridiculed or ostracized; and crafty as he is, he may have been able to manage to the top of his career but it is because there are institutions that recognize such accomplishments without which he will never find meaning to his personal achievements and life.”
Would you risk befriending and loving somebody? Or, you better become an individual all throughout your life?
It’s a matter of choice and decision.
Good luck to your journey!