Love has got to go.

February 14, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 2:17 pm   Category: Life,Theology

I was going to wait to post this, but since it is Valentines Day, I figured it would be a bad marketing decision to wait.

In my last post it became apparent towards the end of the comments that love is a very inefficient word. So it’s got to go.

In the act of doing or feeling, Love has been synonomized with:

being dedicated to
being attached to
being attracted to
and, last but not least

In the state of being category, love has been made equivalent to:
perfect being
significant other
personal personification of good

Are there any terms or usages of love I missed?

With this in mind, which of the above is the correct equivalent to “unconditional love”?


  1. In the state of being I would have to include the child. There is a reason my 2 year old can completely turn my day around when her face lights up when I get home. Love is just something very young children are.

    Comment by Doc — February 14, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

  2. At first thought I would probably say being dedicated to.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — February 14, 2007 @ 3:08 pm

  3. If love can mean all of those things, doesn’t that make a very efficient word? It gets a lot done with only four letters.

    Comment by Jacob J — February 14, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

  4. efficient, but not very precise. Depends on what you are looking for.

    Comment by Doc — February 15, 2007 @ 7:47 am

  5. Doc: Excellent point about Children and precision. I am, however, begining to have problems with my state of being category, as the state of being, the more I think about it, seems to be a state of being one who either does one or more of the things in the action of doing set, or one worthy of receiving one of the things in the action of doing set.

    Eric: I actually have to add one to get what I am beginning to see as unconditional love. That is unconditional “seeing as a worthwhile person with equally real thoughts, feelings, and ideas.” I’d love to know your reasons for picking dedication.

    Jacob: This is exactly what I was hoping would come up. See, it gets too much done in those four letters, because when you say “I love my children.” you do not mean all of those things. When a prostitute says “Love you long time.” She does not mean all of those things, the term love in the English language has been high-jacked, it’s efficiency spoiled by taggers-on. The Question becomes, does love really mean all the things above, or is it only some subset of them, or is it something else entirely?

    Comment by Matt W. — February 15, 2007 @ 8:42 am

  6. Matt,
    This is exactly why I brought up children, What does a 6month old infant DO to deserve your love? What do they give? I guess trust, but they give that indiscriminately until they know better. They exhude something greater from their very being. We all have it, I think it is what makes us Gods in embryo, and it is love.

    Comment by Doc — February 15, 2007 @ 10:02 am

  7. Doc:

    This is a challenging poposition. The Question comes to mind that if a 6 month old infant will always be a 6 month old infant, and never become more than a six month old infant, would this change the state of “love”? It may be an impossible question. And what does it mean to deserve “love”?

    For another hard question, does a 6 month old “love” you back? and what does “love” mean, if the answer is yes?

    Comment by Matt W. — February 15, 2007 @ 10:18 am

  8. Matt,

    The Question becomes, does love really mean all the things above, or is it only some subset of them, or is it something else entirely?

    When it comes to the meaning of words, I’d say that they mean whatever people mean to convey when they use them. I don’t see a big problem with people thinking prostitutes are offering them a lifetime of devotion because of the overloading of the word love, so I guess I don’t understand why you think the word has become inefficient. With all language, we may need to stop on occasion to ask a clarifying question, but in general I think people are very successful communicating when using the word love.

    Comment by Jacob J — February 15, 2007 @ 10:18 am

  9. Jacob: That was a bit of an over-dramatic example on my part, a feeble attempt at reductio ad absurdem. More to the point, I do see people defining God’s love and grace as very permissive, to the point that unreasonable demands are given on account of God’s Love, which brings forth things like the problem of evil, where God, due to his love, could not allow things like Hurricanes to happen, and thus such a God does not exist. Or on the flip side, God allows all, and thus we are all saved, so long as we believe. I do not feel that love means giving my daughter my wallet and the keys to my car. Love should be, I would say, making my daughter a part of myself, equal in importance to myself, where her thoughts, feeling, and being are worthwhile and have equal value to me as my own. So Love, as here defined, has nothing to do with permissiveness, allowance, physical intimacy, attraction, or enjoyment.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 15, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  10. I guess what I meant by deserve love, is how does a little child love. What do they do? This is exactly the question. They don’t do anything, and yet they Savior taught

    7 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in no wise receive these things.

    I would submit that the answer is Love, something we are, not something we do or feel. This is also the answer to your first question. It seems to me this is why children are saved in the Kingdom of God, and why we must become as they are.

    A child loves you back because they are love. Perhaps I am just playing circular semantic games but this is how I see it.

    Comment by Doc — February 15, 2007 @ 10:41 am

  11. Doc, I am afraid I am having trouble “getting” your response. I’ve always held 3Ne11:7 as being focused not on a state of being, but focused on a level of trust.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 15, 2007 @ 11:54 am