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  • Writer's pictureÉlison Santos

Where is love?

French philosopher Jean-Luc Marion argues that philosophy, along with science in general, has abandoned the exploration of love. While not particularly inspiring, this observation holds weight as we seldom encounter discussions on love within the realm of philosophy or science today. The theme of love does surface in poetry, music, cinema, and various art forms, serving to transcend the mundane and illuminate aspects of life that may be challenging.
Love, in essence, should not be elusive or complex; instead, it is an integral part of our existence. Despite the prevalent discourse on love being scarce, we are perpetually engaged in endeavors to love or cultivate affection for someone or something throughout our lives.
Defining love becomes a conundrum. Even verbose philosophers seem to have abandoned this inquiry, perhaps because contemporary society, predominantly shaped by material structures, demands objective measurement, understanding, statistical validation, and empirical proof.
Ironically, while we grapple with unreal concepts like fake news, ideologies, radicalization, and extremism, our decisions are often grounded in ideas rarely subjected to the same rigorous standards that govern other aspects of our lives. The elusive nature of love persists, and collectively, we strive to discover and experience it.
In the course of my research on suicide prevention, a life-saving aspect of love emerged. When questioning individuals who had attempted suicide about why they chose not to repeat the act, nearly all cited thoughts of someone they loved—be it their parents, friends, or relatives. This reveals that during moments of contemplation, away from life's challenges, thinking about someone dear can serve as a powerful deterrent. Love, it appears, has the potential to be a lifeline.
It's plausible that discussions about love often revolve around different manifestations, such as religious love laden with requirements and guilt, romantic love, or various forms of affection and attraction. Yet, beneath these expressions lies the undeniable truth that love is an intrinsic aspect of our humanity. We can form connections with others, empathize with distant suffering, and harbor affection for people we've never met. Love, therefore, is not merely a verbal expression; it is woven into our actions, manifested in caring, and embedded in the hope for the well-being of those around us, even when left unspoken.
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