Oh, what is love?

“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” Martin H. Fischer

Crush, infatuation, passion, love… words loaded with meanings. Yet if we are asked to define each one, these words would present different images and meanings to everyone.

In fact, I wonder whether the English language is fully capable of describing them. An example – a crush is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable”, akin to “infatuation, obsession, love, passion, passing fancy”. Merriam-Webster Dictionary considers a crush to be “a strong feeling of romantic love for someone that is usually not expressed and does not last a long time”, and, like Oxford Dictionary, synonymous with “an intense and usually passing infatuation”.

So we can perhaps agree – a crush is a strong or intense feeling, and it is a feeling that does not last long. Yet, what is the essence of this ‘feeling’?  Is it only in the experience itself that we locate this?

I recall a much younger self ‘crushing’ on a guy (who became a good friend instead) and being infatuated with the intelligent charming Maths teacher. Yes, total cliché! And the feelings of being ‘animated’ when they were near, reliving every word said between us, analysing conversations and meanings. You know what I mean :).

So, crush and infatuation most certainly require a strong liking or a certain passion for another, usually unreasoned, and with perhaps lust (libinidal attraction, I’d like to call it). It may be a passion but it certainly is not love.

There is something qualitatively different between crush, infatuation, passion and love, is there not? The difference, I believe, is perhaps in the nature of the relationship. Because love (and not just romantic love!) is dynamic. It is not momentary or short-lived, it is not stagnant.  Beyond a feeling of deep affection, passion and devotion, a love relationship changes and grows with evolving hopes and dreams, attendant disappointments and losses.

So it remains – how can we, without the benefit of hindsight, tell which we are experiencing? Are we doomed to confuse crush, infatuation, passion and love?

Language is inadequate in fully defining and expressing our human experience. We mere mortals may never adequately explain the meanings of these words – crush, infatuation, passion and love – nor accurately express what the experiences are…yet, we feel them. These words have given rise to stirring emotions in those special moments and perhaps pleasant memories, they have allowed us to demonstrate our capacity for deep affection towards another and they have inspired many to creative highs.

My question is this: must we decipher every word, verbalize every experience?  Shall we reclaim our inner child and in our innocence enjoy our lived experience, simply? Just because.

~ FlorenceT

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