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< Back to question What defines the word "love"? Show more Show less

Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No other subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?

Love is a societal tool Show more Show less

Love is an artificial construct which oppresses women and reinforces the patriarchy.
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Love is a coping mechanism

Love has become a societal reaction to industrialization. As more people move into cities and experience its isolating effect, the more they seek out love for companionship against loneliness.
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The Argument

As society has industrialised, individuals have become increasingly alienated from their lives and communities. Urban areas promote individuality rather than collectivism, leading to a pandemic of loneliness. In cities with large populations, people are surrounded by other people on a regular basis, yet it is not enough to be physically close to others. We have to create meaningful contact with strangers, which is more difficult in large cities because they lack a sense of community.[1] A coping mechanism is defined as "an adaptation to environmental stress that is based on conscious or unconscious choice and that enhances control over behaviour or gives psychological comfort."[2] Industrialisation and urbanisation push people to seek out love as a coping mechanism to fill the void of loneliness. The romantic partner acts as a symbolic coping mechanism, a refuge from the daily slog of life as a worker in an industrialised society. Romantic love has risen as "a direct response to the rise of capitalism, and serv[ing] as a counterweight to the atomism that resulted from the breakup of traditional communal forms of social life."[3] People look for love for the companionship rather than for the passionate romance.

Counter arguments

If love is a solution to loneliness caused by rising industrialisation, then why does love exist in non-industrial places? Romantic love is a phenomenon that can be found at every point of the globe and is not defined by the habitat we live in. This argument is centered around more economically developed countries because it only considers love to be a consequence of industrialisation in more urban cities. It is therefore biased, and cannot provide an in-depth explanation for love. Love cannot be a coping mechanism to deal with loneliness because it is fickle by nature. Often, people fall in love with someone inappropriate or unavailable, and as a result, their feelings of loneliness are actually enhanced by love.[4] If love was a cure for loneliness, then we would never end relationships out of fear of being alone. Instead, we choose to be alone sometimes because we are happier by ourselves.

Premises

[P1] The industrialisation of society cause individuals to be alienated from their communities. [P2] Individuals have found refuge from this condition in romantic love.

Rejecting the premises

Proponents


References

  1. https://www.citymetric.com/horizons/why-living-big-city-so-isolating-lonely-isolation-loneliness-4210
  2. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/comfort
  3. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/25758107.pdf?ab_segments=0%2Fbasic_SYC-4946%2Fcontrol&refreqid=search%3A09510e7859eed7cbe6f061f329b0d410
  4. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-art-closeness/201602/why-love-is-not-the-cure-loneliness

This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 00:13 UTC

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