Sunday, 8 May 2011

Love and responsibility 5

Love as attraction.
Let’s look again at what love is. The first element of love is attraction. People attract and the basis of attraction is an impression which a person makes on my senses. Attraction is my response to values which I intuit in this person. So, in a particular person I find for instance, understanding, enthusiasm, style, intelligence – values which I find attractive. Because of this I want to know the person more than I would otherwise. Emotion is also involved, heightening my awareness of and receptivity to this person.
Attraction however can be blind. I can transfer values to the other person which are not really present in him or her. This happens when my emotional reaction becomes too strong. This reaction is dangerous to love because emotions do not last and love requires a far more solid basis. In fact, it is not a question of me discerning if my feelings towards another person are true emotions - they are! What I need to discover is whether the other person really possesses those values which I find attractive. The genuineness of my feelings cannot be the only test of love, I also need to discern the truth of the other person. Only by integrating the force of attraction and knowledge of the other can I allow love to grow.
Indeed, I should be able discern the quality of my attraction to the other. To test this I must ask myself, what of this person has entered into my heart? His or her physicality, personality, hopes for life, circumstances? Is it the whole person who has entered into my heart or just a part of the person? In asking myself this I will discover just how well I really know the other. Be attracted, but don’t let attraction become a stumbling block. Attraction is only the beginning – love is greater yet.

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