What is love?

Not an easy question to answer. But it does get asked often. I asked this question on my Facebook page and got a bunch of really interesting responses. Worth checking out.

In response I decided to list down a bunch of random quotes related to love.

I want to start with this:

Love is like
a pineapple,
sweet and

  • A grook by Piet Hein

Some people think that is silly, but I like it nevertheless.

But I did find one definition that is concise, but seems to capture a lot of the most important characteristics of love:

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

  • Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

This definition rather works for me. Not perfect, but covers a lot of cases, when you really think about it.

I’m not talking about the infatuation that people feel when the first fall in love. Here one of my Facebook status update from a few months ago:

People talk of “falling in love” as if it is a disease they catch. That’s not love, that’s infatuation. And that’s temporary – goes away in an year or two. If love could be described as a “falling in”, how can you promise to love someone forever, if the act did not involve any judgment or a decision on your part? Love is something you have to choose to do intentionally, and commit to doing against all adversities.

  • Adapted from Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving, and a forgettable 1990s movies called Boomerang.

While you’re on this topic, this brainpickings article on why friendship is a greater gift than romantic love is a must read.

and related:

Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.

  • Friedrich Nietzsche

Anyway, I’ll close out this random post with a bunch of random quotes/poems related to love:

I cannot bear to put away the bamboo sleeping mat.
The night I brought you home, I watched you roll it out.

  • Yuan Chen, 8th Century Chinese poet, talking about love

We accept the love we think we deserve.

― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I do not crave nirvana.
I feel the embrace of freedom in a thousand bonds of delight.
No, I will never shut the doors of my senses […]
Yes, all my illusions will burn into illumination of joy,
and all my desires ripen into fruits of love.

  • Rabindranath Tagore in the Gitanjali

Kisses are a better fate than wisdom.

-e.e. cummings

Ghalib points out that it’s not all happiness and roses in love:

Phir hue hain gawaah-e-ishq talab
Ashkbaari ka hukm jaari hai


Again the witnesses of love have been summoned
An order to shed tears has been passed

  • Ghalib

Love is the word used to label the sexual excitement of the young, the habituation of the middle-aged, and the mutual dependence of the old.

  • John Ciardi

“Love is blind” …. “Not true. Otherwise lingerie wouldn’t be so popular”

  • Not sure where I stole this from.

A dad talking about ‘Dad Jokes’: “I think at some level my kids know that each time they groan or say ‘oh dad!’ to my admittedly pathetic dad jokes, they’re really saying ‘I love you too'”

invisible joy
drenches my soul
I love you Absolut

Adapted from here

She who responds to “What do you want for your birthday” with “If you really loved me, you would know what I want” is going to get a Playstation 3.

Stolen from here

Dan Savage on long-term love and “The One” person perfect for you

Movies and novels have given lots of people the mistaken idea that there is one person, a soulmate who’s perfect for them. Or at least, they’ll find someone and fall in love with that someone and the relationship will be perfect.

That’s bullshit, says Dan Savage is an internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice columnist. I’ve read Savage for years and I find his advice usually spot on. Here is a video clip of him talking about “The One”:

If you can’t see the video above, click here

You should see the whole video (it’s just 6 minutes), but here’s an excerpt to get you interested:

When you think about it, you meet somebody for the first time, and they’re not presenting, you know, their warts-and-all self to you. They’re presenting their idealized self to you. They are leading with their best. … And then eventually you’re farting in front of each other.

Eventually you get to see the person who is behind that facade of their best. … And they get to see the person behind your facade. You know, your lie self.

And what’s beautiful about a long-term relationship, and what can be transformative about it, is I pretend every day that my boyfriend is the lie that I met when I first met him. And he does the same favor to me.

And we then are obligated to live up to the lies we told each other about who we are. We are then forced to be better people than we actually are, because it’s expected of us by each other.

And you can, in a long-term relationship, really make your lie self come true. …

And that’s the only way you become ‘the one.’ It’s because somebody who is willing to pretend you are ‘the one’ that they were waiting for, ‘the one’ they wanted. Their ‘one.’

I found this video via the excellent Brain Pickings blog, which was talking about Dan Savage’s latest book