Love as a Creative Dynamic Work

Published by


I present the concepts of love in the Western history (twin souls, platonism, catholicism, courtly, romantic, psychoanalytic love) and argue that the aforementioned concepts are unrealistic and disatisatifying because they measure the success of a partnership by restoring some previously lost, divine or primordial wholeness. My concept of love thus offers realistic expectations of the partnership that aims at a happy and peaceful relation which does not allow violence, abuse and inequality.

Key words: Western concepts of love, Majerhold’s love concept.

Given that I have written in depth about the dominant Western concepts of love I can say that previous notions or concepts in the Western culture are ‘negative’ – notions of love that makes a person either never satisfied and fulfilled or demands a tragic dimension that causes someone to die, sacrafice for the others or experience a great misfortune. Western love works on the principle of ‘lack’, and ‘lack’ is defined in various philosophical, spiritual and religious history in various ways, either lack of a premordial or pre-embodied state of the divine soul (Plato, 1960), a reunion of the lost twin soul (Aristophanes in Plato, 1960: 80), a purification of the human body, nature and the restoration of the divine spark (Orphism)[1], as a returning and recovering connection with God (St. Paul, 1984), an everlasting desire for unattainable Dame (Villiam IX. Duke of Aquitaine in Novak, 2003: 11), restoring unity of a male and female complementarity (Rousseau, 1959; 1978), a restoration of the original family (Freud, 1995) and a confluent love (Giddens, 1992). Personally, I am not for any regression to some original state (divine or familial), point zero state, ‘death’ or nirvana. And in light of the concepts mentioned, we can say that we have came a long way from chanting about finding a lost twin (Aristophanes in Plato, 1960); from chanting about wild and impossible passionate and ecstatic love (Villiam IX. Duke of Aquitaine in Novak, 2003); from chanting about tender, ethereal, sweet romantic love of male and female (Rousseau, 1978); chanting about mother as the source of all love (Freud, 1995) or chanting about love as motivation of Christian self-sacrifice for the others (Paul, 1984) to chanting about plastic sexuality and last but not least to chanting about unbridled sexual pleasures of swinging, BDSM and other diverse tastes (Soble, 2001) to finally reveal new, different concepts of love.

In my opinion, people just like to meet, socialize, communicate and unite, not because of biological function (evolutionary biology, endocrinology or medicine) and not because we have to get rid of the ‘dungeon’ of our incarnation, according to which we are not important as individuals here and now (Orphism, Platonism, Catholicism) and also not because we used to be perfect, divine, complete, eternal and in control (Orphism, Platonism, Catholicism, Psychoanalysis). When and how we could be supposed that since we know only our earthly mundane existence?

Our goal is also not to present man as a somekind ‘perfect machine’ that has ‘software’ and ‘hardware’ in it and behaves predictably in accordance with the hardware. If we look at this view, man tends to be a solid, stable, self-contained eternal, complete whole (a kind of jigsaw puzzle made up of parts or as a clockwork made up of gears). But at the same time, it also means that we are not the only and unique (specimen) of our species and therefore nothing special, much less a ‘crown of creation’, because we are not significantly different from others. We are just a piece of some biological species that can be interchangeable and combinatorial. Or if I express myself about our nonuniqueness with the example of Socrates and Alcibiades from Plato’s Symposium (Plato, 1960). Alcibiades, a renowned soldier, statesman and a beautiful man who could have any man, fell in love with Socrates precisely because he believed that Socrates had a distinguished feature and skill no one else had – he knew how to conjure up every situation in words, a fact or thought (probable or unbelievable, real or fictitious) so that you had a ‘feeling’ as if an ‘imagined’ thought or situation appeared before you’ as completely tangible and visible. Alcibiades discovered in Socrates the extraordinary convincing power of words and spirit, which he did not find in anyone else and which, according to him, made him the most attractive and desirable of all men. But we can say that for Alcibiades this remarkable rhetorical and ‘sophistic’ feature of Socrates was so appealing because Alcibiades was a politician and one of the most important abilities of a politician is precisely the ability to persuade convincingly, to disply the power of verbal sovereignty and persuasion. In this one finds a sensible explanation as to why Alcibiades fell so much in love with Socrates and considered him unique, (better than all the others) as he surpassed all other philosophical, rhetorical and sophistic rivals. After all, Alcibiades revealed this motive by offering a bargain that if Socrates taught him these ‘agalmas’ of his (hidden priceless valuables of verbal persuasion), he would offer him pleasure between the sheets. The human uniqueness called agalma by Lacan is thus revealed by surpassing: (s)he is unique as long as (s)he is better at something from all the others and that is something I desire and/or need (Lacan, 1996). But Socrates himself objects to this notion of uniqueness when he tells Alcibiades that he should take again a good look if he may not be mistaken – what Alcibiades is supposed to see in him is a reflection of his desires and beliefs, this is not how Socrates sees and understands himself (Platon, 1960). Socrates also thinks that Alcibiades is not in love with him at all, but with someone else, Agathon (ibid.) and thus gives us a notion of love as desire driven by the other who responds to our desire (Lacan, 1996). Therefore for the case of agalma or uniqueness of someone as a criterion for choosing someone over someone else, we can say that it is not the foundation of ‘true’ love too.

