This is one of the final frontiers of research, cultural, social, psychological, exploring that feeling called love. Even though Lao Tzu, thousands of years ago said “Love is not a feeling is a choice” and he might be closer to the answer than generations of neurologists, what brings us to make that choice. What are the forces that lead people to mutual liking, to start relationships and even to fall in love?
Much progress has been made to understand scientifically and empirically how this work, and most is still unknown, or we should say work in progress. However findings show that one of the elements is similarity (bypassing the assumption that opposites attract) one’s environment, view on the world, life background, and generally shared attitudes can be very much factors that enhance attraction between people, may it friendship, a romantic relationship, a partnership at work. And what about physical attraction? It is a key in romantic relationships, especially at its very beginning and accompanied by fiery passion and its direction leads to a different level, one of similarity and compatibility, from the fire of passion to companionship.
Love has three main ingredients, Passion, Commitment and Intimacy, having all three, is also known as being deeply in love. However, here comes the surprise, indeed there is a rational part to it all, conscious or unconscious its irrelevant, going back to wise Lao Tzu; love is also well grounded on a rational choice of cost-benefit analysis, a transaction in other words. Our intellect weighs the costs, time, emotion, material etc. and the benefits, as to what that person receives from a relationship, if unbalanced then one of the parts might look for alternatives and leave the relationship. However should the relationship pass the test of time, that of the emotions and of the rational mind, then this principle of exchange will disappear and become rather communal, switching from being “me with you” to a communal “us”.
Now, Rescogita very much grounds its principles into ecopsychology, and that is identifying personal wellbeing through positive interaction and connectedness with what we consider the outside world, that is human communities and the biosphere as a whole. Look at those few paragraphs above, could those principles be applied to how we relate and commit to one another with our community of belonging, be it a group of friends from childhood which endured, classmates, colleagues, volunteer group, the district or town where we live? Can we apply it to our relationship with nature? Are we capable of commitment, deep love and passion related to a park, a mountain trail, a beach? True companionship, commitment, passion and intimacy is something we are all capable of, it is inborn into our species biologically and into our cultures memetically, the only limitation is that we believe that this is true on an interpersonal level, with friends and partners, is it? As we can cherish and love a best friend and a partner means we have two capacities, that of loving and being loved, meaning wanting to feel good and well with another person and to make sure that this is mutual. So what do we need to express that love towards everything that is alive? Just think about it, we do share our environment, share a view on the world, share a life background, and shared attitudes; and most of al, “Love is not a feeling, is a choice”