What is Love? Why Are You Asking Me?


Upon examination of the vast amounts of theories on love I can only find
myself in a more convoluted state. Love is in fact a great mystery to me, and I
have only achieved frustration in trying to explicate it. In Scott Peck\'s book
The Roadless Traveled there are a conglomerate of avenues that are explored
within the topic of love. It is here that some insight is expressed to me about
this perplexing subject. Although I do feel that actual life experiences that I
have been involved in recently have attributed to a better understanding of this
love phenomena, some of the ideas that are expressed in this book were of
tremendous merit. I find it almost prophetic that this assignment happens to
fall into the same time frame as when I am at a point of heightened curiosity on
this subject of Love. Why at this very moment I find myself questioning my
current status with a newfound relationship. I can\'t help but to assume that I
have found "Genuine Love" because of an overwhelming feeling of vivacious
content upon finding a seemingly perfect union. Peck\'s views on love in this
respect differ from what my thoughts have conjured up as such. And I can only
infer that the words of a reputable author and doctor are more legitimate than
mine. It is here that I must stop to apologize to you, Louis, for making this
part of the paper far too personal than necessary.
"Falling in Love" is a common myth in this society. The actual act of
falling in love, according to Peck, is a misconception. There is a
differentiation to be made between what is termed "falling in love" and the act
of real loving. Peck describes exactly what it is that we experience when We
think we have fallen in love. Much of what Peck describes as falling in love
has to do with what he calls "ego boundaries". These ego boundaries are
established during infancy and continue to develop throughout the person\'s life.
These boundaries represent an individual\'s limits with their mental and physical
power, as they are perceived by the individual. With these ego boundaries many
people feel confined into their own personal identity which generally creates a
feeling of loneliness. A need to form a cathexis is then developed. Peck
describes it thus, "The essence of the phenomenon of falling in love is a sudden
collapse of a section of an individual\'s ego boundaries, permitting one to merge
his or her identity with that of another person. The Sudden release of oneself
from oneself, the explosive pouring out of oneself into the beloved, and the
dramatic surcease of loneliness accompanying this collapse of ego boundaries is
experienced by most of us as ecstatic. We and the beloved are one! Loneliness
is no more!" Pg.87
Now it is not to say that the feeling of having fallen in love means
that there in no hope for true love to grow from it. Many loving relationships
do form on these grounds. However, It is after the inevitable diminishing of
this fervent emotional overload that true love is put to the test, and the
result of the relationship will either fail or prosper. It has been said that
the "magic" of any romance dies, a statement to which I can only accede to.
Genuine love therefore will be established and continue to mature long after
this feeling has ceased.
What then is true love? I suppose I should know what it is if I intend
to have it grow out of a simple cathexis. As Peck describes it, love is "The
will to extend one\'s self for the purpose of nurturing one\'s own or another\'s
spiritual growth." Pg 81.
Love then seems to fall into place as one of the key elements involved
in enlightenment. To fully reach an individual\'s peak of spiritual potential,
it seems imperative for a person to form a loving relationship with another
person. There is so much to be gained from a bond between two individuals,
which is most commonly the underlying motive for finding someone to connect with.
Whether they are conscious of it or not, many people have a desire to find a
companion from whom they can grow, whether it be intellectually, romantically,
spiritually, or any other means of progression that is to be gained from that
experience. Moreover, It is an integral part of any relationship to have the
same desire to provide the stimulation that is necessary to inspire the other
person\'s spiritual growth. For true love to