Love is the Most Distorted English Word. Here’s Why
Love is the most distorted word in the English language. Here’s the profound meaning of love.
Love is very hard to define. Even harder to find and maintain. We have a lot of fantasies and misconceptions about what it is. The Explanation will help you get a clearer message of what love is by showing how it works.
There are 7 steps to how humans function. We’ve covered them so why do we need a further article about this subject? Because there’s an important aspect that needs mentioning and maybe you’re surprised that I haven’t already discussed it: Love.
Can’t we just love one another and get on with it. Love not war … isn’t that the way to peace? If it were only that simple. I want to end this section with an explanation of what love is.
Love is probably the most overly misused of any of the sentiments. It has parades, gods, fights, movies, books, poetry… dedicated to its prowess. Let’s first define what I’m not talking about although these sentiments do exist and merit discussion, but not here: puppy love, sentimental love, romantic love. We’re not talking about the infatuation felt between two people that is akin to hyper-hormones or falling-in-love or love-at-first-sight.
An important point to consider is that love is something that takes place in a human being’s mind. When it comes to romance we generally talk about the heart. Evolutionary neuroscientists would talk about it originating in the brain. I’ve written extensively about the mind and its relationship to the brain. The last section was about how the mind is the one and sole characteristic that makes for the singularity of humankind. Only we humans possess it and one of those singularities is that we can love, learn and grow in love. In the next section, we’ll discuss WHY the mind is equipped to love. Love has a specific purpose and we’ve lost sight of it. Here’s a very general definition of love:
Love is the proper application of the 7 steps of how humans function towards those we get to know.
Since we are not hermits and live in a community, we meet and get to know those around us. Most are simply acquaintances but others become friends, intimate friends, and even mates. Eventually, there’s family and children.
Practicing the 7 steps of how humans function towards those we get to know is the definition of love. This is a long subject and below is just a summary. I’ll give you some more detailed reading material in a moment. The idea here is to give you the overall concept of the true meaning of what love is.
- Human Nature
Love is knowing that we are frail human beings. Both oneself and all those around us, no matter how close or how far. It’s realizing that each one’s mind is filled with controversies, even contradictions. It’s realizing that some if not most people are searching for the right way of doing things, leading their own lives and trying to lead their lives decently in relation to those around them… but their mental and personal problems often get in the way. We’re all mixed up. That’s human nature. Love is being aware of our ambivalent mental nature and working on it.
- Free will/choice
We have the choice to give compliments and encouragement as well as swearing and proferring insults to anyone and everyone. Our upbringing and mental environment have foisted a lot of habits on us that we can’t easily shake off. In a world of mixed morals, controversial ethics, influential social media, it’s easy to get lost and make wrong decisions. That’s free will. Love is trying to find and make the right choices.
Our conduct and actions are the results of the interaction of our choices based on our human nature. We’re often carrying a lot of heavy, unnecessary baggage. We’re trying to shed some of that weight, but there’s an awful lot of muck there. Maybe we’re doing the best we can. Oftentimes we fail, sometimes we succeed. That’s behavior. Love is trying to break free from some of our poor upbringing, education, and habits
The moral basis that defines and measures decent behavior. In all the cacophony of education, psychiatry, philosophy, religion… where do you turn to find a compass that will lead you in the correct direction? Many are on shaky ground and given our 21st-century context, stabilizing the compass is not a simple matter. That’s ethics. Love is trying to find an honest, practical way that leads to more peace.
One looks at lawmakers and law enforcers — and, each of us at our level is both of these — and wonders what happened to justice. From society, it looks like injustice reigns and that maybe the case. That’s (in)justice. Love is doing your part to keep within the limits of what’s reasonable and help others, to the best of your ability, do likewise. My freedom ends where your freedom begins.
These last two steps are of-and-by-themselves are already the first steps of love. Self-reproach is doing the necessary introspection to evaluate where I AM WRONG. Where I need a makeover. Where I need an upgrade in the prior five points. There’s nothing depressive here. It’s like a cook looking at their prepared gourmet dish and seeing what improvements can be made, what other methods can be used next time. Love is self-evaluation and effort in view of better relationships with yourself (serenity and happiness) and your entourage. Their peacefulness.
