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

Civilization is better than nature

A nice quote from Donna Ball (writing as Donna Boyd) in The Passion:

There are those among us – among you, too, I observe – who glorify the wonders of the natural world with a kind of glassy-eyed fanaticism and urge a return to that purer, more innocent state. This testifies to nothing other than the fact that those who recommend the satisfactions of living in harmony with nature have never had to do it. Nature is evil. Nature is conflict, violence, betrayal; worms that crawl through the skin and breed in the gut; thorns that poison; snakes that fight in writhing, heaving masses until all lie dead from one another’s poison. From nature we learned to tear the flesh off the bone and suck out the blood – and to enjoy it. Do you want to return to that state? I do not.


I have known Nature. I have known Civilization. Civilization is better.