What is love?

January 4, 2016

What is love? This is a question that I get asked all the time. However this is not an easy question to answer….not at all…. as this word love comes encrusted with so many dimensions of meanings within meanings within ever more meanings and it goes right on forever – to seek an answer to the question what is love is to walk along an endless hall of mirrors of infinity forever and ever.

As the word love is used in every conceivable sense – everyone talks about love.

Politicians like to speak of love for country. The priest talks endlessly about everlasting love. Even the auntie who cleans up after you. After you have made a mess in the office pantry talks endlessly about how everyone loves three in one instant coffee….I love my iphone, I love quora, I love my pet goldfish, I love to travel, I love my job, I love strawberries dipped in chocolate, I love God, I love my new colored braces, I love my freedom, I love my boyfriend…etc etc etc.

But really what is love?


‘What is love? This has to an epic question I reckon, judging from the number of people thru the years who have travelled so very far and wide just to seek me out to ask this one question – what is love?

There was once a plantation lady who hired private investigators to ferret out where exactly the recluse who lives all by himself on a hill. One day when I was cycling as I usually do during the hot season – I was ambushed by burly men with no necks, brought before this lady just to be asked this one question….what is love?

When I told this lady….I do not know the answer to her question. She looked downcast and thereafter as if suddenly seized by an idea. She tried to bribe me with a huge sum of money….if only I was willing to supply her an answer to her question – what is love?

She kept insisting – I know you know the answer….Again I told her. I do not have an answer to your question – what is love! I even went on to share with this lady, a rich Russian tycoon once travelled all the way from St Petersburg to the depths of the jungle and sought me out, just to ask the exact same question and I gave him exactly the same answer – I do not have the answer to that question – what is love?

However, I did share with this distressed lady as I once shared with the Russian tycoon…..having said I do not know the answer to either his or her question….I do however happen to know what is NOT love!*

That was when the lady froze and suddenly as if hit by a moment of rare epiphany her once strained expression began to loosen and soon she smiled knowingly…..and murmured as if thinking aloud….yes, I finally see your point. I see it all so clearly now – I have been asking the wrong question all along, that is why I am going around in circles. As the question – what is love can never be satisfactorily answered – what you are saying is the question – what is love? Can really only be satisfactorily answered by knowing – what is NOT love?*’

* ‘Beware! As very often without you even realizing it – how you structure a question will produce the type of answer you want to hear, but it will always fall short of answering your question satisfactorily….consider this: if you want to ask a high yielding question then it pays naught to know absolutely nothing about it. You need to do your home work and if possible structure your questions narrowly enough to be precise, instead of spreading the net so wide and afar – like the paradoxical question: how do you grow sweet and succulent fruit? Will never ever get you the answer to enable you to grow sweet and succulent fruit? Never. It’s just a great opportunity for the farmer to show off and create myths about what a legendary planter he is. To me it makes far more sense to be specific and scientific if possible – what should you on month X,Y and Z along with what you should not do and what to look out for…if possible get exact units of measurements…everything from soil test, temp, ph ,gramme right down to milliliters….the difference is very subtle, but that is precisely my point….it has to be scientific.

Now let me share with you what I believe is NOT love. Notice the line of questioning is ultra specific…it’s technical. So a lot is going to be psychological and behavioral based….the direct opposite of fuzzy and an abstraction.

Are you ready?

Fear of loneliness is certainly not love, that’s just two insecure scaddy cats coming together in the name of love hoping to get emotional insurance on the cheap to cover themselves against the terror of loneliness. Could just as well get the same by developing schizophrenia – very easy, come to my plantation. Ride a mountain bike off a cliff a few times without a crash helmet. I will gladly set it all up and viola! You will no longer feel lonely anymore as there will be plenty of funny people who you hardly know running around your head….why even bother with the hassle of a relationship!

Being clingy like Velcro where you call your partner ten million times a day is definitely not love either, that’s just dependence…it’s no different from using a prosthetic to get from A to B. Or popping pills or downing two double whiskies just to steady your nerves to help you get thru the day – it’s escapism….denial of the self. Might as well just come over to my plantation for a week – I will teach how to make moonshine, the 80% proof variety where you can even use to fuel your car and save $ back home in Singapore. Why even go thru the bother of a relationship. Why?

