I Want To Know What Love IS (& Isn’t)

There was a time when, wherever I’d go, the popular Foreigner tune “I Want To Know What Love Is” was playing in the background. I shopped to it at Woodman’s grocery store. At Gold’s gym, I showered and dressed to the sound of the same music. While I waited in line at the local Subway for my six inch sandwich on honey-oat bread with tuna, provolone cheese and veggies . . . again, the same song.

Now this mountain I must climb
Feels like a world upon my shoulders
And through the clouds I see love shine
It keeps me warm as life grows colder.

If it wasn’t that, then it was the Jennings/Winwood song, “Higher Love.”

Think about it: There must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above.
Without it, life is wasted time.
Worlds are turning and we’re just hanging on..

We walk blind, we try to see,
Falling behind in what could be.

I took it as a cosmic hint. Pay attention to this universal need, and the ways we sing about our searchings.

We look everywhere for this illusive, life-sustaining essence (albeit sometimes in the wrong places). Is it above us, hidden in the mountains tops, or still higher, shining from the stars? Does it dwell deep within the human heart?

Or all of the above, like the all-pervading force Yoda honors in Star Wars.

Here’s what I came up with as a result of my personal searchings – a picture of Love’s full-spectrum possibilities:

Want to know

Used as a diagnostic tool, the Life Wheel shows how words shift meanings at each successively inward level. It applies to the full spectrum of value words, from Action to Virtue, including Love.

Positive and negative expressions of love take on different forms at each ascending (or descending) stage of the Life Wheel. We each experience our personal, unique variations on the same basic themes. But the idea isn’t that complicated. It looks like this:

LoveLadder.sized

Scientists limit their search to the outermost tangible, measurable surface of the Life Wheel. Because they look exclusively at physical manifestations, they find different (though complimentary) answers. Take, for example, the Youtube series on “The World’s Most Asked Questions.”

SciShow surveyed Google and Youtube for the most frequently asked questions searched on the web. According to them, the world’s #1 burning question is, “What Is Love?”

The video on the #1 question is hosted by an unidentified, fresh-faced 20-something presenter — gravity-defying hair, sporting a gray hoodie. Reading from a teleprompter, he waves his hands with the confident gestures of an expert. Flashing in the background, bolded scientific terms along with colorful brain-scan images reinforce his message.

“Love,” the unnamed anchor starts out, “is the number one question that keeps poets and philosophers up at night.” But, he claims, it’s no mystery to scientists. “They have good explanations.” Several in fact. The answer changes depending on which kind of scientist you ask.

A biologist would say it’s all about reproduction, evolution and the survival of the species. [Issues associated with the first three centers (“chakras” or “wheels”).]

A psychologist would say it’s all about togetherness and our need for acceptance. [Issues associated with the fourth, heart chakra.]

But, no-name continues, “It’s really about chemistry – brain chemistry to be exact.” Aha! This is where the preamble was leading. “It’s incorrect to associate love with the heart,” he says. “It’s all about the brain. We know this because we can see the brain in action in brain scans.”

What follows is a discourse on brain science. “In fact,” he claims, “the early stages of love look an awful lot like a brain on cocaine.” When a person first “falls” in love, at least a dozen different brain parts light up, releasing powerful chemicals, hormones and neurotransmitters that trigger “feelings of excitement, euphoria, bonding and butterflies.”

Research also shows that the unconditional love between a mother and child activates slightly different regions of the brain, he says. (That’s interesting, but no details are supplied.)

The video ends where it started, “Love may seem like a mystery to poets. But to science, love is within the realms of the comprehensible.”

Oh well. If you’ve been following my earlier posts, you’ve seen the hollow-shell diagram of the exclusively materialistic, empirical science worldview. According to the Rules of this Knowledge Game, information received by intuition and con-science at the inward levels of the Life Wheel is excluded as off-limits.

But scientists don’t have all the answers about love. Some perhaps, but not all. Research science (as Einstein knew) is a “necessary but not sufficient” piece of the knowledge puzzle.

From experience, I know there’s much more to higher, unconditional love than meets the measuring eyes. Nor does everything done in the name of love partake of this universal essence. Quite the opposite.

The love we seek and sing about isn’t motivated by chemicals. Hormones aren’t causes, only response mechanisms. Nor can love be contained or explained by analyzing the brain. People come and go. The legacy of love they leave behind endures. The temporary physical receiver can’t be equated with its mysterious, eternal source.

“Re-search” = “Look again.”

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