Love Stinks

"Love" has always troubled me. It's a word so singularly powerful in English, that it has driven the creation of millions of stories across media. The word has no true synonym. I don't care what's in the thesaurus; "adulation" or "amorousness" or "passion" just don't cut it! There's a mountain of meaning in the English language that's grokked from between the lines. Inflection, emphasis, body language, timing, and dozens of other little modifiers that I'm overlooking give love it's real meaning. I'm tired of it.

Ever since I learned the root meaning of the word "agape," I've often wondered why we don't have more encompassing words to use for certain kinds of love. The Christian subversion of agape notwithstanding, we would all be better to indulge in a love of humankind. I certainly don't have the same love for my parents that I do for my wife. Nor does she have the same love for me that she has for her sister. The list goes on; there are many forms of love who's meaning is taken entirely in context. Love needs an addendum.

Many people enjoy making up words, but few actually make it in to formal use. One of my favorites is "unpossible." Defined this way: a situation where, by no reasonable means available, the desired outcome will not happen, in any regard. It is not improbable or impossible that I'll divorce my wife and marry Salma Hayek, it is unpossible. The very laws of physics would need to be altered to make that happen--not at all a reasonable means. You get the picture.

My favorite definition of the word love is from Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. According to the fictional lawyer, Jubal Hershaw, "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." I believe that definition is as intellectually and honestly close to what we typically experience. How my oldest daughter feels about my youngest daughter is described as love, but I don't believe that the younger's happiness is essential to the older.

So what kind of love is that?

Maybe I don't have enough experience to know that my birth language has several handy words for different kinds of love. I know I don't have enough experience. No matter: I'm going to figure it out and post new and old words at The Love Addendum.