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Love, Actually

Posted May 17, 2012 by Jonathan Baron


Love is something that permeates everything we are. Without it, it would be difficult to keep anything together: families, clubs, organizations, even companies or corporations. Defining it can be a tricky thing, though.

Love makes us, but it also can break us. Countless are the stories from time immemorial of love unbroken, love betrayed, and love unrequited. Our fascination with love and Love Quotes, and the concept of it, knows no bounds.

Love is the great enabler of all relationships. Throughout the ages, people have tried to define love with varying degrees of success. In languages other than English, one often finds that the idea of love is split into multiple words to help define aspects of it. The Greek Agape, Eros, Philia, and Storge are commonly referenced (unconditional love, passionate love, friendship love, and natural affection, respectively).

In our culture, the idea and near-worship of love was influenced heavily, if not inflamed, by Shakespeare. Take, for example, Romeo and Juliet's "The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite." These quotes are forever embedded in English culture.

Some argue that love is biologically based, and others that it is a social creation. From a Love Quote standpoint, I'd argue that it falls somewhere in-between: that there are biological aspects to love, as well as social aspects. I'd also argue that it is much, much more than either of those things, but that is for a different time.

There are anecdotes galore of people who say that love has changed them. Mother Teresa changed lives with her philosophy of, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." Not everyone can alter world politics with love, though that doesn't necessarily matter. What matters is that you can alter your own life, and the life of those around you.

Also notable is the fact that love essentially drives every art. It is the crowning passion of the human race. Consider Oprah Winfrey's statement, "You've got to follow your passion. You've got to figure out what it is you love--who you really are. And have the courage to do that. I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams." With the power inherent in love comes the ability for love to hurt us more than any other emotion. We let those that love us in--we let them into our darkest secrets and our smallest wants, our saddest moments and our little joys. Consider actor Anthony Hopkins's quote, "Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore; only the life I have lived. The pain now is part of the happiness then." Someone who knows us not at all has only a limited power to hurt us. It is the person that loves us that can emotionally cut us the deepest.

Since love comes to define so much of who we are as humans (as it can and does define nearly every interpersonal relationship of any value), it is from this that we measure our worth, and by the same token, our failings.

Hopefully, love conquers the defeatist in us, and builds us up. To quote Earlimart, in their song "The Little Things," "Everyone I know, is running out of love...oh and it's so sad, the only thing we have. It's the only thing we have. The only thing we have...Love's the only thing we have."

Most of us won't be remembered for the book we wrote, translated into seventeen languages, or the war we ended, or the billions of dollars we made. Most of us will be remembered by a relatively small group of people that loved us, as we loved them. And remember, "Somewhere there's someone who dreams of your smile, and finds in your presence that life is worthwhile. So when you are lonely, remember it's true: Somebody, somewhere is thinking of you."
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