About Love: Reinventing Romance for our Times by Robert C. Solomon

By Robert C. Solomon

Romantic love may perhaps start with sexual ardour, however it is guided and nurtured by way of principles the fans have approximately their selves and the area, in accordance with this collage of Texas philosophy professor. Solomon defines romantic love as an emotional approach that's reciprocal and applicable merely among equals. A lover may perhaps supplement what's top in us, include values we percentage or motivate beliefs we attempt after. In any occasion, love endures merely while it forges a conceptual bond, everyone viewing the other's life as essential to entire one's self. during this clever, witty, adventurous essay, Solomon sheds mild on love before everything sight, no matter if opposites allure, counterfeit emotion, the euphemism (and act) of ""sleeping together,'' possessiveness, the necessity of enthusiasts for privateness and the significance of fights in a fit dating. His re-visioning of affection favors Plato's idea of the merger of 2 souls over Freud's view of affection as sublimated erotic feeling.

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Love has developed through five thousand years of history, reaching fruition as "romantic" love only in the past century or so. Sexual desire may seem like something of a constant through history, but the objects of desire and the source, nature and vicissitudes of that desire vary as much as societies and their philosophies. Romantic love is built out of those very modern ideas about the status of the sexes, the importance of sexual relations, the significance of marriage, the nature of personal identity and the meaning of life as well as the perennial promptings of biology.

However necessary heterosexual intercourse may be to the preservation of every society, sexual desire is virtually never limited to this reproductive end. It is almost always tied to a network of philosophical ideas, whether the Platonic conception that all desire is ultimately a desire for Goodness and Beauty, the medieval doctrine that intimacy represents the union with God or the late Romantic philosophy that sex is the life force of the universe flowing through us all. What distinguishes romantic love is, more than anything else, its importance for its own sake-not as a means to have children, not 56 ABOUT LOVE as a celebration of God.

The troubadours and other courtly types followed Plato but integrated much of Christianity as well (though the church took a dim view of the practice, considering it nothing more than a heretical rationalization for sex). Indeed, the paradigm of courtly love began not as chaste and frustrated (if poetic) desire but as secret, adulterous and allembracing illicit love (Lancelot and Guinevere, for example). Socially, courtly love was a plaything of the upper class. It was as much talk (and crooning) as action, and, perhaps most important, it was wholly distinct from, even opposed to, marriage.

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