Women and Love: What is True Love?
Contending views on the truth of love continue to struggle for public attention
Indeed, without women understanding themselves correctly, human love will continue to be packaged - academically and commercially - as a biological impulse, that is, a mere sexual drive.
Listen to what a male behavioral scientist has to say about sex: "Losing our faculties over a matter like sex ought not to make much sense for a species like ours that relies on its wits. A savanna full of predators, after all, is not a place to get distracted. But, the lure of losing our faculties is one of the things that makes sex thrilling-and one of the very things that keeps the species going. As far as your genes are concerned, your principal job, while you are alive, is to conceive offspring, bring them to adulthood, and then obligingly die so you don't consume resources better spent on the young. Anything that encourages you to breed now and breed plenty gets that job done" (Jeffrey Kluger).
Nevertheless, contending views on the truth of love continue to struggle for public attention. There is the song Love is a Many Splendored Thing from a Hollywood movie with the same title. There is the definition of love offered in the book, Love Story, by Eric Segal: "Love is never having to say you're sorry."
There is the universal appeal of the Beatles: All You Need is Love. There is the rawness of Playboy and Hustler magazines: Love is sex. There is the lamentable cry of the J. Giels Band: Love Stinks.
There is the poetry of Saint Paul: "Without love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging symbol," a person who, "is nothing and gain[s] nothing" (1 Co 13:2,3).
Then, there is the statement made by Pope Benedict XVI, who said this about love: "Love promises infinity, eternity - a reality far greater and totally other than our everyday existence. Yet, we have also seen that the way to attain this goal is not simply by submitting to [sexual] instinct."
Persistent questions concerning the nature and reality of human love abound: "Humans, after all, have offered any number of ultimate characterizations of reality, from a swirl of atoms to a struggle for survival, from a war between matter and spirit to the search for pleasure and release, from the slow march of rationality to a cloud of illusion" (Peter Steinfels).
In fact, inquiries into and statements on the truth of love do not go away easily. A sociologist, Helen Fisher, asks the question: "People compose poetry, novels, and sitcoms for love. They live for love, die for love, and kill for love. What makes human beings go loony over love?
Since so many opposing views on human love are offered these days, a woman must consider the question of Helen Fisher seriously: "What makes human beings go loony over love?"
Before an answer is given, every female questioner must acknowledge that there is a difference between genuine love and counterfeit love.
John D. Meehan has been involved in the lay apostolate of the Catholic Church since the close of the Second Vatican Council. He resides in New Hampshire with his lovely wife Elizabeth.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: women, women issues, family life, marriage, feminism, john d. meehan
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