And finally, why should we compare heterosexual and homosexual relationships in order to become aware of inequality and exploitativeness in a partnership between a man and a woman, as Giddens did in his concept of confluent love in the late 20th century? Is equality between a man and a woman not found in a heterosexual relationship? And if not, why not? One of the answers to this offers an article Why more women identify as sexually fluid than men«. »… as women have been able to find more freedom, men’s gender roles have stayed relatively static as they continue to hold power in society. ‘[Men] need to uphold a very masculine gender role to maintain that power, and part of masculinity is heterosexuality,’ says Morgan. Expressing same-sex interest could reduce that power. As Massey puts it, masculinity is a ‘fragile concept’. It can be ‘violated’ by same-sex attraction (Klein, 2021). Is this why homosexuals had to innovatively shape their relationships on non-heteronormative grounds because they do not identify with power, hierarchy, appropriation, exploitation and also violence and they wanted to form emotionally and sexually mutually satisfying relationships where both parties give and receive, where both parties perform business, household work. But what was the main motive for homosexuals to form their partnerships differently? They (we) did not imitate or wanted to imitate ‘nature’ – for homosexual relationships, Plato has already said, and enthroned prejudices against homosexuality for the next two thousand years, that they are unnatural and unreproductive on several levels. And male superiority, dominance, appropriation, and exploitation derive from relationships in nature, as defined for example by the sexual roles of both Aristotle and Rousseau. In Book 5, Emil, or Treatise On Education, Jean Jacques Rousseau argues that all human qualities except those related to sex are common to our species, and in women this difference is particularly noticeable: »There is no greater gender inequality except when we are dealing with the consequences of gender. A man is a man only at certain moments, and a woman is a woman all her life, or at least during her youth. Everything goes back to her gender.« (Rousseau, 1959, p. 388). Thus, everything that men and women have in common is due to their shared species while everything that is different is related to their respective sexes – woman and man are both complementary and different. For Rousseau, both roles – the ‘active and strong’ men and the ‘passive and weak’ women – are of equal importance.

Even less satisfaying project based on desire wanting what we do not have is courtly love. Why would I want to desire another’s men woman or another’s woman woman and want to cheat on him/her? The answer lies in desire itself. We desire more what we can’t or shouldn’t have but by satisfying our desire desire no longer exists and when we cheat we don’t only extinguish our desire but we also ruin someone’s marriage. However, troubadours propose exactly that, founding true love on desiring someone outside their marriage and even more desiring someone unattainable. The latter to a degree coincades with Christian project. Why anyone would desire something we have no knowledge of and experience whatsoever and even call it a true love? The same is with family psychoanalysis project. Most of us did not have a happy, satisfaying relationship with our parents therefore it is implausable to want to repeat something that is not successful and does not give us happiness. Do we want to buy products that do not work and are broken, do we desire to use services that do not get us where/what we want? Is this how we behave in everyday life, is this how we call ourselves successful, happy? I think not.     

