Why do we fall in love?
One of the most coveted things in the world asides from wealth is love. Not only do we all love being in love, we also want to be part of the love story of other people. It is not difficult to justify the extent of the tears and emotions we witness at weddings these days. The oooohhhs, ‘awwws’ and the ‘ahhhhs’ are unending. It is not far fetching to conclude that despite the chaos across the world in recent times, one thing that we all have in common, regardless of color, race, religion or even weather is LOVE.
Love is beautiful and intoxicating but could also be heart-breaking and soul-crushing… often all at the same time. One may then ask- why do we choose to put ourselves through love’s emotional ringer? Some people may even ask- is love all we need or do we even need it at all? Does it make any meaningful impact in our lives or do we just fall in love to fill a vacuum of loneliness. Is it a trick of biology to make us procreate or is it a disguise to satisfy our sexual desires?
In answer to these deep quests, several philosophers have studied intensely to seek why we love? A popular Greek playwright told a story that humans were once creatures with four arms, four legs and two faces and that one day they angered the gods and Zeus (the thunder god in ancient Greek religion ) sliced them all in two. Since then, every person has been missing half of him or herself. Hence love is a longing to find a soul mate that will make us feel whole again. A German philosopher advocated that we love because our desires lead us to believe that another person will make us happy but that we are sorely mistaken. He says that Nature is tricking us into procreating, and the love fusion we seek is consummated in our children. Eventually when our sexual desires are satisfied, we are then thrown back into our tormented existences and we succeed only in maintaining the species.
On a more positive note, a French philosopher proposed that love is the desire to integrate with one another and that it infuses our lives with meaning. She was less concerned with why we love but more interested in how we can love better. She felt that the issue with the storybook traditional romantic love is that it can be so captivating that we are tempted to make it our only reason for being. Yet, dependence on another to justify our existence easily leads to boredom. To avoid this trap, this philosopher advised loving authentically, which is more like a great friendship where lovers support each other in discovering themselves, reaching beyond themselves and enriching their lives and the lives of others together.
Though we might never know and understand why we fall in love, but we can be certain that it is an emotional roller coaster ride. It is scary and exhilarating, it makes us suffer and it makes us soar. Maybe we lose ourselves. Maybe we find ourselves. It might be heart breaking or it might just be the best thing in life.