Why love is not an emotion, nor feeling.

At the surface this could seem like a jesters jab at the game of semantics just to pursue a goal to be right. Although, as Jordan Peterson helped me clearly see in his book 12 Rules for Life, that we should be precise with our words. As to miss the mark by the smallest of degree may truly off set your vision by the grandest of distances. The danger of semantics is that it only starts as a different word, 1 degree to the left of right, but extend that line, that vision further over the course of time (and in a linear thinking fashion) that distinction which started first as something that could and often is overlooked, soon becomes a baron landscape where oasis’ are 1000’s of feet apart.

It could be generally understood that Love is a feeling rather than an emotion. Under analysis, emotions and responses to environment and are felt bodily. They do not truly change in nature although they may be felt in slightly lesser and stronger intensities. You feel fear in your body, the pulsing heart in the face of a Shark in the depths of the ocean. All you know is fear, it reels in your body, its erratic just as a tuna is to pull onto a boat. The bead of sweat that is secreted as a hyper stress reaction to keep your body cool as blood rushes throughout your body, heat, pupil dilation, alertness. These are the affects of an emotion.

Where as a feeling is a prolonged sensation of perspective in accordance to those emotions. Do you love your mother? “Yes!” As most frown their eyebrows, struck by what is thought to be an implicit answer. “Of course I do!” The distinction between emotion and feeling is to be found there, in that example… What bodily sensations were experienced in the admittance of love? Probably not much unless they felt they had to defend why. It is the ‘feeling’ of Love that they refer too, they know without thinking that Love involves: attachment, identity, desire for proximity, emotional pleasure and for other intimate relationships it includes – lust and reciprocity. Although some claim to love unconditionally, not expecting anything in return, truthfully speaking you wouldnt be in the position to say you love them unless they gave you something. I do not love strangers, I love my friends, family and partner as they have all acted for and with me in manners that I think are conducive to my prosperity. And even then I may come to say I love a stranger because of their unseen acts of civility, which in turn help me.

To give further examples, the feeling of contentment. Are you happy? (In life). “Yes i’m happy.” Again we know at the time of admittance they do not feel the euphoric, cheek raising, optimistic allure to feel as though life great! They are really eluding to the feeling of being content. They are content with their quality of life. They do not kneel to life and feel defeated by its troubles and so they think theyre happy – Taking this a step further also, this is really quite a feat under the grasp of the sharp fingernails of Mother Nature, she has a nasty scratch and we sure should appreciate our human capacity to raise our chins in our battle with her consistent attempts to plague us with the dirt under her nails.

So far it seems as though I have just given a good argument for Love to be considered a feeling but as I allude to what I mentioned before, I will take the one degree to the right (excuse the pun) and lay out why I think that it is neither a feeling or an emotion. It is… an Idea!

An idea is the evolved thought, it is alive. It is constructed by all experience, emotions, feelings, thoughts and information. It has a vision, a pair of eyes and those eyes are set on going somewhere. It has the ability to call out to others thoughts and request that others too may join its path. Its logical but uses the guise of sentiment to be magnetic to those all too seizing emotions. Convince an emotion that it will continue to rise with more frequency and thoughts will bend to make sure that vessel will feel exactly that. By nature a thought is fictional in the sense that its not tangible material, it exists only in the cloud of conscious thought but an idea is often intersubjective. They call to the deepest parts of a humans nature and finger roll tease the most ancient desires to be held trial, tested and admitted into its iron bar grasp. We see it all around us, a perfect example…Our dear friend Money.

This idea has truly transcended words when we wish to describe its impact (does that ring a bell to you?). It transformed the world in a manner that can only be described as indispensable. Even that word doesnt touch it’s meaning. We all choose to believe in this fiction, this idea, because we all soon on in the bracket of human history concluded that it is life improving for everyone. Without it the world would be at the mercy of chaotic human ambivalence and it still is today of course but it hitherto has been at least corralled with the help of money. Trading on the back on trust sounds delightful, until the apple farmer and teacher cant agree on a medium settlement. How many apples would 5 years worth of reading and writing be worth? Are 5 hours of an Engineers time equivalent to 5 hours of a doctors? 1 hour of a builders for 1 hour of a massage therapist? These questions were solved with the invention of money, a base line for human trade based on importance towards societies prevention of regression. I repeat based on importance towards societies prevention of regression. It is easy to adopt a perspective of resentment of money haulers throughout history and say money was used as a means to oppress but its important to note that you probably wouldnt have done a better job in the place of any given leader. It must be admitted that more chaos would’ve ensued without money and conflicts existed in the times before its rule.

Money’s ability to hold a persons spirit hostage and guide it with greedy eyes is insurmountable. The hijacking of an alive thought, its magnetic radiance to bring others on bored with its vision, all are the sticky sign posts of an idea. Passed on like a airborne virus, even after death and explanation it reaches to the deepest part of a human, into our desire for structure and touches everyone so it can further exist in our cloud of intersubjective realities.

Now its tempting to just suggest that to understand what I mean by love you can just replace the word money but it requires its own stage.

Love is best seen as a bridge in my eyes. It arches above a stream that often shoves currents with great intensity. The stream is as wide as a human body and can be passed through by any human although some do trip and fall, remaining in its currents. Each time someone is doused by the raging stream, sometimes with warm splashing showers and sometimes with skin shrivelling coldness, the human is always drawn to the strong Love bridge that has withstood thousands of gushes from the stream, the tsunamic waves of blood thirsty anger and the gentle swirls of dizzying Joy. When bathing in water with strangers the bridge doesnt always appear, but among the ones we care for, it cannot be unseen. No current, no heat, no intensity collapses this great bridge. This bridge has never been touched but it has been inspected, people gaze at its structure, how could it possibly withstand such a punishment? Those who wished to touch it were confused when they tried to step closer, they could not close the gap. Also those that gaze for too long become upset in its disappearance. Forever out of reach in human capacities but its always close enough for us to observe. It inspires and motivates us to be like it, we worship it, we claim it governs the world as it is seen as the strongest force and surely something with such great gravity should be called upon with great thought, as being faced with such awe may leave many distracted of the next coming currents of stream. That illumination of such a bridge, its inhuman cosmic presence is exactly the existence of an idea.

So what is the distinction of a feeling and an idea? An idea guides whereas a feeling is a recollection. An idea is transmittable and a feeling is just subjective. An idea has reason only when in the presence of others, a feeling needs no other reason than experience. A feeling cannot be felt by another but an idea directly speaks to all.

The fruit was shared,

battered or fresh.

Why not bite the apple?

Spoke the ones of flesh.

An eternal bite,

may fill your desire,

to taste your thoughts

you definitely will acquire.

Love – Kobe, 2021
– John Christian Dahl