Therefore we can summarize, the current concepts of love have shown that a) we cannot have a satisfying relationship on the earth (because our love does not aim at the partner but the restoration of a state-relationship beyond this world); b) even if we reach a partner with whom we can go for love beyond, we die on the earth; c) no relationship can completely repeat/restore the original (family or divine) relationship; d) the first ecstatic and magical moment sooner or later fleets. In short, all the concepts of love to date hint at, show and even command the failure, unfulfillment, dissatisfaction. Even more, if we do find the ‘right’ partner by chance, e.g. Aristophanes’ or Rousseau’s twin soul/our half or by meeting certain criteria e.g. by being a young, aristocratic, smart boy; being opened to the gracious action of God in us; to commit adultery; being attractive beauty to have a better chance of reproducing genes or to (re)produce a family novel, then this partnership (again) never benefits to personal happiness and fulfillment of the individual, instead hapiness of the both partners is skipped in order to merge into some divine, eternal, perfect, premordial entity/principle. It should be added that all the mentioned concepts present love’s focus on the ‘past’ as somekind freeze of the life flow into an ideal structure that will not be subject to changes in time – those concepts try to prevent the many tiny and/or huge influences, a variety of experiences (methaporically speaking in the form of slow turtles, stinging hedgehogs, ferrets, cunning foxes, diplomatic monkeys, strong lions), various scents (fragrant violets, blooming magnolias, sweet roses) and various spices (cinnamon, oregano, marjoram) on the relationship. Due to the incarnation, man has the experience that what (s)he builds, it breaks down sooner or later and that therefore (s)he needs to either work on maintenance or start anew to move things forward in this way man has always a feeling that (s)he moves forward by going a little backward (two steps forward, one step backward, sometimes two steps backward and one step forward). Summa sumarum, we can say that man’s definitions of love ‘paint’ life as unworthy living and that we must give it up in favor of a supposedly better past, an unknowable better future, or even some other extraterrestial world. I also think that when thinkers included divine into in a human relationship that presented someone as subordinate/inferior or dominant/superior – someone thinks (s)he is better and (s)he should be worshiped by the other, but if both persons are from God, no one wants to worship the other and both expect to be worshiped. And what happens? They distance themselves and do not perceive each other as a worthy equal partner, disillusionment follows from the original fascination, enthusiasm and excitment and relationship breaks up. It seems as if humanity has not yet discovered the non-hierarchical principle of community organization and/or relationships.

But love is an active, equal, free and creative co-creation of the daily pleasant co-habitation of both partners, which is focused mostly on the present and partially on the future, and sometimes it must also learn something from the past (so memory is also important). We wish to be with someone we have a good time with, who is pleasant, kind, humours, does not dominate, cheat, exploit, lie or manipulate. We must emphasize that we are discussing love and loving and not infatutation that is alive as long as the feeling of the first moment lasts.. Love ‘starts’ where the infatuation ends, it is a kind of continuation of infatuation and maintaining a partnership that continues to be interesting, passionate, diversified and exciting. Does this mean that we no longer have passion in love that drives us beyond our physical and mental boundaries? Let me say that passion is important and that we must undoubtedly want and desire a partner in physical and other dimensions beyond the time of infatuation. Satisfying sexuality filled with passion and pleasure is one of the important characteristics of a happy partnership. It is true that sexuality is more intense at the time of falling in love, but even in love its passion should not dry up. Isn’t there a difference between ‘easiest’ to be in love and ‘hardest’ to love? In love, the criteria of infatuation no longer applies. In love, it doesn’t matter what and how much you miss or lack, how much a person reminds you of your mother or father, how much spirituality someone does, how much money, education or wisdom they have under their thumb/mind or how unique and different a person is from the others, but simply the ability to accept a fellow human being as her/himself and nurture her/him in a relationship with yourself. Love is about consciously (maintaining) movement, excitement, setting and achieving everyday small and big goals and desires for coexistence and cohabituation. This is not about ‘chemistry, electricity, construction and transport’, as some like to define love by analogies and metaphors (especially cognitive philosophers, such as Lakoff and Johnson). Even less so that it is about attracting plus and minus, as it is a fact that we prefer and better associate with like-minded people than with the different ones.

