(A one-page reflection paper in my Philosophy I class)
Love is a very mysterious thing. Most of us act as though we know what it is without truly understanding its meaning and essence. This has been true of me. Before I encountered this phenomenology of love, I already had experiences of loving other people – my family, my friends, and girlfriends past and present. However, I was belonged to the people whom Erich Fromm described as believing in the popular notion of love. I emphasized the characteristics of the people I loved, why I needed them, and I mostly demanded that they love me more than I demanded myself to love them. I even viewed love in the “scientistic” way – something caused by hormones and dictated solely by the hypothalamus. My concept love was shallow. Yes, I felt it, but I knew it not.
However, all that changed when I came across the phenomenology of love. It was an articulation of fundamental characteristics of love which I knew my heart was saying but my mind was incapable of putting into words. When I was reading the said phenomenology, I constantly had that weird feeling of realizing something and relating to it strongly with past experiences. I strongly agree with it. Indeed, love begins with the experience of loneliness and then grows as someone reaches out lovingly to the other. I also experienced that, but did not know its meaning in relation to the love I had. Indeed, in loving others, I always sought their love too, in the same or in even greater measure than that which I gave them. But I realized with the phenomenology that it is alright to feel that way and wish for the same, but that it should not be the motivation in my loving act.
But what struck me the most was the statement that when we “love” someone without knowing our true worth, we are like making them trash bins to whom we throw ourselves. Because of this and the entirety of the phenomenology of love, I learned what loving is truly all about. Indeed, it’s a many-splendored thing.