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Life Arts    H3'ed 5/1/10

Ruminations on Four Types of Love

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1. Baby Love

The purest, sweetest form of love I'm adept at is the joyful, caring feeling I feel towards (small) children.

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Little children are sweet. They so love their parents and siblings, and often they still have innocent trust in the world and in the goodness of strangers. I particularly love it when babies and toddlers beam a confident smile.

Up til the time when I had kids of mine own I wasn't so enthralled with children. But now I'm hooked.

Often when I'm walking to work or out shopping, I come across little kids in baby carriages or shopping carts, or walking with their parents. I can't help but smile at them. Sometimes the parents think I'm some sortof weirdo, so I have to suppress my natural inclination, which is to play with the children and hug them.

Most parents would sacrifice their lives for that of their children.

I suppose our concern for children is genetic, and what I'm calling baby love is really Nature's way of ensuring that adults take care of the next generation. I recall scientific experiments that exposed how humans are attracted to small animals with large heads relative to their bodies and big Bambi eyes. Still, so what? Love is sweet, and most (little) children are sweethearts. It's good to get out of our little egos.

My concern for my own kids trumps that for other peoples' kids, but when it comes to little children, my physical, emotional reaction is strong even for others' kids.

2. Romantic Love

Romantic love too can be very sweet (especially under the influence of hormonal secretions), and some people have long-term, happy relationships.

But I'm less trusting of romantic love. It tends to be mixed up with lust and neediness. Humans are famously fickle and unfaithful. There are always other, desirable people you can possibly hook up with. Choosing one person means relinquishing the chance to hook up with others. Even if we remain faithful (and I do), we often cheat in our hearts. We wonder: am I selling myself short by sticking with this person. Life is short. Sigh.

"Adore, v.: To venerate expectantly." -- Ambrose Bierce wrote, in The Devil's Dictionary.

"We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his hands for masturbation." -- Lily Tomlin

Still, when you're in love, the world is wonderful, and when you're soaring on the love you share with your sweetheart it's easy to feel benevolence towards strangers. Committed love has its advantages.

For me, romantic love has gotten sweeter as it's aged: I've been with my sweetheart for almost five years and it gets sweeter and sweeter. Maybe marriage would ruin it. Of course, it's not perfect and I notice other women.

3. Universal Benevolence

The ideal love, I suppose, is the love of strangers. It's also known as compassion, loving-kindness, or agape love.

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Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, activist, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See http://WALiberals.org and http://ProgressiveMemes.org for my (more...)

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