I'd like to hear how you would personally describe it, and how you can distinguish it from more transient things, such as mere loneliness, or lust.

Personally, I would say when one experiences the true emotion, they feel as if they are briefly in a transcendent state of mind, at one with all of nature, completely in the present and devoid of distracting thoughts; an emotion otherwise only accessible through meditation and connection to a higher power.

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Love isn't an emotion. It's a decision to put someone else's interests before your own. In that regard ... it's pretty easy to distinguish from lust or loneliness, both of which are inherently self-involved.

JB

Love isn't an emotion. It's a decision to put someone else's interests before your own. 

I would have to disagree with that, since decisions can be proceeded by a variety of motives, not all of them equally sincere.

Two people, for example, could do identical works which are seemingly self-sacrificial, however one's person primary motive could be a hope of acquiring money or material things, while the others could be a dedication to a higher purpose or cause.

I would say philsophically and spirtually speaking, love is a higher emotion related to a connection to higher truth, and that the actions follow this. However actions which might seem "good" in themselves can be proceeded by lesser or more worldy emotions, such as lust, pride, lonliness, etc.

I'd also say there are different 'degrees' of love; an employee who is genuinely dedicated to his company and has a sincere desire to do good work for them, versus merely a desire for money, promotions, etc - I would say does love their job, but I wouldn't equate the love of a job on the same level as romantic, or spiritual love.

That reply was all over the place.

You asked "what is love between a man and a woman?". That's the question I answered. It's not a loopy transcendental spiritual experience of higher truth. It's a tangible set of actions taken toward a specific woman.

"Loving" a job isn't actually love at all -- provided you're not insane. "Love", in that case, is a hyperbolic figure of speech indicating a strong preference. Like 'loving' a steak. Or a car. Or a movie. Or whatever. You enjoy what you're getting from it, and prefer it to other options. You wouldn't die for it. Or sacrifice yourself. Or put it's interests above your own. It's an inanimate object.

Again, fairly easy to distinguish from lust, pride, loneliness, etc. All of those -- as well as 'preference' above -- are self-focused. It's a transactional relationship about what you're getting, not what you're willing to give. Love is the opposite.

JB

You asked "what is love between a man and a woman?". That's the question I answered. It's not a loopy transcendental spiritual experience of higher truth. It's a tangible set of actions taken toward a specific woman.


I'd have to say no, I would say the loopy spiritual experience would be the correct basis, and that said reply would contradict many spiritual message, such as those of Christ.

For example, in a Biblical parable regarding the Pharisees, who donated large lumps of gold to church. While the physical action may have been 'self-sacrificial', Christ's message was that it was not sincere, since it was motivated by pride and wanting to be seen in-public doing a 'good work'.

Likewise, a specific set of actions toward a woman, even if materially self-sacrificial - motivated by baser or more materialistic motives, would be just as insincere and devoid of meaning.

"Loving" a job isn't actually love at all -- provided you're not insane. "Love", in that case, is a hyperbolic figure of speech indicating a strong preference. Like 'loving' a steak. Or a car. Or a movie. Or whatever. You enjoy what you're getting from it, and prefer it to other options. You wouldn't die for it. Or sacrifice yourself. Or put it's interests above your own. It's an inanimate object.



That statement isn't quite correct, and is merely assuming a specific motive which I actually already addressed. Your statement above assumes that the 'loving of a job' is for purely utilitarian reasons, however I'd have to say that said reasons, which I agree are not love, are not the only reasons that one could undertake a job.


As an analogy, the apostles in the Bible such as Peter were willing to spread Christ's message, not merely as "a living" or means of self-stimulation, but motivated by a higher existential truth, which was the underlying motive for what they did, while their outward actions flowed naturally from it.

The actions alone, devoid from the underlying truth or motive, would have been entirely meaningless, even physically identical; the same in the case of a man 'loving' woman, as identical physical actions could be proceeded by entirely different motives, whether spiritual or merely selfish and utilitarian.


Again, fairly easy to distinguish from lust, pride, loneliness, etc. All of those -- as well as 'preference' above -- are self-focused. It's a transactional relationship about what you're getting, not what you're willing to give. Love is the opposite.

I'd have to concur that that statement is quite philosophically utilitarian and secularistic, and at odds with the true messages of spiritual teachings, so no I would have to refute it as worldly naivete, sorry.

I've never been called 'secularistic' before. Or worldly. Or naive. First time for everything. Heh.

When Christ was asked about His commandment to "Love your neighbor as yourself" in Luke 10, He described a Samaritan who showed mercy to a stranded, half-dead Jew ... and took action to help him. Love is ACTION. According to Christ Himself.

We can pick apart the Greek translations of the word 'love', if you'd like. Suffice to say, love not an emotion, in that context. It's a deliberate, purposeful, selfless action. There's nothing loopy or spiritual or transcendental about that. It's practical. As intended.

JB

I've never been called 'secularistic' before. Or worldly. Or naive. First time for everything. Heh.

When Christ was asked about His commandment to "Love your neighbor as yourself" in Luke 10, He described a Samaritan who showed mercy to a stranded, half-dead Jew ... and took action to help him. Love is ACTION. According to Christ Himself.

I see that as a misinterpretation taken out of context. The action of loving the Samaritan would be something which 'flowed forth' from a higher understanding of truth, not something merely performed ritualistically irregardless of the motive.

