Thursday, November 25, 2010

What is Love?

How do we measure feelings?...

There is a way which is used to scientifically measure feelings in an individual, and there will be an upcoming article about how this is done. Here in this article the word 'measure' relates to how we, as individuals, evaluates and communicate, put into words how we experience our feelings.

We hear again and again that psychopaths do not feel, or they don't feel the whole range of emotions that normal people feel.

I've had a hard time with getting to terms with this. How can some people 'not' feel f.ex. Wonder, or find something funny?

I know these two feelings are not the feelings we hear psychopaths do not feel, but they are feelings I have observed being absent both in some psychopaths and in some neurotic people. When seeing things from this point of view I can understand statements like "Life is boring", and strange as it may seem, I feel that way myself much of the time.

But I guess I should go on to the absence of the feelings that we always hear are absent specifically in psychopaths: Love and Remorse. I've touched on Remorse elsewhere and will take it up again in coming articles, so let's touch a little on Love and associated feelings here.

What is Love?

When we hear that psychopaths can't feel Love I believe we're generally thinking about the feeling as it pertains to other human beings ... though there are people who feel no attachment or warmth toward anything, be it things, animals or members of their own species. Again, it's a spectrum.

Does it sound as if I'm beating around the bush?...

A fellow blog owner, Notable Path, has written an article about emotions where he lists a scoring system measuring feelings from 0 - 20. The article can be read here, and this Wiki is it's origin.
It consists of two groups of each 10 kinds of feelings, and you give yourself 1 score for each of the feelings that you recognize and 0 for those that you don't.

NotaPath himself seems to have had some issues with the system and added asterisks to his scores to emphasize how little or how much he feels each emotion.

My thoughts on the suggested feeling score system is that I would need way more than 1 score for each feeling, and it would have been easier to apply a system with a range of scores rather than leaving it up to the individual to attach a personally invented system (f.ex. asterisks) to the procedure.

At the end of the day for me the meaning of Love is something I'm still pondering. It's an emotion that is so hard to 'nail'.

In connection with NotaPath's article I wrote this:

Haven't you ever impulsively proclaimed when you saw or experienced something of a certain nature "I love this!!"?
I know I have, and lately - because I've been thinking more about feelings in the context of psychopathy/sociopathy - I've made a note to self when doing so, so that I might think it over later and find out if perhaps that was really love I felt at the time. And I think it actually was!

The point where I too may be lacking to some extent is in that my love, when it is directed at people, usually doesn't last very long....except for a very few exceptions. But isn't that the very nature of deeper love, that it is reserved for a very few?

Then again, where does the line go between fascination and admiration and love?

I haven't met anybody who could explain this, and this is despite the heavy body of poetry and art that deals with exactly this feeling: Love.

How do you describe Love?

Maybe some of my readers can help me out with this one? Thoughts from psychopaths/sociopaths and normal folk/empaths alike are all welcome!..


Anonymous said...

I have never loved anybody. Not even my mum when I was a kid. I think my parents knew, or at least my mum did. But she loved me and forgave all my trespassings. Even when I once stole my dad's most treasured gun and a few weeks later shot my brother in his right thigh with it, my dad grounded me and send me to counseling, but my mum let me go out when my dad wasn't home.

I never loved anyone until I had my son, and I think it's because of my mum loving me so much no matter what I did that's made me realize it's possible to love somebody because you have experienced how nice it was when someone loved you. Today I struggle to change my ways and get rid of the reputation as a troublemaker that's been following me ever since I was a teenager.

I still need a lot of excitement, and sometimes I stay out for a few nights in a row. My ex says I don't love my son because I didn't show up at his birthday party once or didn't come to watch his soccer game last year. But I've proven that I do love him by always coming to his rescue if he gets bullied, for instance. And I always bring him presents and makes sure he has the best toys and best clothes. It's not always I can course I'm trying to stay out of criminal activities and it breaks my hard, so I sometimes go and do some stuff I should not've.

I also tell my son a lot that I love him. And when he tells me back that he loves me too it makes me feel that real warm sensation, it make me feel proud and glad. I think that's what love is!

Anonymous said...

I talked with someone yesterday about love, and plan to do a full, fleshed out blog article on it soon.

Anonymous said...

Here it is.

Anonymous said...

I never have and most likly never will feel love, but I have at one point felt a small meaningful bond with another person. Then I got bored.

Anonymous said...

Love is not easy. Its not all joy all the time. But love is when you would die to save that persons life. When you want better for that person than you do yourself. For instance, I am a mother of a 9mo old son and ingaged to my true love. I work 9am to 10pm 5 days a week. I am attending college online, and I clean the house and take care of our son when I am not at work. I work my ass off because I want a better life for my son and my feonce. I love them both with all of my heart. My and my feonce have argued about lottle things. But the abillity to make it through the arguments and be able to give them a hug and kiss and say you are sorry for getting upset rather you are right or wrong, and tell them that you love them is all that matters. Having a open mind and open heart, and doing everything in your power to take care of them and give them the best life you can. I love my mother too, she is very messed up and was not good to me, but true love is being able to forgive and forget and live your life together. So jsut keep in mind. Love is not a easy road, it is hard work and full of bumps, but the life long bond between you and the other person is worth every socond. Live life to the fullest, give your heart to them and live every sencond to the fullest.

I am not rich, I work hard and still have no money barly paying bills. But my life is amazing, simply becouse I want too see it as amazing, If I closed my heart off and did not hold on to the love I have for my son and my future husband, I would be depressed andwould not understand why i should even try, My friends ask me all the how I am so happy when I have so little and work hard, All i say is, Because I want to be happy I am, I see my life as good and it is. I am gratful I am alive and I have a loving family. Thats all I need. Love is all anyone needs to be happy!

