Adolescence, Love, Lust

Love, Experience, and Inquiry

The other day, I met a girl on the net who does not accept that love exists.  She reasons, based on her 18 years, that what people call “love” should rightfully be called “obsession” — for obsession is all that she herself has ever experienced.

In some respects, I find her attitude pretty healthy.

For instance: I think we should all be skeptical of our experience.  Skepticism does not imply an unreasoning rejection of our experience — but it does imply that we take great care in analyzing our experience so as not to be misled into making false conclusions about it.  So, I applaud the girl for being skeptical of whether her experience with being obsessed with someone was love.

On the other hand,  I found it more difficult to accept her notion that absolutely no one loves — that everyone’s love is obsession, and no one’s is genuine or true.  There’s a fundamental flaw in her logic there.  She cannot reasonably say, simply on the grounds that she herself has not experienced love, that no one else has experienced love.

Were she to be logically rigorous in her thinking, she would need to arrive at a conclusion along the lines of,  “I have experienced obsession, but I have not experienced love.”

Now, such a conclusion might lead to some fruitful thinking about the nature of love, its occurrence in some people but not in others, how it might be brought about — if it might be brought about at all — and other such questions.

Contrast that with the way the assertion, “There is no such thing as love”, more or less closes off inquiry before it’s even begun.  The former position — “I have experience obsession, but I have not experienced love” — is not only logically warranted, but leads to inquiry.  The latter position — “There is no such thing as love” — is not only logically unwarranted, but closes off inquiry.

It’s quite commendable, at 18, to understand that you have no experience of love.  Yet, it is even more commendable to not close your mind to life’s possibilities.

9 thoughts on “Love, Experience, and Inquiry”

  1. I’ve loved, been loved, have loved, will love. Love does exist and once you experience it, you’ll never want to give it up.

    There are no absolutes in life and to state that something doesn’t exist based on your own personal observations is not the most productive way to live. Better to say that love is something you would like to experience with the right person at the right time.


  2. I like the definition “Love is caring about someone else more than you care about yourself”.

    I don’t really think obsession has quite the same definition.

    If one of you had to die, but for some reason there is an opportunity to choose which one; if you’d choose yourself, you’re more likely to be in love than just obsessed.


  3. Very good points here, Paul—I think this is a pretty common cognitive error most people engage in to some extent, i.e. generalizing from “me” to “everybody else”. Now sometimes this happens to work (if we’re talking about a universal or near-universal characteristic), but often times it doesn’t. The example of the girl here is a good case in point.

    I like Brian‘s attitude—love is something we should be open to without obsessing over.


  4. There is one right answer to questions regarding life. Yes it is very much dependent upon our experiences and then most if us generalize from our particular experiences. Perhaps the postmodernists are correct – This is all relative …….


  5. they are two different things, perhaps she was only speaking in the love of a partner and ignoring the love of a parent or family member. I think statements like this are sad because they tell of someone who is not enjoying the richness that life has to offer. Interesting post.


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