- musk undernotes
- Cincinnati, OH
- United States
This conversation is closed.
What is Love? Is love uniquely a human trait or are animals capable of loving?
When I say ‘I love you,’ you will understand it to mean I feel tenderness and affection for you; a desire to be with you, with associate feelings of pleasure and joy often leading to tendencies to belong, possess or own to sustain recurrent reception. But that is all selfishness. Love is something completely different; it is simply the act of giving of oneself for the benefit of another. The only contentment that derives from loving another only comes from the satisfaction of bringing about the positive change to the life of the person. The satisfying experience from loving is indirect, a derivation from changes brought about not in ourselves but in others. Therefore, the question ‘Do you love me’? Is both meaningless and moot because you couldn’t be loved and not be aware of it. What about making love? Well from the definition of love above, one can actually give physical and sexual pleasure to another for their benefit – and that will qualify as love - but the vast majority of sexual activities taking place and void of the objective to satiate the psychosexual and physical desires of another could hardly qualify as ‘love-making.’ As far as we know, love is a human feeling, quite unlike other human and animal instincts. When one says I love my dog or cat, one understands that one enjoys giving affectionate care and upkeep for the animal. However, no matter how useful, cute and cuddly an animal could be, even guide and rescue dogs, animals are not capable of ‘love.’ because those acts are not motivated with a compassionate desire to give of themselves to another. What we often misconstrue for love in animals is instinctive, encoded learned/reinforced behavior.
Do you agree?
Closing Statement from musk undernotes
Argos, Paulo and Ying define love as 'symbiotic' and 'instinctive' , and reminds us that humans, regardless of our capacity to 'reason', are fundamentally and primarily instinctive and reactionary. They may be right. My only exception to that position is the presumption that our reason and apparently higher emotional capacity (than other animals) plays no part in our desire for love. Many humans are quite capable of being tender and affectionate without the expectation for benefit or gain. Are animals really capable of that? I doubt. At all events, I want to thank everyone for their contributions, and for keeping the spirit of ideas and TED alive.