What I advocate in my concept of love is that we could have a successful and happy relationship (if we want to) because partners do not have to meet any other (previously mentioned) conditions except the decision to insist on being with each other for whatever reason we feel an irresistible attraction and desire. I think so because I agree with what Denis de Rougmont calls a conscious decision to hold on the relationship. Namely, Rougemont thinks that chances to meet the exact right partner is like winning a lottery and Martha Nussbuam wonders how we could even know (in advance) who our real partner is and what are the pre-criteria for recognizing him/her. Gender, sexual orientation and sexual identity does not matter either because partners do not have to meet any other (previously mentioned) criteria. Of course, that there are certain personality traits that attract us more than the others and it is easier to get along with like-minded people in the long run, but it may be true that this kind of relationship could want some additional ‘challenge’ and excitement that comes with diversity, although of course there are also differences between alike people. In short, the concept I am proposing does not need halves, it does not need complementarity of differences, it does not need a teacher and a student, it does not need a God, it does not need ‘good’ genes to be loved and desired – but it does need that each partner is seen, heared, cheerished, understood. No one wishes to be with partner who does not cheerish her/him, who is not interested in what partner thinks/feels/does/say and of course partners need to be recognized and accepted, which means, partners stay the way they are since it was that that made someone attracted to the other but at the same time they can grow and become better, precisely because of the relationship in which they are. Partner(s) can encourage(s) him/her to improve, supplement, perfect, grow, upgrade if that is what (s)she wishes for and if that means that partnership becomes more pleasant for both partners involved.

Let be the motto of our partnership that we are happier and/or better people both personally, in partnership, in the family, as well as in the neighborhood, community, nationality, state and, last but not least, in cosmopolitan sense because we love and are loved. Of course, someone could accuse me that this is naive, idealistic and in contradiction with the thesis just given that everyone can be as (s)he is and be loved in such a way regardless of what and how (s)he is. Of course. I’m not saying that each partner has to develop in a specific direction – some simply want to be and stay the way they are; for some it’s good to be honest, good and truthful; for others it is good if they are picky pentathletes and hedonists; for some to be successful business leaders and creators of social trends, for some to be good providers and parents and so on. The partners in the relationship agree on what they want to develop, design, upgrade and improve – there are not upfront and beforehand obligatory formulas, schematics and theories, however the core point is not to harm each other in any way that would cause physical and psychological damage and harm partner’s integrity.

