11.25.2005

Love is a Language



11.23.05
By L. A. Vess

"Love is a verb," my partner is fond of saying. It is a lovely thing to hear, but exactly does “love is a verb” actually mean? When my partner says it, she means that love is not a static thing; it changes, grows, evolves and require constant action to keep it alive. But what if love is something even more than a verb, perhaps it is a language in which the verb 'love' is just a punctuation, an exclamation point?

Out of curiosity - and on a philosophical bent - I decided to explore.

Dictionary.com was my first hit in the wonderful wild world of the Internet. These are the first three (and relevant to this discussion) definitions provided for 'love'.
"love" - noun

1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.

2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.

3. Sexual passion. Sexual intercourse. A love affair.

Love as a noun is so all-encompassing
. Reading this, you can only think that too much responsibility has been given to this one little four-letter word. No wonder so many people have a hard time recognizing the emotion, or believing in it or explaining it. The English language has limited a wealth of human emotion to expression in just one tiny word. You can hardly expect anyone to be able to adequately use this noun as anything more than a simplified and generalized description of a concept too vast to be truly explained by anything so small.

"love" – verb

The definitions are generally the same - except here 'love' is used toward a person or a thing rather than as a description. Hence the verb form.

Basically, "To experience deep affection or intense desire for another." On the surface, that sounds pretty good. Of course, then you have to really sit back and think how many times you say "I love soccer" or "I love beer" or "I love that I finally fixed the faucet that was dripping and driving me nuts."

How can we justify using the same word to express how we feel about beer to express an intense and powerful connection to another human being? I think we have come to far from the origins of this word.

In ancient mythology, love was a being - a God or Goddess, Eros or Venus (among a multitude of others). When the ancients spoke of 'love', I am highly doubting they used their version of the word to describe how much they enjoyed having two cows instead of just one. No, love was 'divine' and to be in love; to love or be loved - was to be touched by the divine. Not in current times - not when 'love' is used as a word to describe a lack of points in a tennis game.

Even worse, the divinity of the word 'love' has been degraded into a base usage to define simple physical acts that often have nothing to do with actual 'love'. Take WordNet's synonym list: [syn: make out, make love, sleep with, get laid, have sex, know, do it, be intimate, have intercourse, have it away, have it off, screw, fuck, jazz, eff, hump, lie with, bed, have a go at it, bang, get it on, bonk]

Now, that just makes me feel dirty to even think the word.

A friend of mine who was very bitter over a 'love' affair said one of the most amazingly contradictory phrases that really gets my point across. She said, "God, I love to hate her!" - referring to her ex-girlfriend. Several months later she pointed out a site to me, an Acronym Finder, that had created what to her was the perfect acronym for LOVE. Loss Of Valuable Energy.

We are so jaded about 'love'. With all this, is it any wonder?

So are we to give up on the term completely? Try to find some other word to express a powerful emotion that seems so difficult to tack down? Maybe go back to Greek forms or try out synonyms from native languages? Or should we just give in and accept that the word has lost all real meaning and hope that those we 'love' will understand what we are trying to say when we use it?

Love is a verb.

I have decided to choose to embrace it as such. However, not as its traditional 'verb' definition. Yes, my definition includes all of those things Mr. Webster (or Dictionary.com) says. Mine is more, however. My definition is to let the word 'love' be undefined. I refuse to impose restrictions on it or burden it with more than those little four letters can handle. I leave it up to interpretation - mine and those I give that word to. When I say 'I love you' - it is a verb, and a noun - and an exclamation point. It is just one tiny tip of an iceberg of emotion that cannot be expressed by mere words. It is only one simple word in a language that goes by the same name.

Love is a language.

Of touch, of breath, of sound and of silence. Love is a language of kisses and long, slow looks that last for hours. It is a multitude of meanings expressed in moments of unreality and reality - finishing each others' sentences and being unable to speak. Love is in laughter and in quiet tears that can't be helped when your lover is flying away for the first time. Love is all of this and all of us; and so much more - it has no limits and no firm rules or definitions. Love just is.

4 comments:

rench said...

your concept of love is a breath of fresh air yet i find that such idea of this four-letter word has been there with us all along. it's only when one doesn't become bound with definitions that one experiences the different faces of love.

nice article btw.

Lesbian Equinox said...

"Of touch, of breath, of sound and of silence. Love is a language of kisses and long, slow looks that last for hours. It is a multitude of meanings expressed in moments of unreality and reality - finishing each others' sentences and being unable to speak. Love is in laughter and in quiet tears that can't be helped when your lover is flying away for the first time. Love is all of this and all of us; and so much more - it has no limits and no firm rules or definitions. Love just is"

WOW!!! Very well written. Do you think Love could be also a humanly produced chemical inbalance?

firewomyn said...

rench: L.A. Vess' concept of love is cool indeed! :)

lesbian equinox: the physiologic side of love is: "ventricular activities have started to take over the body's system resulting in massive aortic spasms and auricular paroxysm." translation: inlove. i guess u can call that imbalance :)

Without Borders said...

Love is a disease curable by marriage.