As I mentioned regarding the story of the Pharisees's donations of gold, while the action if viewed from a purely external utilitarian measurement, might be 'selfless', it was clear that as the motive behind said action was about pride, rather than a sincere understanding of it, that in Christ's eyes it was not actually selfless.

So likewise, had the Jew aided the Samaritan simply by following some rote, ritualistic script of "dos and do nots", or had he been doing an allegedly 'selfless' act but with selfish motives (e.x. hoping the Samaritan would repay his kindness with gold), then Christ would've said something different entirely.

So it as indeed the motive, not the act itself, which was selfless. The view that the physical action itself, irregardless of the motive seems to philosophically tie in with the "salvation through works, or sacraments" view as well, as opposed to works naturally 'flowing forth' from salvation, rather than vice versa.

We can pick apart the Greek translations of the word 'love', if you'd like. Suffice to say, love not an emotion, in that context. It's a deliberate, purposeful, selfless action.

The point is that actions cannot be deliberate, purposeful and selfless, without a prior higher emotion.

Much as while both a state welfare system, and a husband can both provide the same material or financial resources to a woman with a child, one could not equate the actions of the welfare system as the same as that of a husband.

There's nothing loopy or spiritual or transcendental about that. It's practical. As intended.

 

"Practical", referring to purely utilitarian or materialistic in function, and therefore atheistic, as a machine could potentially perform identical 'physical actions'.

So what you're advocating intentional or not, is a somewhat atheistic bastardization of the actual spiritual teachings, and potentially damning message, hence the reduction of higher emotions to things which are "loopy", a message which would fit right in with secularist philosophies like that of Jeremy Bentham, but not any spiritual philosophies.

I don't call you naive, but I dismiss this as niavete, in the sense that it would be niave to assume an action is 'selfless' based on a mere external analysis of the action like one would externally observe the moon's orbit around the earth.

As were one to do that, then logically one would have to assume that any politician which 'performs the physical action' of donating to a charitable cause is doing so with an entirely altrusitic motive; and likewise completely denigrate the very existence of "motives" altogether, by reducing things to the mere utilitarian, physical 'actions', which again would be entirely contradictory to Christ's message regarding the Pharisees donations of gold.

Spinning the orthodox understanding of Christ's Great Commandment as "atheistic" is unique.  Never heard that before.


Either way, it's certainly not "out of context".  There is no additional context.  That's the whole parable.  If Christ needed to mention the Samaritan's feelings to clarify His explanation of how to love your neighbor ... I trust He would've.

JB

Spinning the orthodox understanding of Christ's Great Commandment as "atheistic" is unique.  Never heard that before.


"Orthodox" according to what theology?

By the way you define love, as merely an "physical action", this would mean that in theory, a robot could emulate the same action.

Which would mean to be philosophically consistent, one would have to either conclude that a robot is capable of 'giving love' despite being an inanimate object, or one would have to reduce all that exists to mere physical interactions between matter and energy, which could also be done to rule out the existence of God entirely.

For that matter, it is also said that God is love, and I've never heard God defined as a "practical action", but rather God seems to be one of those "loopy, transcendental" concepts that can't be reduced or defined as mere matter and energy or interactions thereof.

Either way, it's certainly not "out of context".  There is no additional context.  That's the whole parable.

The additional context is the entire message of the Gospels, not just 'that one parable' in a vacuum cherry-picked out of the context of the whole.

For that matter, if one merely picks out individual verses but ignores the entire context, then one can argue that the Old Testament "commands people to stone witches" which some atheists often due, even though it's pretty theologically clear when taken into the entire context that this is a misinterpretation.

If Christ needed to mention the Samaritan's feelings to clarify His explanation of how to love your neighbor ... I trust He would've.


He did so quite well in denigrating the Pharisees decision to donate gold to the synagoge, despite the action being "selfish" if measured from a purely empirical, utilitarian perspective.

 

I think it is a blend.  That settles toward this.

Emotions including friendship, lust, etc start the foundations.  It builds as it moves more toward a deep friendship.  Sex can deepen the bonds if it is focused as a shared mutual pleasure.

Yet so can mutually shared experiences also form strong bonds.  You see such acts (a decision to put someone else's interests before your own) in war as much as marriage, I would guess.

Marriage for me is work.  My wife and I both agree marriage is work.  It is good work and has it's pleasures and joys.  but I do think over time a good marriage is a balance of "a decision to put someone else's interests before your own" and good communication so that everyone has their needs and interests taken care of.

"That reply was all over the place."

It is not alone!

Well I'm interested in how you define love, and how if one removes human motives and intentions from the equation, and defines it as just "a physical action", then how you can reconcile this with Christ's condemning of the Pharisees' action as insincere in spite of being "selfless" from a purely utilitarian perspective.

And if "actions" from a physical perspective are mere interactions between matter and energy, then in theory a machine could emulate them. But I've never heard of a machine being defined as something able to love.

So if you'd be more specific, that'd help to add more to the discussion. Since philosophically speaking, the descriptions above seem to me far more compatible with atheistic philosophies which reduce things to purely materialistic or pragmatic understandings.

Or just as a specific question, how would you personally define the difference between following 'the letter' and 'the spirit', because if the physical actions in a vacuum are all that matter, then there seems to be no distinction between the spirit and the letter.

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