Anonymous said...

I could explain what love is with poetry... I feel it, but if I'm honest...
I'm in love... in love with the things I feel when I'm with someone... it's not about a specific person, is the feeling. It's convenience... 'I say I love you because I feel good around you... psychopath or not, you make me feel like that, then I love you' Why would that change only because one's a psychopath? I don't know... I'm rambling.
Would you love someone that makes you feel bad? NO... bonding and getting used to a person, are different.
I'm in love with a psychopath, so what? I know the pros and cons, I know he will stay as long as I am unpredictable and different... I get bored easily and I like to manipulate, I 'love' to be the only one who knows when he is lying. He's smarter than I am, that's a plus, meaning I will always be fighting to be smarter than he is and that's exciting. Everyone says I'm crazy for loving him and he has that stare... so? I really don't get why is so 'bad' to be in a relationship with one... or maybe I'm still under the "charm" of the PS... well, a normal guy wouldn't make me feel like this, so I'm staying with him.
I would appreciate your commnets on the subject Zhawq, thenotable path and the rest of you.

Anonymous said...

all my life i can honestly say i truly loved one person. I would give my life to him if it ever came to that but i would do it out of love and respect. he thinks things through and never degraded himself to other peoples levels no matter what kinds of pressure was put on him.
LOVE is not something that can die or fade away when you get bored its something you can get bored of but never even consider to leave becasue that would mean destruction of everything youve ever known and when you leave your trapped in a bottomless pit of grief and regret that you know will never heal. you know you will never love anyone more than you love them and they were 'the one'. if they were a psychopath you still accept them and all of them into your life. if they want to leave you, you have to let them go no matter what it does to you but in the end dont show emotions becasue it will gaurentee them never coming back.
thats just what my experiences tell me.

Anonymous said...

Does being a psychopath mean you can never feel compassion or love? Not even if you tried really really hard? I think that’s just the saddest thing I've ever heard. I truly feel for you.

Anonymous said...

The question is two yrs old, but I stumbled upon it just now.

Nevermind, let's be constructive.

How do I know that I love (and not just like) the person?

When I can hug him or her out of the blue, give a kiss on the cheek and not feel awkwardly at all, that's it. Not one grain of weirdness.

So far, I love four persons: my daughter, my husband, my brother and my mother.

In that order. Yes, there's order here, but it's all still love.

Inwardly, I associate love with closeness.

This in the paragraph above is just one of the manifestatons thereof.

Being a rather shy person, I am able to be really close only to these four people.

There are 10-15 of others (some friends among them) that I like very much.

But I don't equate this emotion with love.

How do I know?

Well, I hug them too but not out of the blue really.

Spending prolonged time with them is ok, but still comes as an obligation, even if only a little.

Because they are not in the "I love" group, I am a bit self-conscious around them.

Just a little, but it feels different for me.

As for me doing favors to people, I would help my "love" and "like" groups equally.

Actually I'd help most where it's necessary and I'm needed.

As for me sharing secrets with people, those who I love and some who I like know most of them.

However, there are even some secrets I shared with some people I like that I didn't tell to some people I love.

Basically I trust my circles.

In the end, it all comes down to the feeling of being really close to someone.

Hope this helps.

Michelle said...

Love is a flexible, responsible, trusting/believing in, and playful connection. Owning/absorbing someone or being owned/absorbed is not love, though it certainly can be intense and exciting

Love can be of various depths and lengths. It is unconditional during its duration. If only your feelings are involved, and not your mind and creativity, then it is just mushy infatuation, not a real connection, though it can be fun for a short time before it fizzles out.

Anonymous said...

Love is a construct of nature to bind us to one another in order to further the species, or further cross-species advancement. It's a basic, fundamental building block of a primarily social planet.

That sounds very clinical, but I think it's true. Otherwise, why would simpler animals like cats and dogs feel love at all? Or feel it for humans? Appreciation for food and shelter perhaps, but you can see genuine love in their faces that goes beyond mere appreciation for sustenance.

My spouse and I joke that it only takes six weeks to make a cat. Think about it. Six weeks from conception to birth. We say "it takes longer to make a bad bottle of wine than it does to make a cat." And yet many cats have the ability to love. They can become lovingly connected to humans and each other. So love has to be among some many fundamental life traits. (Which is not to say that everyone must be able to love. It's just to say that it's a baseline emotion.)

My sense of love as a "higher" concept is that it's a million little connections to another that add up to an overarching, overwhelming feeling of connectedness and compassion. It's very enjoyable and comforting.

Yet I'd say honestly that as much as I love my spouse and child and would do anything to protect them and care for them, it doesn't eliminate the boredom of daily life. Everyday life can be really, truly dull. So in that, I understand the psychopath's desire for more stimulation.

If many/most/some psychopaths can't feel love, I hope at least they feel peace. And perhaps feel or understand the notion that most of us, no matter our genetic or emotional makeup, are just working to get by every day in a world where, like it or not, we're reliant upon each other in many ways. (If you shop at a grocery store instead of growing all your own food, you get my meaning.) In which case, perhaps we can all do our best to do no harm to each other and get on with the business of living.

Anonymous said...

Read this one a long time ago when I first discovered and decided to go through the site from conception, but fairly often return to older articles. This is one one that often comes to mind as do the others from time to time. IMHO love is as unique to each person as they themselves are unique. And those that genuinely experience love will also know different kinds of love. Quite apart from personal love for those in our circles there is the 'higher' form of love which for me is an outpouring of benelovence and is a giving thing that is unconditional and asks for nothing in return. And it knows no boundaries.
Regular follower.