Why do people fall in love? This is the most tricky and common question that we search almost every day in our life. Love is powerful, emotional, hurtful, enjoyable, regretful, soul-crushing, and heart-breaking. But despite all of these- why do we willingly choose to put ourselves in this emotional wringer? Another question that pops up is why some kind of love is long-lasting while others are so fleeting? Is it love that makes our life complete and meaningful or it’s just an illusion to escape loneliness?
For many years, psychologists and researchers are working hard to understand why we love and many has proposed different theories to explain it. But neither science nor psychology has ever discovered the purpose of romantic love. It could be just a biological hoax to make us procreate or maybe it is much more than that- we don’t know. Love in simple words is a basic human emotion. Years of curiosity have suggested that love could be something too primal, mysterious, and emotional for science to define.
Still, many have tried to learn more about this feel-good emotion.
Though, scientists and psychologists have very little to define love, over the course of history many philosophers have put forth some of the most intriguing theories.
Love Makes Us Whole, again — Plato
The Greek Philosopher Plato proposed the idea of true love as the one that makes us complete. This kind of love is not born out of physical desires and thus is named after him- Platonic. In his symposium, Plato mentioned a dinner party. Aristophanes, a comic playwright of ancient Athens, entertains the guest with an interesting story. According to him, humans were once a creature born with four arms, four legs, and two faces. These creatures were considered powerful to an extent where even the Gods were nervous over their dominion. And thus, to weaken their power, the Greek God Zeus slit the humans into two. Since then, humans are on a constant search to find their better halves or what we call soulmates.
Love, therefore, is something that makes us complete, and this is why it is always authentic and true.
Love Is an Emotional Escape from Our Loneliness — Bertrand Russell
Loneliness is the very essence of living and is a by-product of the modern decade. In this hectic schedule of running a race, people are often left lonely with no one to share their deepest desires, and this is where love comes in. Therefore, loneliness can push individuals to perceive a societal gap in forming a connection. This way, love heals their psychological injuries of loneliness and expands our vision of life. But this happiness is short-lived- as humans’ function to procreate and expand their generations plays a hurdle in keeping the love young for a lifetime.
Love Tricks Us to Procreate — Arthur Schopenhauer
Much later, German philosopher Schopenhauer proposed that love is based on sexual desires. He said that we love because our desire led us to believe that another person will make us happy. But this is not the reality. According to Arthur, nature tricks us by believing in love to procreate and the love fusion we so desired to seek is consummated by our kids. And once our sexual desire is fulfilled, we are thrown back to our vulnerable selves. This theory does make sense in the 21st century, where people often fall out of love soon after they procreate or marry.
Love Is a misleading affliction — Siddhartha Gautama
Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha, had his views on the meaning of true love. He suggested that people love because they are trying to satisfy their materialistic desires. He proposed that these feelings or passionate cravings are the sources of human weakness and shortcomings. The majority of people end up succumbing to these desires and confuse them with love when it’s nothing but just a hoax of never-ending urge or self-satisfaction. Thus, attachments like romantic love lead to suffering.
Buddha thus created a path, or way to bypass these materialistic desires and achieve the state of nirvana where you no longer long for such things and live in an enlightened state of wisdom and clarity.
Though it’s not enough to answer- why we fall in love, this is appropriate to understand why loving is important. It’s a declaration that love could be a roller coaster ride enriched with emotional damage yet healing and that’s enough to say- that love gives us courage and strength.