Jealousy is also not love, as that is only a yearning to possess and since it is the opposite of appreciation – it is only really about satisfying your ego to control and dominate your partner inorder to liberate yourself from your own deep seated feelings of being terminally estranged from love. If you want to fulfill that emotional need economically…come to me again. I will sell you a puppy at a reasonable price. 100% cure. Can even take 20 voice instructions. Guaranteed. Or you get two nights free stay in my cobra infested plantation.

Neither is wallowing in self-pity love either viz-a-viz one is not able to love and be loved in return that’s just self flagellation. If anyone is dumb enough to love you on that basis. Or you are dumber to love than them to love them. back. You might as well go buy some leather underwear and whip yourself to shreds….that’s far more economical and funner.

Neither is love fashioning your partner into someone who you believe he or she should be. If you commit yourself to that version of love, it’s the clearest demonstration your love is merely a projection to escape from your own inadequacy by trying to fashion an alternate you thru the creation of your interpretation of what is an ideal person. A hologram of yourself clothed in certain forms according to what you think is good and wholesome; so when you say, `I love you’ that’s just code for I love myself! When you love your partner just because he or she fulfills all the tick boxes in your head. All you are really doing is worshipping yourself since you only love vicariously and conditionally – and believe me that cannot be love. You just need to stop watching those addictive Korean love serials where someone who can’t see or walk for years suddenly meets his or her dream person and they can suddenly see or jump thru hoops again…no love…only fantasy.

As that is really just a selfish and narcissistic way to derive joy from using your partner to fulfill your dreams on the cheap – usually it done by guilt tripping your partner to fulfil your fantasy of how you want to live……now this list can on and on…or it may be shorter…but what I have shared here is not written in stone…it’s not lexiconic….all it is, is an unabridged version of MY suggested solution based on what is NOT love.

Remember what I said in the very beginning – how you structure the question invariably produces what you want to hear, but may not necessarily supply a satisfactory answer to your question – if you can eliminate some of these illusions that I have just listed which are so often dressed up in the name of love, then what you are left with can only be as real and probably as close to unadulterated love as possible….only understand this!

This is my point of view about what is NOT love – I am not trying to accomplish the impossible by trying to answer the question – what is love. Because should I go down there….we will sucked into an abstraction…lacunae….hall of mirrors – you are not going to get a confirmation from quora or Wikipedia either if you approach it that way..don’t believe me. Go give it a shot….hence this is MY personal list of what is NOT love!

And that is exactly my point – if you want to be in a relationship that nourishes and grows instead of impersonating a bonsai where you going no where all the time and leaving you always exhausted….then you best come out with your OWN list of what is NOT love….rather than what you believe is love.

What’s the point of asking someone – what is love? Let me put it another way, what’s your chances of getting a straight answer by asking an abstract question? That just opens you up to abuse and exploitation and loads of mumbo jumbo, because some con man is probably going lead you down smoke and mirror land only to end up handing you a white envelop and tell some cock story someone who you don’t even know loves you that is why he died for you and off you go committing 10% of your salary to a lie! To be precise not just any lie but an elaborate lie called a fait accompli where belief first requires you to suspend disbelief.

Because let us assume for one brief moment – if there is such a thing as the truest answer to the question, what is love? It has to first shatter all the illusions that are so often associated with love.

The closer you are to the truth and further you are from lies – then whatever you end up with has to be a good one! As love here is not about power, it’s not about how well you can game your partner or maneuver him or her so that you can manipulate his or her feelings to serve your specious ends etc etc – since it’s essentially premised on spirituality and NOT power and control – you can only grow in that sort of relationship – and since it has less to do about possessing and owning like when you come across something really pretty and spellbinding you just need to take it home and put it on your shelf – I don’t think that’s possible to do that with something as big as love, you could perhaps do that with a really cute fridge magnet, but love is way too big – might as well go and try to put three minutes of a really spectacular sun rise in your pocket and see whether it fits and while you are at it send me a pic of your satay ass as well – as since love here is all about appreciation and not possessing that means mutual respect has to first exist between two people. Above all I believe love is really only about knowing deep down – what love is NOT first – otherwise it’s never possible to be really sure about the far more important question – is this the person who I want to be with…is this the best life decision you have ever made?

Now consider this as the coda of all questions – how are going to answer those questions, if you only know what love is, but you don’t know what is NOT love?’

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