Why not simply perceive each other as an extraordinary gift that has been entrusted to us as something precious in our lives – something we want to preserve and protect in our lives. Maybe you have not percieved a newly discovered lover/partner as that way before but you surely get that attitude after you lose your loved one by tragic accident or an act of agression. When we realize that beloved one is one of the greatest gifts we can see love as a non-perfect, though sometimes perfect; it may seem non-complete, although it gives a sense of completeness; because it is placed in space-time, it is non-eternal, although it sometimes stretches over everything and becomes and gives the feeling of being eternal; perhaps, after many years of a long-term relationship, it seems non-ecstatic, repetative and boring, although it can sometimes still be very ecstatic, inspiring and enthusiastic; though sometimes dissapoint, it can also make you fulfilled; perhaps to a certain extent it gives a feeling of full commitment and thus (non) freedom, but it gives all the freedom within the committed relationship; sometimes because of certain differences it seem to exist a non-understanding in relationship, although through the seeming ‘veil of clouds’ it sometimes offers an abundance of understanding and empathy; sometimes it triggers conflicts, but through them it triggers the desire to communicate and resolve them, and therefore grows and builds a relationship into a dialogue; sometimes we are very close to each other, then something takes takes us away and we become distant for a while and which makes us want proximity again, and last but not least, sometimes we seriously think about how it might be better with someone else, and then an event occurs that reminds us how happy and grateful we are to have such partner. In order for latter to occur it is best we have a realistic outlook on our partner from the start and not initially place her/him on a pedestal to crash her/him later by throwing her/him off the pedestal and change for another person to worship. It is important to understand we are all just humans with our strengths and weaknesses and that no one is perfect, including us. Love is precisely the coexistence of partners in all dimensions and understanding that it is part of the personal, partner and family coexistence that makes us happy and which creates us even more successful, diligent and hardworking person than we would otherwise be. Thus in love defined this way, there are no right or wrong partners, no partners destined to meet, no losers or winners, but if I express myself metaphorically only ‘runners’ for short or long distances. The latter are the most interesting to me, as the power, force and quality of love is shown by ‘the long-distance runners’. For love happens and is happening, and it is therefore not a single event (the first moment, the first meeting, the first confrontation, the first kiss, the first quarrel or misunderstanding and first reconciliation …). As I said before, it is important to understand the difference between infatuation and love, infatuation occurs, love is happening. They say it’s hard to get to the top, but staying on top is the hardest – the same is with love, it’s relatively easy and quick to enter into a relationship when you’re in love, but to stay in it for a long period of time is like surfing the ‘wave’ (as long as possible) – on a ‘wave’ from which you can easily ‘fall’ (as proved by the large number of divorces in the first years after marriage) and more importantly that if you ‘fall’ you should quickly return to the wave, catch the rhythm again and (as long as possible) continue surfing – this is the art of love (of the long runners) and this is the art of life, one of the biggest ‘constants’ of which is change. And maybe that is why one of the things I have noticed in a partnership is that people often want ‘innovation’ and change as if the nature offers innovation every day. In nature, innovations are rare, so are in human history of love concepts.[2] Thus my concept of love does not strive for eternal and perfect harmony and equalisation of differences within similarities but it also does not seek constant change and excitment through novelties; it does not want to get the other person in permanent possession but it does not use her/his shortcomings and mistakes to feel confident and (forever) desirable, last but not least, it does not use partner for her/his own worship, salvation and exaltation, but each of the partners live and coexist with her/his advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses.

Also, the partners do not want to merge and reunite, although living together and orgasms in sexuality give a feeling of unity. They may met and felt attraction towards each other based on everyday, mundane event when a mutual friend introduced them one evening at the annual film festival (this is completely arbitrary event, but at the same time a probable and realistic idea of a meeting. Of course I could also decide to present an extraordinary event or place that gave their first meeting a rather special meaning): despite they were both single, they were not really looking for a new partner, they happened to be in the same place at the same time when they met and started conversation initated by mutual friend and through converstion found out they perceived each other pleasant, interesting and attractive. Therefore they are not together because they are sinful, untrue, half, sentinent, and would use each other as a means to whatever ‘end’. Thefore ‘this’ pair is together because partners found each other by coincidance. It is important, however, that when they found each other, they decided to stay together because they found each other attractive, entusiatic, exciting and interesting. This decision was not made on the ground what they should do together, without excessive ambition what to expect from each other (this constant burden with the function either of reproduction or status relationship has burdened partnership and marriage for millennia, although I should emphasize that in this concept sensuality and sexuality are as important as spirituality and intellectuality), but it all happened spontaneously: if they decided to marry and have children they got it, if not, they do not; if they attend social and cultural events together, it’s okay, if not, it’s okay too; they may not even go to film festivals or other cultural events together anymore, however if they agree to still doing it, that’s fine too; if they have business together and that suits them, it is okay, if they are for diversity and inclusivness it is okay too. They still think for themselves, dream and fantasize in each their own way, but since they have been together, they share thoughts, dreams and fantasies about some things and also make them come true together, and this is to their greatest joy, satisfaction and fulfillment. They have never felt so happy, joyful, free and self-fulfilled with anyone, each of them is for themselves and at the same time they have each other so they can grow and fulfill their dreams and desires together and achieve their individual and common goals. In short, there is no big reason why they stayed together – they might not, but they said to each other why not and sticked to their decision to maintain the relationship because they like and love each other, their touches and kisses are delicious, sensual and passionate, they like the way they smell to each other, their tone of voices resonate with each other and they like the way they talk to each other, their thougths and beliefs are similar, they like what they do profesionally, as well as their education and general outlook at life. And so they happened together and each for themselves – everything they (did) and what happened to them has been love – that is, to be together in good and bad times!

