Love essays book:
What's Love, After All?

As the hydra in Greek mythology, love can take many forms – surely many more forms than the nine heads of most versions of the hydra of Lake Lerna… 

Filial and paternal love, as found in Corinthians («Love is patient, love is kind…»), is just one form of love.

As it is passionate love, the love involving a man and a woman, the most eulogised form of love, described by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet as a «smoke made with the fume of sighs», and as a «fire sparkling in lovers' eyes», and a «sea nourished with lovers' tears», when vexed.

There are indeed many other forms of love, besides these: the love of friends, of life, of ideas, of animals, of music and other forms of art. Or the love of God, of power, of money, of cruelty…

Yes. Love may involve the bad side of the hydra myth. Some of the forms of love are clearly perversions (to love money, for instance), or monstrosities (the sadistic love, of some executioners and psychopaths...) 

And unfortunately there isn’t any radical way of suppressing the monster. We can’t kill it, as Heracles killed the bad hydra. The source from where perverted love sprouts is the same one that feeds the magnificent unperverted ones.

The monster side of love is associated with Beauty (as in the Beauty and the Beast story), and we simply can’t destroy it. We need it. It gives meaning to our lives (including the lives of those who cultivate the love of money, or hate). The only thing we can do is to fight the bad heads of the hydra, denouncing them.


What’s Love, after all?

Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs,
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes,
Being vexed, a sea nourished with lovers' tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English poet, Romeo and Juliet

At the touch of love every one becomes a poet, even though he had no music.
Plato, 428-347 b.C., Greek philosopher, Symposium

He whom love touches not walks in darkness.
Plato, 428-347 b.C., Greek philosopher, Symposium

To love is to rejoice
Aristotle, 384-322 b.C., Greek philosopher, The Nicomachean Ethics

The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved.
Victor Hugo, 1802-1885, French writer, Les Miserables

You might say that love is friendship gone mad.
Seneca, 4 a.C.-65 d. C., Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Lucilius

There can be no doubt that the desire lovers have for each other is not so very different from friendship – you might say it was friendship gone mad.
Seneca, 4 a.C.-65 d. C., Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Lucilius

The most ideal human passion is love, which is also the most absolute and animal and one of the most ephemeral.
George Santayana, 1863-1952, American philosopher, Reason in Religion

Love is the supreme poetry of nature.
F. Novalis, 1722-1801, German writer, Heinrich von Ofterdingen

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs; it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth; it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Bible, Corinthians 13

The love passion is the dawning state of collective movement of two beings.   
Francesco Alberoni, Italian essayist, Le choc amoureux

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction
A. Saint-Exupéry, 1900-1944, French writer, Wind, Sand and Stars

To love is to derive pleasure from seeing, touching and feeling through all one’s senses and as closely as possible, a lovable object who loves us. 
Stendhal, 1783-1842, French writer, On Love

Love is like pi - natural, irrational, and very important 
Attributed to Lisa Hoffman, American artist