“Love” is over-rated in my humble opinion. I imagine that it is nothing but various brain-states(the neuro-scientific view of love) and other phenomenon brought together into different cultural contexts(love as a cultural construct view). This is why different cultures have different conceptions of love. Some cultures don’t even have a word for love. I think one can safely say, as did the French philosopher François de La Rochefoucauld, that few people would ever fall in love, had they never read about it.

But alas, our contemporary western cultural construct of love only permits certain types of love, but even so we love transgressive love stories like for instance Lolita yet say that such pedophilic love cannot take place. Why? Because we say that a 12 year old girl isn’t capable of being in real ‘love’. But Juliet was the same age when she fell in love with Romeo.

Alternatively, some take the romantic view of love, which says that poems can tell us more about love than any FMRI. But the romantic view of love runs into problems. If you ask your love why they love you they may give you a list of reasons. Perhaps because you are smart and funny and kind. But what if tomorrow you are not? This is nothing but fair weather love. Or even worse, what if a doppelgänger of you exists who has all of these traits but even more so? Over the millennia people have spoken of having idiosyncratic love, but 99.999% of them have been wrong about it. What narcissism drives you think that your love is so different and special?

Overall though, pluralism or synthesis of these different views of love runs into problems. Imagine that your loved one is put under an FMRI machine and shown your picture. While he professes an undying love for you, his brain activity indicates about the same level of excitement that a game of checkers would provoke. What you do next depends on which view of love you take.

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