But at the same time, this does not mean that their relationship is a matter of ‘sole spontaneity and coincidence’, the most important is, as it has been said, the decision: after the infatuation fades the most important is the decision to continue, work and insist on a partnership (for better or worse). Work includes adaptablity, patience, persistence, trust, kindness, conversation, humor and creativity – that is which gives the most success, happiness and satisfaction in a partnership. Therefore we can rightfully say that love is creative, intellectual, philosophical, sensual, and sexual work – it is something as going with the flow and at the same consciously deciding and co-shaping the flow.

Likewise, part of a long-term partnership may be occasionally boredom, but boredom is better than fatigue and better fatigue than dominance and violence. But what is boredom anyway? Heidegger (2005), for example, believes that we become most aware of the (meaning) of time through boredom. Long time is the state of our self when time seems long, we become conscious of time. When we are in good company with friends, at a party or at work, we are not aware of time, time somehow ‘flies’ and passes quickly, whereas in boredom it drags on. If life has no meaning for an individual it becomes boring. In order for a person not to experience boredom, the world must be interesting and life must have meaning, and in this sense, it certainly that partnership is/can be part of the meaning of life. And when partners no longer experience each other as interesting, attractive, good, then a partnership can become boring. Therefore, partners must actively strive to keep their relationship meaningful, creative and dynamic. From this also follows that love is a creative dynamic work.

In fact, love as creative and dynamic work shape different forms of meeting, exchanging, socialising and coexisting between people which include profound proximity and intimacy. There are other forms of socialising and meetings, such as business assocation, social organization but only love includes intimacy and proximity. Of course, there are different love forms, intimate socializing and coexistence between people: one night stand, casual meetings, infatuation, open relationship, polyamorous long-term or monogamous long-term relationship and different forms of partnership according to sexual orientation and sexual identity of people, heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, pansexual or asexual partnership. Some character traits, values, beliefs and judgements of the partners also contribute to a happy, successful, fulfilling and long-lasting partnership – similarity of the character, similar values and beliefs indicate greater success and happiness of a partnership. But, of course, too much similarity is not good either, as it can contribute to boredom, thus some diversity is also important, which means that love expresses a certain degree of ‘slight imbalance’, thus maintaining the dynamics, creativity and desire for progress and improvement, as opposing to imagined ideal partnership where strive for perfection[3] suppresses the dynamic and leaves no room creativity. Slight imbalance creates a complex structure of partnership, a structure whose ‘dots’ are not so easy to see and decipher, as would appear at the first glance, which makes relationship more fulfilling, interesting, wise and requires more communication, knowledge, experience, investment, effort, insistence and cooperation. Therefore the proposed love structure is a structure of creativity and dynamics, semi open structure of different possibilities that arise and test the pleasantness of different and similar beliefs, values, touches, tastes, encounters and coexistence. In addition, it is a relationship that favors a successful, fufilled, and happy long-term partnership or marriage (with or without children).

In this way, my concept has little or no connection with any of the tragic notions of love (for example, the ancient, tragic, courtly or passionate concept of love) and even less with any of the sacred notions of love, as I am talking about a completely everyday working partnership which is based on philosophical ethics and in no way relies on ‘miracles’, ‘irrationality’, ‘complementarity’ or vertical ‘hierarchy’. Partners who do not intend to get together and/or coexist and make each other happy and offer satisfaction, pleasure, support, understanding and empathy, have nothing to do with each together. Also this relationship allows everything that both partner mutual agree and where consent is the most important and relationship is valid to cease to exist if (verbal, physical, financial) violence, disrespect, neglect, cheating and disloyality is involved.

