Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Is romantic love instinctive or learned?

To me, the above question is ridiculous. For author and philosopher Alain de Botton (b.1969) it’s not. He claims that “romantic love being a modern-day invention and that people would not fall in love if they had not heard of it” (eg, the Hindu-2023, MB-2020, YouTube-2016).

In my concept of the 7 Belief systems, Love is a belief. Recently, I argued that romantic love (ie, éros) might be an exception as it’s instinctive rather than learned. See my blog: “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them”. That George Orwell quote might fit here too.

However, the other types of Love (eg, agapephilautiaphiliastorgexenia) may indeed have been learned through (religious) teaching (ie, agape or divine love). Still, scientists never been found any culture without religious beliefs. Moreover, even some animals show signs of proto-religious behaviour.

Several writers, including Alain de Botton, claim that romantic love is only a few centuries old. Wiki: “Romanticism (also known as the Romantic movement or Romantic era) is an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century.”

In my view, these writers lack an understanding of (statistical) causality. Romantic love (ie. éros) dates back to the dawn of time, Writing about it, started many millennia later. Moreover, the idea that romantic love was invented by Europeans is absurd. Perhaps, this issue is about semantics.

Many TikTok or YouTube videos about animals show love between species (eg, cats and dogs). Lifelong mating between several types of birds is quite common. If love between animals is natural then why would romantic love between humans be learned?? I don’t buy that notion.

Clearly, these animals are not aware of romantic love between humans as displayed in contemporary human books and/or movies, In my view, it’s rather arrogant and/or ignorant to claim that love between animals is (fundamentally) different from (romantic) love between humans.

My final argument is this one: what is Love??? Nobody knows. The Ancient Greek used – at the very least – six words to describe the various types of love, being agapeéros, philautiaphiliastorge, and xenia.

“Love is a mystery that some people spend their entire lives trying to solve.”

A relevant quote without a known author

Is This Love (1987) by Whitesnake
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Is this love that I’m feeling?
Is this the love that I’ve been searching for?
Is this love or am I dreaming?
This must be love ’cause it’s really got a hold on me
A hold on me

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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