If only we could forgive ourselves and others — deeply — in our minds. One of the most difficult values to emulate but since we’ve all both misbehaved and been overwhelmed by the misbehavior of others to begin to love this characteristic must be present in abundant amounts.
The above is simply an overview because in Audit of Humankind I would like you to begin to see ALL the pieces of the ENTIRE picture of the UNIVERSE and HUMANKIND. That’s a tall order, I admit. The seven steps above include every aspect of how humans function, and if we summarize that with ‘humans should love one another,’ then all these steps are part of learning just that: love and peace.
If you want to go more in-depth there are many books, you can read. I’ll just mention one: The Road Less Traveled. Dr. Speck is a clinical psychologist with hands-on treatment of the human mind. He’s very down to earth and descriptive of what love is and isn’t with great insight and suggestions. Click here to download a free pdf of the book. Or. you can purchase it online.
Some people and groups have understood these steps and implemented them with great success. Possibly the best known of them is Alcoholics Anonymous. Maybe you don’t think of them as empowering people to love. But, in fact, by helping alcoholics become sober they are returning people to a more normal life. That is love.
Here’s a rapid overview of their 12-step program. Take a minute to see that all the steps fit with the shorter 7 step plan above. Some of these groups incorporate ‘God’ or some ‘Power’ into their program. I have not done that here but will return to that in Origin of the Universe. The reason I’ve not incorporated it is that many people do not refer to ‘God’ or anything similar and the question becomes: without such extra-help is love and peace possible? The answer is that with the 7 steps, yes it is, to a great degree. More in the next book.
Here’s the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 point list with the related How Humans Function step in brackets
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable. (human nature, free choice, self-reproach)
- Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity. (ethics and justice.)
- Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us. (self-reproach)
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. (human nature, behavior, self-reproach)
- Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (self-reproach)
- We’re ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character. (forgiveness)
- With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings (self-reproach: awareness & change)
- Made a list of all persons we have harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. (forgiveness)
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. (self-reproach & behavior)
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. (Self-reproach)
- Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the AA way of life, and to discover the power to carry out that way of life. (self-reproach)
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs. (The needer of love now becomes the supplier of love)
As you can see, there’s a lot of self-reproach, introspection and the right choices to be made during this process. It is vital for an individual to recognize their own problems. Without this start, it is impossible to progress. The program can start only with this recognition that they need help, need teaching, need support and a personal mentor. They require something superior to themselves to lead and guide them, including to correct and encourage them.
We talk about love, but what’s the evidence?
As we do an Audit of Humankind we should ask ourselves, does society see how all these seven pieces of how humans function work as a unit. If one is out of whack, it pulls the others down. What if free choice or behavior is missing from these steps and we’re still trying to force the pieces of understanding how humanity comes together?
No wonder we’ve got so many dysfunctioning children and adults than at any other time in history. It’s not just a matter of numbers, it’s pro rata. And the richest nations have the most dysfunction. go figure that one out. There goes another one of our much-believed assertions. We think a better functioning society with love and peace comes from more prosperity and more education. Our Audit of Humankind is revealing, that’s not necessarily the case.
We have covered the schema of How Humans Function. Now for a big question. Why do humans function this way? Why do we have an innate desire for love and peace?
This is an excerpt from chapter 2.12 of the book Audit of Humankind.
A wise man once said, Teach you me, what I do not know.
Let’s get started with The Explanation.
- Inventory of the Universe
- Audit of the Universe
- Audit of Humankind
- Origin of the Universe (Commentary on Genesis 1)
- Origin of Humankind (Commentary on Genesis 1:26–2:7)
- Origin of Woman (Commentary on Genesis 2:8–25)
- Agony of Humankind (Commentary on Genesis 3)
You can read all the books of The Explanation series online. Buy the books at your favorite store. Sam blogs weekly at TheExplanation.com The Explanation masters Biblical Hebrew to help you unlock more in-depth Bible meaning. Free tools to read and study the Bible online.