But what happens if one of the partners becomes superior, manipulative, deceitful and even violent, after all, we read about such relationships many times nowadays? I suggest that in such a case, the partners first talk, seek help and, if that doesn’t work, break up. Such a relationship does not make anyone happy, it only destroys and I believe that this is by no means the purpose of a partnership. Of course, this is easy to say, but sometimes separation from a manipulative, dominant, unfaithful, violent partner requires a lot of energy and time (I know this from personal experience when I put up with a dominant, unfaithful and manipulative partner and also a partner who had completely different goals in the partnership for years).

And let me add another aspect to this: when love is given as coexistence, whose function (‘instruments and compass’) is not given in advance, such love is (can be) also as a ‘free adventure and innovation’ and discovery of hitherto unknown personal landscapes’ (thoughts, emotions, actions), but that does not mean that it is not serious and binding for both partners. Therefore, all those who are not ready for this kind of ‘creative dynamic adventure’ love, in which hunting lions, prickly hedgehogs, slow turtles, cunning monkeys and trapping crabs, metaphorically speaking, can lurk on partners both from outside and inside should avoid such kind of a ‘progressive’ relationship and stick to a more ‘traditional’ relationship. Thus I may say that my concept of love offers no special, ecstatic, alleviating feeling as well as neither commanding, universal or hundred pages long debating about the deepthness and wideness of love but what offers is creativity, dynamics and sort of ‘adventure’ because this kind of love involves active creative partners who negotitate, consent and work on the type of the relationship they mutually agreed with aim of one and only one motive, that the partnership would be happy, peaceful and satisfying for both partners and would not allow violence, abuse, unequality, exploatation, cheating, manipulation in any way whatsoever. Why I argue for such position? Because people in partnership may experience some sort of abuse, manipulation, unequality, cheating and exploatiation and all sorts of emotions preciding these, from envy, jelousy[4], to anger, sadness and alike. Personal love has typically been seen (not only by philosophers) as a source of a moral danger because of its partiality and form of vulnerability, which make a connection with jealousy, envy, anger or any other emotion and the role these tumultuous experiences play in thought about the good, and the just of romantic relationship itself.

Let me conclude. Until now, the concepts of love were mainly those that did not give instructions how to make partners truly happy and satisfied. I have mentioned such concepts several times, precisely in order to make people aware of them and not to repeat them. I also tried to make my concept simple, understandable, dynamic and creative, so that people could include their own vision, knowledge, experiences and wishes into it – thus it is also inclusive, diverse, free and democratic. And as this concept of mine does not reflect big words and ambition, I do not think people in general have big ideas, desires, and efforts about love either, and I do not believe they have ever had. However, there were certain individuals throught history who had a certain vision of love, but at the same time they were also very good PR people themselves or had friends who took care of their public relations opinion. And as Plato said in the Symposium and we keep forgetting it, the fact is that in every age there are always several different concepts of love (today more than ever before), but  only one concept usually prevails. Plato did not answer why this happens, but I think that because partnerships are also a reflection of certain socio-economic production and political relations of a certain era and given which socio-political order and production relations prevail in society, this at least to some extent also influence the prevailing type of partnership at a certain age. I hope that my concept will also appeal to nowadays readers.

[1]  Orphism contains the predisposition of the doctrine of Eros, as can be seen from the central myth of Zagreus or Dionysus. This myth speaks of Zeus’ decision that his son (Zagreus or Dionysus) would take over the world. But when Zagreus was still a child, he was captured by the Titans and devoured by them. Zeus punished them for this by striking with lightning and destroying them. He then created the human race from the ashes of the Titans. The latter part of the myth is interesting to us because it contains an explanation of human dual nature that is both similar to the deity and in a hostile relationship with it. This dual nature explains man’s double origin: created from the ashes of the Titans, humanity dislike God, but because there was also something divine in their ashes (remains of devoured Dionysus), there is also something divine in Man. Man thus belongs to two worlds by his origin: he is an earthly being with a titanic nature which has a divine spark in him. This divine element must be freed from the shackles of the earthly and sensual body. Namely, in order for the divine mind or divine soul of man to return to the divine life he must free himself from the sensory and earthly shackles. (Nygren, 1953, pp. 163–164).

