Love is a complex term that may be understood very differently by different people. If asked to define love, everyone has something different to say. To some people, love is a sacrifice of one’s time, resources, or money in an effort to make another person better off, happier, or more comfortable. To some people, love is a selfless act to all mankind, in an effort to fulfil the ultimate divine commandment. And of course, to other people, love is that sublime feeling that one feels when they have all the wonderful things they wish for.
In my analysis of the concept of love, I realized that love is much deeper than what so many of us think, and even more importantly, it is impossible to love without being in need. Man is naturally and essentially self-centered, and as a result, he drifts towards pleasure and comfort, and drifts away from pain and discomfort. Due to this human nature, we are prone to avoid undesirable activities and engage in desirable ones, because undesirable activities make us unhappy and desirable activities delight us. In other words, we ‘hate’ and avoid discomfort, but ‘love’ and drift towards comfort, simply because we are naturally wired to behave this way.
Think about all the things you love, from the shoes you fancy, the cars, the food, and the girls/boys, your choice of friends, the adventures you crave for, the bevvies, and your hobbies, you will discover that having a passion for these things merely delights you; you derive pleasure in them. Your life feels sweeter because you like these things. And your life feels horrible if you are deprived of these things. Therefore, the reason you ‘like’ these things is that you derive pleasure from them. And by extension, you ‘need’ them to make your life ‘sweeter’. Due to the fact that you derive pleasure in loving something/someone, love is definitely selfish. The best form of love would therefore be that which is both selfish and generous.
As I stated earlier, where there is love, there’s a need that you want satisfied, and the satisfaction of that need makes your life sweeter. We only derive pleasure in some actions or engagements because there are desires/needs these actions or engagements satisfy. The movies you love watching are desired due to the need to be relieved of stress, forget a bitter experience, or run into a world of fantasy. Watching these movies then makes your life sweeter (while you are at it). You love sex because you have a sexual need. Having sex then makes your life sweeter (while you are at it). You donate to help the orphans in your street because you have a fulfilment need (you want to contribute to human life). Donating to help orphans then makes your life sweeter. Therefore, where there is love, there is a need, and the satisfaction of that need then makes your life sweeter.
To a large extent, we drift towards people that can satisfy our needs, and drift away from people who cannot. We make friends with people who share our interests and values, because they satisfy our social needs, but drift away from people who have dissimilar interests and values because they seemingly cannot satisfy our social needs. Love is therefore a perfectly selfish emotion, even though it gives out generously to the object of love. You love something or someone because of how that thing or that person makes you feel. Unless your life is sweeter, you feel you are making a difference in another person’s life (which is a sweet feeling called empathy), or you feel more fulfilled, you’ll never be able to love a person or a thing.
Human beings have several needs, some of which are psychological. We have the need for family, intimacy, sex, food, respect, shelter, clothing, financial stability, security, feeling important, feeling heroic, and fulfilment. And we are psychologically impelled by these needs so overwhelmingly that we sometimes feel that we are out of control. If we never had these needs, we would never be capable of loving. This is because for every effect in the universe, there is always a cause. And our show of love to our object of love is simply an implicit contract of exchange. It’s an indirect way of saying, ‘I sacrifice some of my time, energy, money, and resources in exchange for your love, attention, respect, acceptance, etc.’ It could also be a way of saying, ‘I give you these things because I feel like I am changing lives, making the world a better place, and to put it another way, I am a great, spectacular human being on this planet.’