So, it’s Valentines day today! And there is a woman that I love very much! However, the damper on this is that the rot-fest that is Fifty Shades of Grey is hitting theaters. I certainly hope that none of you are planning on seeing it. I’ve no doubt that it is going to be horrible in more ways than I can actually imagine, both morally and in terms of the quality of the writing, acting, and directing in the movie. However, given this pornographic ‘celebration’ of the BDSM lifestyle (which, it is worth pointing out, has pretty much nothing in common with what people who practice BDSM actually do) and American cultures abandonment to it, I have an interesting philosophical question for you: what is love?

Love can be seen as an emotional experience, usually an experience that one is captivated by and which makes an individual completely irrational. In this conception it is passionate, fiery, and powerful, but often short-lived.

Love can also be seen as a choice that one makes. A decision of the will to pursue the good of another over one’s own good. This may be impacted by emotions, but ultimately this conception of love doesn’t require emotion and may not have any emotional content whatsoever.

Love can also be seen as a commitment. Not simply an immediate act of the will, but as a choice that binds one to another person for and extended period of time.

Love is sometimes seen as primarily sexual in nature (i.e. erotic love), as primarily kind and compassionate in nature (i.e. philadelphic love), or as primarily unconditional in nature (i.e. agapeic love).

Lastly, I want to mention the Hebrew conception of love, characterized by the word Chesed. This work can mean kindness, loyalty, goodness, mercy, faithfulness, favor, or devotion. It is often translated as ‘loving-kindness’, ‘loyal-love’, or ‘covenant-love’ and it brings with it the idea of a continual act of the will that has at its core an unchanging emotional attachment. This understanding of love is both volitional and emotional, it is unconditional, kind, and lasting.

So, write me a story 1000 words long that answers the question: what is love?

I do want to point out that at the moment Alayna and I are four hours apart. She is working an eight hour shift tomorrow, and I’m going to be doing research all day long. We might get a couple of hours together on video chat in which we will probably be able to pick up about half of what the other person says. We will be exhausted, and to top it all off, she’s in a house with a bunch of sick kids at the moment, and I’m living in a house with eight gross guys. In the middle of all of this I think that we have a love story that is worlds better than Fifty Shades. Alayna, I’m sure you’ll read this: I love you. You’re an amazing woman, and you’re the only woman that I could ever see myself marrying. Thank you so much for putting up with me!

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