[2]  On the list of the above-mentioned concepts, dating back to 2,400 B.C. there are only three innovations, the rest are modifications of the previous concepts.

[3]  In fact, perhaps this world never wanted to be made in the ‘perfect image’ (and being aware of the imperfections of this world, some people imagined a perfect divine afterworld). This world expresses an essentially creative, dynamic, evolutionary principle through ‘slight’ imbalance’ and as we have not yet discovered and do not know, for example, a perfect washing powder, perfect toothpaste, perfect technological or IT product, so we also don’t know the perfect love, partnership and the perfect partner. In fact, we do not even have an idea of what is supposed to be perfect and thus we imagine the idea of perfection in relation to the previous known level of (im)perfection(s).

[4] Emotions suggest also a central role for the arts in human self-understanding: for narrative artworks of various kinds (whether musical, visual or literary) give us information about these emotion events and emotional histories that we could not easily get otherwise. »This is what Proust meant when he claimed that certain truths about the human emotions can be best conveyed, in verbal and textual form, only by a narrative work of art’« (Nussbaum, 2001, p. 22). Narrative artworks educate people about the emotions.


Freud, S., 1995, »Opombe o transferni ljubezni« (Observations on Transference-Love) in Problemi  33(1/2), Ljubljana, Društvo za teoretsko psihoanalizo pp. 53–63

— 1995. Tri razprave o teoriji seksualnosti (Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality), Ljubljana, Znanstveni inštitut FF

Giddens, A., 1992, The Transformation of Intimacy, Standford, Standford University Press

Klein, J., 2021, »Why more women identify as sexually fluid than men«, obtained 15.06.2021

Heidegger, M., 2005, Bit in čas (Being and Time), Ljubljana, Slovenska matica p. 150

Lacan, J., 1996, Štirje temeljni koncepti psihanalize (Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis), Ljubljana, Društvo za teoretsko psihoanalizo

Lakoff, G., Johnson, M., 1999, Philosophy in the Flesh, NY, Basic Books

Novak, B. A., 2003, Ljubezen iz daljave. Provansalska trubadurska lirika (Love From the Distance. Troubadur Lyrics From Provence), Ljubljana, Mladinska knjiga

Nussbaum, M., 1986, Fragility of Goodness, Cambridge,  Cambridge University Press

Nygren, A., 1953, Agape and Eros (Eros och Agape. Stockholm 1930), London, S.P.C.K.

Sveti Pavel, 1984, Pismo Rimljanom; 1. Pismo Korinčanom; 2. Pismo Korinčanom (Epistle to the Romans, First Epistle to the Chorintians, Second Epistle to the Chorintians), Ljubljana, Nadškofijski ordinariat

Platon, 1960, Simposion in Gorgias (Symposium and Gorgias), Ljubljana, Slovenska matica.

— 1969. Fajdros (Phaidros), Maribor, Založba Obzorja

Rougemont, D., 1956. Love in the Western World, NY, Pantheon Books

Rousseau, J-J., 1978. Julija ali nova Heloiza: Pisma zaljubljencev

iz vasice pod Alpami, Knjiga 1 in knjiga 2 (Julie, or the New Heloise, book 1, 2), Zagreb, Naprijed.

— , 1959, OEuvres completes, Paris, Gallimard.

Author Profile
Katarina Majerhold

Katarina Majerhold (born May 20, 1971) is a Slovenian philosopher with a particular interest in the philosophy of emotions, especially in the philosophy of love and happiness in connection to the immune system, philosophy of clowning (red noses), philosophical counseling and ethics. Majerhold is currently an independent researcher and lecturer on the philosophy of emotions (such as happiness, love, joy, compassion, and kindness). She previously worked at the Slovenian Educational Research Institute where she held the rank of a young researcher/assistant and worked on higher education for many years. During that time she wrote and edited three important books on Slovenian higher education (University and Its Autonomy (1999), University and Its Power (2001), Does University Need Its Social Environment (2003) Ljubljana, Študentska založba).